IDS’ stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg

The Independent reports that Iain Duncan Smith "misled Parliament" on welfare. This is just the tip of the iceberg in relation to DWP's misuse of statistics.

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The Independent reports this morning that Iain Duncan Smith “misled Parliament” in a Commons debate on welfare – forcing officials to “correct the record”. As regular readers of Left Foot Forward will know, this is just the tip of the iceberg in relation to IDS and his department’s misuse of statistics.

Today’s Independent outlines that:

“Iain Duncan Smith misled Parliament by passing off figures from a property comparison website owned by the Daily Mail as official government figures.

“In a parliamentary debate, the Work and Pensions Secretary claimed that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that private sector rents had fallen by 5 per cent last year. At the same time he claimed the amount local authorities paid to private landlords had risen by 3 per cent.

“But, in fact, the ONS does not collect such statistics and the figures he quoted came from the website findaproperty.com owned by Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers.”

Left Foot Forward and the independent Full Fact website have been documenting the Department for Work and Pensions’ detachment from reality. Other instances include:

On November 11th, IDS said “We created over four million jobs in those 13 years and…70% of those net jobs were taken by people from overseas”. The first claim was challenged by Full Fact while the use of the phrase “net jobs” was taken to task by Left Foot Forward.

On November 8th Left Foot Forward documented a secret briefing on housing benefit – timed to influence coverage of a Commons debate – which made “exaggerated claims based on out-of-context figures and pointless data manipulation”.

On October 27th, Left Foot Forward revealed that DWP had been caught peddling erroneous press briefings on the number of households affected by the new benefits cap – a Daily Mail story citing DWP figures over-stated the problem by a factor of four.

On October 22nd, Full Fact picked up IDS’s misuse of official figures on job vacancies, when he said there were “something like 450,000, just short of half a million jobs every week created within the Job Centres” – the correct figure was the lower figure of 383,000.

On September 16th, Full Fact exposed a string of secret DWP briefings to the right wing press on welfare and benefits which were not available to the public.

On August 20th, Left Foot Forward revealed that the DWP had issued a secret press briefing on workless households but refused to release the statistics.

On August 12th, IDS’ deputy, Chris Grayling, over-estimated the proportion of London households in which no-one had ever worked by a factor of three.

An investigation has been ordered into the way the Department of Work and Pensions uses releases statistics to the media by the chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar. When the rest of the mainstream media will pick up the story is anyone’s guess.

75 Responses to “IDS’ stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg”

  1. yorkierosie

    RT @jackstone36: IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/FIjbWOT

  2. Press Not Sorry

    RT @wdjstraw: When will the mainstream media pick up on the serial problem of stats misuse at DWP? http://bit.ly/dBlyTq

  3. janie_s

    don’t let the facts get in the way of a good ideology!

  4. Web links for 19th November 2010 | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

    […] IDS’ stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg Left Foot Forward discusses the DWP's use of statistics over the last 6 months. Today's papers report that the Secretary of State misled the Commons by claiming that statistics for rents which he had claimed were from the Office for National Statistics were in fact from a property comparison website owned by the owners of the Daily Mail. <br /> LFF points to seven other examples and reminds us that the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority has ordered an investigation into the way the DWP uses statistics. Related posts (automatically generated):Cuts Watch #183: The Big Society keeps getting smaller […]

  5. Loraine Hardy

    RT @leftfootfwd: IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg http://bit.ly/9ZsIQz

  6. Mr. Sensible

    Oops…

  7. Kevin Richards

    Independent reports that Iain Duncan Smith misled Parliament RT @leftfootfwd: IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg http://bit.ly/9ZsIQz

  8. Tim Whale

    Can you trust a politician who picks and chooses his own sources for statisticd http://bit.ly/c1lu88

  9. Paul Roberts

    @SkyNews RT @MagsNews: reports that Iain Duncan Smith misled Parliament @leftfootfwd: IDS stat rebuke is tip of iceberg http://bit.ly/9ZsIQz

  10. Gemini Partnership

    RT @leftfootfwd: IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg http://bit.ly/9ZsIQz

  11. auditukdwp

    What needs to be remembered about “welfare claimants” is that ALL claims have been introduced by Governments. So it is time to reverse the trend that has been unfairly and unjustifiably set against the rights of people who have been entitled to make claims according to the law. The faults that Ian Duncan Smith has been caught out on are not, unfortunately, to be uniquely held against him or against the CONDEM regime. Successive holders of the office in the Blair-Brown years that IDS now holds were almost identical in their de facto participation in “damning” the claimants. The claimants did not and could not under the British system of legislation enact a statute no matter how universally that would be justifiable. Condem IDS for his falsehood. But do so in context and admit that the state has been abused by regimes to assail the universal rights of those who have been pushed into poverty by the policies of Governments and by those who have been milking the state many times more than the ordinary benefit claimants put together could claim in all constituent parts of the UK. Let us start to examine the scroungers that have been robbing the UK public of £Billions under so many contracts that the DWP never volunteers information on. That will be an overdue start. Then there are thousands of individual items representing systematic and historic looting of the “welfare £££££” by the big businesses who mechanically join together in their dishonest attacks on the “benefit cheats” which is what they THINK all claimants are anyway.
    1505 Saturday 20 Nov 2010

  12. Cllr. Kevin Maton

    We need to get better at pointing out this abuse of information http://tinyurl.com/29obqun

  13. IDS asked to correct the record on DWP stats | Left Foot Forward

    […] debate on November 9th. The clarification sought by Mr Alexander follows a series of instances of misuse of statistics by the […]

  14. UK Statistics Authority: "Serious deficiencies" in DWP use of statistics | Left Foot Forward

    […] Foot Forward has been documenting the misuse of statistics by Iain Duncan Smith, his deputy Chris Grayling, and officials in the Department for Work and […]

  15. Will Straw

    Here's one example of IDS misuse of statistics http://bit.ly/9xpa1f

  16. paul finney

    RT @wdjstraw: Here's one example of IDS misuse of statistics http://bit.ly/9xpa1f

  17. Robert Sprigge

    RT @wdjstraw: Here's one example of IDS misuse of statistics http://bit.ly/9xpa1f

  18. Calamity Grayling misuses the stats (again) | Left Foot Forward

    […] IDS’ stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg 19 Nov […]

  19. Chris Grayling overruled stats chief to spin immigrants as fraudsters | Political Scrapbook

    […] Iain Duncan Smith have been caught massaging the figures (see Left Foot Forward for complete list):IDS passes off Daily Mail-owned property website as official statsGrayling exaggerates non-working households by 3:1UK Statistics Authority claims “serious […]

  20. Gracie Samuels

    RT @leftfootfwd: IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg http://t.co/s3qQYn9i And here's a lie IDS made earlier (in 2010)

  21. Thomas Hemingford

    RT @leftfootfwd: IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg http://t.co/s3qQYn9i And here's a lie IDS made earlier (in 2010)

  22. J.P. Grumpsukthuck

    RT @leftfootfwd: IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg http://t.co/s3qQYn9i And here's a lie IDS made earlier (in 2010)

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