Conservatives get the numbers wrong – again

Getting the numbers wrong seems to be becoming a habit among Conservatives.

First we had those dodgy crime statistics, with the Conservatives claiming wrongly that violent crime had massively increased over the last decade.

Today we discover the Conservatives have inflated tenfold the number of girls getting pregnant in deprived communities. What’s a tenfold increase between friends?

As the Guardian reports:

The Conservatives launched the attack document, called Labour’s Two Nations, to try to show the rise in inequalities under the current government. It claimed – three times – that women under 18 are “three times more likely to fall pregnant in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas. In the most deprived areas 54% are likely to fall pregnant before the age of 18, compared to just 19% in the least deprived areas.”

The figures said that 54.32 per 1000 women aged 15-17 years old fell pregnant, which becomes 5.4%, not the 54% the Tories had arrived at.

This would appear to be a mistake, rather than a malicious twisting of the figures.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls has a fair point, though, when he says that you have to be pretty clueless about life in Britain, especially its poorer areas, to think the 54% figure was even possible. Making the mathematical error seems excusable; failing to spot it before publication in an important campaigning paper less so.

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3 Comments

  • Malcolm Todd 15th Feb '10 - 10:03am

    D’you think they just don’t know what a percentage is? I mean I try not to fall into using the ‘dumb Tories’ stereotype, but sometimes you gotta wonder…

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