The Times ran false ‘£1000 on families’ story. Now it’s true, where are the headlines?

Bogus claim about Labour made the front page, but neutrality breaks out when it's Osborne


The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has crunched the numbers and says George Osborne’s budget will leave 3 million people on average £1000 a year worse off.

This and other findings by the IFS have been covered by the Tory press – who apparently feel no shame at having trumpeted the same budget just 24 hours ago.

But there was another story a few months ago which was treated very differently.

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

The Times, £1000 correction

Just over a week later, on May 2, the paper admitted this was completely wrong.

It ran a correction, and on June 19 was forced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) to run the correction on its front page.

So a false and baseless claim – disproved even in the original story, as the correction makes clear – was plastered on the front of the former newspaper of record weeks before the election.

But when families are actually facing a £1000 raid on their bank balances, its just one story among many in the budget coverage.

As with Osborne’s aping of Ed Miliband’s pledge to abolish non-dom status, the difference in coverage reveals the party bias of British newspapers.

Today’s Times even has a cartoon with George Osborne dressed as the claymation character Wallace, with a naked Miliband in the background – Osborne has ‘stolen Labour’s clothes’.

But is that a good thing? Does the Times support any policy, even Labour policies, if they are brought in by the Conservative party?

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

Read more: 

Times runs ‘Labour’s £1,000 tax on families’ correction on front page after IPSO ruling

Tory press shirks its duty and waves pom-poms for Osborne’s budget

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15 Responses to “The Times ran false ‘£1000 on families’ story. Now it’s true, where are the headlines?”

  1. damon

    I’m no supporter of Tories and their cuts by any means – But:

    It is slightly annoying the way that talk about things like this is just partisan warfare.
    Just because some people will see a reduction in their benefits isn’t necessarily a terrible thing.
    Plenty of people have been using tax credits as a way of getting more money and working less hours.
    Choosing to work less hours. I know people who have done this.
    A hard nosed American capitalist would be saying ”just get more hours”.
    I’ve never qualified for tax credits and that’s actually what I have to do.
    On £9 an hour I’d love to have had my wages topped up when my agency couldn’t give me 40 hours a week. a
    And that was so often that I had to get a more reliable job.
    I saw one mum crying on the news because she was a part time librarian and relied on the tax credits she got. Working part time like that is like half-way being unemployed. You don’t have the job centre breathing down your neck, but you don’t have to put a full week in either.
    I’d do it if I could. But what I have to do is look for more hours, like working every other Saturday too.
    It’s a tough old life.

  2. stevep

    How far the Times has fallen.

  3. Cole

    It’s a truly terrible paper now. I recently fell upon a couple of copies from the 1960s – and, guess what, it was a decent well, written paper. Of course it was basically Tory, but it clearly knew the difference between facts and opinion, unlike Murdoch’s tacky rag.

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  5. Keith M

    The Times is yet another mouthpiece for the Aussie turned American, Murdoch, who thinks he can dictate his vile policies to governments. Time he was reined in.

  6. blarg1987

    It does however torpedo mobility, for example, those who are retraining, due to loosing a job and can only get part time work etc.

    I agree the system is not perfect however the policy has been poorly thought through.

  7. damon

    I agree it’s pretty crap all around. Our society is very unfair and unequal.
    Just look at how much train and tube fares are. For poorer people they are impossibly expensive, but for richer people not a problem at all. That’s unfair.

    But, welfare dependency does have harmful effects on society.
    The places that have highest rates of people receiving welfare and be chronically dysfunctional too. The black ghettos in American cities for example.
    Or similar places in the UK. Did Mark Duggan – small time gangster, shot by the police – ever have a job in his life? The places most effected by the riots that broke out after his death were ones where there was high youth unemployment.
    They were people who will not do the jobs that a million eastern European immigrants have come and found here quite easily.
    So for the good of society, I can see how government does have to try to prod society in the direction that it sees as better. The tax credit thing has got out of hand a bit. It was only introduced by Gordon Brown, so is quite a new phenomenon.
    I still hate Tories though.

  8. Patrick Nelson

    Yes bring back Lord Norberg.

  9. blarg1987

    The only alternative, is to offload liability onto the private sector and give them a good kicking.

    Years ago companies use to do apprenticeships after kids left school to train them in specific roles, nowadays those said companies demand government give them ready trained people that can work on the floor on day one, so they do not have to train them themselves.

    A step in the right direction would be the more support companies expect of the taxpayer the higher the taxes they will pay or the state should get a stake in said company as compensation.

    Would infuriate industry’s a few people would loose their bonuses, and is unlikely to happen as MP’s would loose potential none executive directorships after they leave politics.

  10. damon

    Yes, I don’t have a problem with that.
    A capitalist society is far from ideal, as it works for private profit not for the interests of the citizens. But it’s what we’ve got and we’ve just voted the Tories back in because more people don’t trust the likes of Miliband etc.
    There is some logic in the conservative idea of people making and effort and receiving the rewards they have earned. Too much of the Labour mentality would allow people to put all the blame for their failure on others.
    Just look how so many of our children squander the opportunity of education that they are given. While kids in Africa are doing their homework under candlelight.
    I’ve never understood how we can produce such an uneducated society when everyone gets years of free schooling. I wasted mine a bit too though.
    Tax credits were being misued by some. with people only working up to the maximum number of hours they needed to qualify. Maybe they had good reason to only work part time though. Whether it was all they could find or because they needed the rest of time with their children or studying or whatever. But thirty billion is a heck of a lot.

  11. blarg1987

    there is a stark difference, for those people in Africa studying hard does give a high chance for them to get a well paid job and so there standard of living increases tenfold.

    People here on the other hand are disillusioned with the perception of a closed shop and contacts meaning studying hard ode not necessarily mean you will be CEO of a company etc.

    I do agree with the effort reward thing, however it seems to go backwards, as an american comedian has said. If a person at the bottom end of society discovers an entitlement they are allowed, they are seen as a lazy person / free loader etc, however a person working for a private company who discoverers a tax entitlement the company is allowed is seen as a striver and the next best thing etc.

  12. damon

    My main problem with what you said there was the idea of someone being disillusioned that they couldn’t become the CEO of a company.
    Well how about setting their eyes lower and doing something that is more possible?
    Like all the white van man people you see driving about earning a living.
    I do that at the bottom end, just being an unskilled driver, but you could be some kind of engineer with very particular skills. How about a lift engineer for example. How much money would a skilled person in that profession make an hour? I bet it’s loads.
    You just have to go out of your way to get trained up I guess. And live in an area where there is some demand.

    For all its unfairness, capitalism that actually functions, like in western countries is the system that does the best for most people. When you spend time in a third world country you can appreciate what opportunity it offers people.
    Like honest police and officials for example.
    In Sri Lanka the police spend their days stopping motorcyclists to make them hand over bribe fines. And the country is dysfunctional in some areas because there’s so much corruption.
    So complain that things aren’t perfect in the UK by all means, but all those immigrants come here because they want some of what we’ve got.

  13. blarg1987

    The point I am making say you had to study hard to become a white van man, you would not consider it effort/reward unless you got paid a lot for it.

    People are probabaly disillusioned about the effort reward here with the perception that working hard does not guarantee a well paid job compared to other countries.

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