The Authority’s chair Sir Michael Scholar has written to the Permanent Secretary at Number 10 as follows:
These statistics were not due for publication for some time, and had not therefore been through the regular process of checking and quality assurance.
The statisticians who produced them, together with the National Statistician, tried unsuccessfully to prevent their premature, irregular and selective release.
I hope you will agree that the publication of prematurely released and unchecked statistics is corrosive of public trust in official statistics, and incompatible with the high standards which we are all seeking to establish.
I would be grateful for your comments, and for your assurance that there will be no repetition of this breach of the National Statistics Code of Practice.
Chris Huhne has commented:
Yet again this government has been caught peddling dodgy statistics. If ministers want the British people to trust anything they say, statistics must be made completely independent of government. Unfortunately it still seems that ministers are prepared to put courting the headlines ahead of checking the facts. This seems like a failed attempt to cover up criticism of Gordon Brown by rushing out a flimsy good news story.