Times admits ‘Labour’s £1000 tax on families’ story was wrong

The paper's front page frightner was 'inaccurate' - even contained its own correction


The Times newspaper on Friday, April 24, ran a front page story claiming a Labour government would mean £1000 more tax for ‘every working family’.

Today, just over a week later, the paper has admitted this was completely false.

The original story saw the headline ‘Labour’s £1000 tax on families’ plastered on the paper’s front page. It began:

“Ed Miliband would saddle every working family with extra taxes equivalent to more than £1000, according to an independent comparison with Conservative plans.”

Times £1000

This morning’s Times carries a mea culpa that says: “This was inaccurate.”

Here’s the correction in full:

“We said ‘Ed Miliband would saddle every working family with extra taxes equivalent to more than £1000’ (‘Labour’s £1000 tax on families’, April 24). This was inaccurate. The calculation assumes that the extra taxes are shared equally among what the Office for National Statistics defines as ‘working households’ (where all those over the age of 16 are working).

In fact, as we explained elsewhere in the article, ‘the bulk of Labour’s tax rises will come form a raid on the richest pension pots, a ‘mansion tax’ on properties worth more than £2 million, the re-introduction of the 50p rate and additional levies on banks and tobacco firms’. Some of these taxes and levies will only apply to companies, and the others will affect a small minority of families, not ‘every working family’ as we reported.”

Times wrong

In other words, the story was total nonsense, and even contained its own correction when first published!

Labour’s tax plans, as laid out in the second quote, sound exactly like how Labour has described them – raising taxes on well-off pensioners, properties over £2million, top earners with the 50p rate and banks and tobacco companies.

The paper had no reason to claim ‘every working family’ would be ‘saddled’ with an extra £1000 in taxes.

The Institue for Fiscal Studies, on whose analysis the story was supposedly based, said no such thing.

Whether this was a mistake at the Times itself, or at Conservative party HQ, is unclear.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter


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Read more: Tory press blasts Miliband on Labour spending and the crash. But he’s right

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34 Responses to “Times admits ‘Labour’s £1000 tax on families’ story was wrong”

  1. Selohesra

    Where was the outrage when Guardian printed untrue story about NotW deleting emails on Millie Dowler’s phone? At lleast Times printed their appology fairly quickly – Guardians was too late to save the jobs of the NotW journalists

  2. Cole

    MediaWatch didn’t exist then, matey. And your ‘whataboutery’ is irrelevant anyway. Do you think it’s ok for Murdoch’s Times to splash lies all over its front page and then issue a tiny apology days later?

  3. Selohesra

    And you really think they would have cared if they had been around? – no they will only gain credibility when they highlight bias from both sides including the anti UKIP bias of BBC

  4. Gerschwin

    Don’t worry everyone – It’s a girl! Hooorah!

  5. Gerschwin

    If it undermines the Labour PIErty Cole then my answer would be ‘Yes, I think it’s absolutely wonderful.’

  6. Selohesra

    Heard she was in labour on radio this morning and though crikey – i’d always asumed she was a tory

  7. Kryten2k35

    Oh, so the NotW’s journalists were totally innocent of any wrongdoing, and it was The Guardian that got them fired?

    There’s me thinking the phone hacking scandal was a real thing. Turns out it was just a Guardian ruse.

  8. Cole

    Stop changing the subject from the lies in The Times. Maybe you think it’s just fine that Murdoch’s minions go around doing this all the time.

  9. Cole

    We know you right wingers have no morals. That’s actually the point.

  10. Selohesra

    Fortunately you have no right to prevent posts you disagree with so I will comment as I see fit – if you dont start to control your intollerance you will turn into another of these joke accounts like Leon Wolfson

  11. Cole

    Oh do stop whining and being paranoid. No one is trying to censor you. I was just pointing out that what you posted was not relevant to the subject matter of the article above – the dishonesty of the Tory press.

    Why is is that right wingers have such a sense of victimhood? It’s odd since they’re basically in charge and spend their time kicking around ordinary people.

  12. Leon Wolfeson

    Retractions should have to be printed in the same font and page position as the original story.

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah yes, Jews are a joke. Right.

    And of course you call talking about your right winger’s misbehaviors is “intollerance”. You never, ever recognise them.

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    So, if it undermines your moral superiors, you think it’s wonderful. Right.

  15. Leon Wolfeson

    You are? I see.

  16. Leon Wolfeson

    It’s an excuse to suppress discussion. Which they accuse everyone else of, for daring to talk about their ideologies. It’s sad.

  17. Cole

    You’re right. They pretend to be in favour of freedom, but not if it involves any criticism of them. And, lest we forget, this government has passed the Gagging Law, set up secret courts, and tried to introduce the Snoopers’ Charter.

  18. sosr

    “the anti UKIP bias of BBC”

    Spare me. If the BBC was really anti-UKIP they’d starve them of the publicity they so deeply desire.

  19. W.E

    It was wrong of The Times to publish that initial report, but one part of their retraction still stands out:

    What is it with Labour wanting to attack pensioners who happen to be comfortable? These are people who’ve worked bloody hard and paid into the system their whole working lives. Revolting, vindictive centre left politics which tries to claim righteousness over those further to the left, when in fact they want to raid those pension pots just as much. Don’t attack people who have earned a good quality of life in their retirement.

    I guess they realise they’ll never win the ‘grey vote’ from those who’ve slogged, and would rather target to skivers of society who are always on the take and don’t contribute a penny to this country.

  20. Selohesra

    Leon – you may be Jewish but you are not the Jews – to equate yourself to an entire religion is taking your delusions of self importance to new highs – seek psychiatric help before its too late

  21. Selohesra

    So you would starve the third most popular party in the polls of publicity – the party that won the last nationwide election in this country. That says a lot about you and your lack of confidence in your own political views.

  22. Cole

    What are you prattling on about? And what has this to do with the Times’ shabby story? You right whingers really do like to change the subject, don’t you?

  23. sosr

    You haven’t understood what I said at all. I didn’t say that is what I would do. I said that if the BBC really was anti-UKIP that is what they would do. It isn’t a very complicated concept.

  24. TN

    Read the excerpt, genius. It mentions rich pensioners! That is who I’m alluding to. Of course you self-righteous social democrats think well off pensioners are all overindulged, etc not taking into consideration how much tax and NI contributions they’ve made in their working lives.

  25. Leon Wolfeson

    “UR MAD JEW” you yell, as you threaten me.

    You’re just another thug, of course, committing crimes – wild accusations of mental illness for starters – and trying to hide your hates.

  26. Leon Wolfeson

    Where did he say he’d do your agenda in reverse?

  27. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh, you mean they followed the law. Right.

    And where did he say he believed in your take on pensioners, and you stereotype away? Thanks though, anti-social anti-democrat!

  28. Selohesra

    Seek help

  29. Leon Wolfeson

    Great. What’s your details so I can get the police to talk to you about your falsely accusing others of mental illness.

    Or are you lying?

  30. Selohesra

    The evidence is your persistant idiotic posts – the ramblings of a lunatic. So not lying – evidence is all there in your disqus history – and your guest alias (posts under two names – schizophrenic?)

  31. Leon Wolfeson

    So you’re a liar. Thanks for confirming this for the record, even as you try and use doublethink to deny it in the same post.

    Then you scream again, Lord Blagger, that YOUR usage of many accounts is fine, as you attack me for using a basic disqus function (now changed).

    But no, because I my posts exist (i.e. are “persistent”) and I’m Jewish it’s “idiotic” and the “ramblings of a lunatic”, right. Same old, same old. I’m not the one here issuing threats, either. as you blame others for your issues.

  32. Selohesra

    I rest my case!!

  33. Leon Wolfeson

    Of course, lie in your bed, self-confirmed liar.

  34. Matthew Blott

    Ah whataboutery.

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