New blow to Conservatives’ economic credibility

Claims made by the Conservative party at their conference last week about the rate of unemployment have been undermined by new research from the Trades Union Congress.

Claims made by the Conservative party at their conference last week about the rate of unemployment have been undermined by new research from the Trades Union Congress. The findings come at the end of a bad week for the party’s economic credibility. On Saturday, the Guardian revealed a £3 billion mistake in George Osborne’s pension reforms while central bankers have twice undermined David Cameron’s claims on monetary policy.

Last week, Ken Clarke spoke of “a terrible surge in unemployment” while Theresa May said, “We have seen the fastest growth in unemployment on record.” Both quotes were supported by a report titled, “Get Britain Working” which featured a graph (reproduced below) showing unemployment rates in the current recession running ahead of recessions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But a new research paper by Nicola Smith of the TUC, published exclusively today by Left Foot Forward, shows that the Conservative party’s analysis of unemployment is suspect.

But the TUC’s research outlines that:

“in the 1980s and the 1990s we entered recession with far higher unemployment rates than during the current recession … [and] while unemployment rates have increased quickly during this recession, the speed of increase was faster in the 1980s.”

The report goes on:

“While the rate of annual change in unemployment started at 0.4 in the 1980s, and rose to around 2.7, it started at a lower point in both the 1990s and the current recession, and a much lower point in the 1970s.”

Nicola Smith concludes that the Conservative party’s chart is based on faulty data since:

“neither myself nor my colleagues can replicate the index, having received no response to our enquiries, we can only conclude that in fact the chart contains an error and may not even represent the intended analysis accurately.”

8 Responses to “New blow to Conservatives’ economic credibility”

  1. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd @wdjstraw New blow to Conservatives’ economic credibility: //bit.ly/2TkEja

  2. Jonathan Bryning

    RT @leftfootfwd: New blow to Conservatives’ economic credibility: //bit.ly/2TkEja < More Tory spin exposed as erroneous!

  3. DevonChap

    The trouble with any analysis while we are still in the recession is that we don’t know what will happen next. Yes unemployemnt has gone up more slowly than in previous recessions, and that is likely to be down to the stimulus BUT we don’t know what will happen when the stimulus is withdrawn, as it must be if there is not going to be a major debt crisis (we can debate timing but no government can run 12% budget deficits for ever).

    It could be that we are defering unemployment that will rise later after the end of the stimulus, or more positively we may avoid it. Until the recession is over and the economy fully recovered we won’t know. Until then I shall take studies, both good and bad, with a pinch of salt.

  4. Hammer & Bicycle

    "New blow to Conservatives' economic credibility" > //is.gd/4miXP

  5. Roger

    Having done some analysis of the pensions error I can well believe that the Tories have cocked up their figures.

    We really do need a factcheck.org site for the UK (somebody has taken the factcheck.org.uk domain site but nothing has been put up there yet other than a ‘coming soon’ page) – and not just for election campaigns.

  6. Nicola Smith

    For those who are interested I have received some further details on this from the Office of the Shadow Chancellor, which can be read here: //www.touchstoneblog.org.uk/2009/10/conservative-unemployment-analysis-an-update/#more-4228

    I am still waiting for further clarification on the data that has been used, which I will post if I receive it.

  7. John

    RT @leftfootfwd New blow to Conservatives’ economic credibility: //bit.ly/2TkEja (update //ow.ly/uWAI )

  8. jkehoe3

    RT: @Johninnit: RT @leftfootfwd New blow to Conservatives’ economic credibility: //bit.ly/2TkEja (update //ow.ly/uWAI )

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