X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Minister demands apology from Miliband after stats blunder

1 July 2014

4:14 PM

1 July 2014

4:14 PM

The Tories are very keen to sabotage Ed Miliband’s big speech about rebalancing the British economy, which is probably a compliment to the Labour leader as it suggests that they think he might be onto something. Both parties are certainly engaged in a localism arms race at the moment, arguing that they’re the party that really trusts voters and wants to give them back the power over their own lives.

But Miliband appears to have made a bit of a statistical error which is allowing his opponents to create a bit of a sideshow to distract from the launch of Lord Adonis’ final report on growth. In his speech, the Labour leader said ‘independent experts say four fifths of all new private sector jobs created since 2010 are in London’. Matt Hancock has already sent a cross letter to the UK Statistics Authority complaining about this stat, and he’s now written to Miliband directly. Coffee House has seen the letter first and you can read it in full below. It says Miliband got his data from an out-of-date report, and that the most recent Office for National Statistics figures suggest London accounts for less than 1 in 4 net additional private sector jobs created. Hancock tells Miliband that ‘I know that you would not want to inadvertently mislead the British public into believing that the employment situation is worse than it actually is’, and demands a ‘full and public correction’:

‘Indeed since you appear to have put this erroneous statistic at the heart of your new policy launch, I believe that it would be only proper for you to issue a full and public correction, and in doing so, accept that our long-term economic plan is helping to create jobs across Britain.’

[Alt-Text]


These cross letters are an amusing part of Westminster life. But aside from a dodgy data moment, both parties do recognise that parts of the country don’t feel quite so rosy as London and the South East, which is why George Osborne was talking about directly-elected regional mayors and a third high-speed rail link just last week.

Dear Ed,

I notice that today you have claimed that ‘four fifths of all the new private sector jobs created since 2010 are in London’.

This is factually inaccurate.

The statistic you make reference to is from an out of date Centre for Cities report which only looked at the regional labour market between 2010 and 2012.

The most recent, unadjusted ONS statistics for the last four years (Q1 2010 to Q1 2014) suggest that London has accounted for less than 1 in 4 net additional private sector jobs created (21.7%). Using the most recent available data which is adjusted for reclassifications but not seasonally adjusted (between Q1 2010 and Q2 2013), London again accounted for around 1 in 4 net additional private sector jobs (24.3%). Using data adjusted for reclassifications, and which is comparable on an annual basis (between Q1 2010 and Q1 2013), London still accounted for around 1 in 4 net additional jobs (27%).

I know that you would not want to inadvertently mislead the British public into believing that the employment situation is worse than it actually is.

Indeed since you appear to have put this erroneous statistic at the heart of your new policy launch, I believe that it would be only proper for you to issue a full and public correction, and in doing so, accept that our long-term economic plan is helping to create jobs across Britain.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Hancock MP

P.S. The four-fifths claim in Adonis’s report was a repeat of one from the Centre for Cities’ Cities Outlook 2014. It says that ‘since 2010, 79 per cent of private sector jobs growth has occurred in London’, and was based on a survey of businesses – but the data only runs up to 2012. Here’s a statement from the Centre for Cities’ CEO, Alexandra Jones:-

The Centre for Cities’ annual Cities Outlook report for 2014 showed that 80 per cent of all private sector jobs created between 2010 and 2012 were created in London. This figure is based on data from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which looks at employment by workplace. By contrast, the figures being quoted by the Government – which argues that 80 per cent of private sector jobs over the last year were created outside of London – are either based on the Annual Population Survey (APS) or the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which are both regional and measure employment by place of residence. This dramatically undercounts the number of people who work in London but live elsewhere.

While no dataset is perfect, BRES data gives a more accurate picture of where jobs are located, rather than where employed people live. Using APS or LFS data, a working person who lives in St Albans would be classed as employed in their home town of St Albans, even if their job was actually in London. The BRES data is updated annually, and the data for 2013 has not yet been released, while the APS and LFS datasets are released quarterly. However, in order to measure where people work rather than live, it remains the most consistent and accurate source of UK employment data currently available.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close