DWP rebuked over its use of statistics

The Guardian reports,

The head of the UK Statistics Authority has issued a public rebuke to welfare ministers over their use of official statistics, warning of “serious deficiencies” in the handling of unemployment data.

Sir Michael Scholar, the head of the authority, said that by failing to show the evidence for claims made by ministers, the government risked undermining public trust.

His criticism comes a day after Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state for work and pensions, was forced to explain to MPs why the “official” statistics he quoted in parliament had in fact been taken from a property website owned by the Daily Mail. The cabinet minister cited the ONS as the source of claims about the rise in social rents when, in fact, they were based on data from the Find a Property website.

You can read the full story here.

UPDATE: For more on the story see the post over on Full Fact.

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2 Comments

  • The comment from Brendan Barber:

    “it looks as if ministers are searching for facts that suit their case”

    confirms exactly what a friend (A senior civil servant who compiles stats at the DWP and who is by no means a left-winger) told me about the change in emphasis with the new government.

  • Norfolk Boy 27th Nov '10 - 6:55pm

    The unemployment figures have never been within a mile of the true total of jobless people in this country since the excessive tinkering / massaging/ fixing of them that began in the 80s.

    The rest is bluster and spin

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