Coffee House

Minister demands apology from Miliband after stats blunder

1 July 2014

1 July 2014

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 It says Miliband got his data from an out-of-date report, and that the most recent Office for National Statistics figures suggest London accounts for less than 1 in 4 net additional private sector jobs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.’

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The statistic you make reference to is from an out of date Centre for Cities report which only looked at the regional labour market between 2010 and 2012.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


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Show comments
  • NBeale

    It’s still a blatant lie to say “since 2010 …” At best he could claim “between 2010 and 2012…” But many (?most) of the jobs created have been since the end of 2012.

  • Amir

    Check this atricle out abour Labour’s last chance:

    http://www.casualpolitics.co.uk/2014/06/is-labour-still-in-the-game/

  • Pier66

    LADIES and GENTLEMEN
    dish of the day;

    The FA did not never appreciate never like football genius as Brian Clough, Shankly , Paisley and Glenn Hoddle…with his avantgard football ideas, a winner player deserved a 10 years contract with white paper on everything!
    What done indeed the FA ( in wrong hands since about 70 years? More or less)
    They said Hoddle did not coaching cause he has not football card!!!
    They pick up always the WRONG coach because they like lose(liblab )
    Poor England There are NOT future wrong hands again
    Ynwa and Tory in the FA NOW

  • Smithersjones2013

    And when they build HS2 even more people will be able to commute to work in London. Re-balancing the economy? Yeah right!

  • HookesLaw

    You would have thought a lightbulb would have gone of in Miliband’s head. London’s population is about 8 million. The national population is over 60. Yet he blandly says this relatively small sector created 3 out of 4 jobs – and this when lots of jobs have been created.

    But then we get the same sort of thing on here. Its easy but ignorant to claim its all London-centric when the truth is not so simple.

    9 out of 10 new jobs have gone to UK workers yet through prejudice and ignorance its all about immigrants from the usual suspects.

    • Smithersjones2013

      You really do have absolutely no imagination or insight or analytical skill at all do you? Instead just Ostrich like denial all the time.

      The government do not even question the stats offered they only say they are out of date. Therefore even the government accept the figures, as they were, as correct as far as they went.

      Its no wonder the bloody Tories get nowhere when they have people like you arguing their case!

  • Inverted Meniscus

    Don’t hold your breath. This would require honesty from Miliband, a commodity with which he is totally unfamiliar. Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

    • Gareth

      I seem to recall IDS and Cameron being rebuked for misuse of stats.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Indeed but they tend to acknowledge their errors. Leftists continue with the pretence regardless.

        • Shazza

          To win at any cost, fair means or foul – all the same to Leftists.

          • Daidragon

            This is what happens when you aren’t taught the Eton wall game.

            • Shazza

              Leftists also excel in spite and envy.

              • Daidragon

                You do pretty well yourself.

                • Shazza

                  Leftist also revert to ad hominem attacks when the dearth of their arguments is revealed.

                • Daidragon

                  Delicious irony.

                • Shazza

                  The irony is that Leftists refuse to acknowledge the destruction that their policies have wrought on society.
                  Further irony is that Leftists continue voting for politicians who will continue with these self same destructive policies.

                  Leftists take Stockholm Syndrome to new levels.

                • Daidragon

                  Society? There’s no such thing according to your icon.

                • Shazza

                  Back to the ad hominem attacks.
                  QED.

                • Gareth

                  Funnily enough, we see the same traits in “Rightists”. But actually, neither of us is stupid, and both of us will have thought our political views through carefully, I’m sure. When it descends into pure tribalism, it contributes very little to the scrutiny of ideas which our politics sorely needs.

                • Shazza

                  I don’t recall any ‘Rightist’ calling for celebrations and dancing and partying when a Left wing leader has died. The treatment that was handed out to Lady T was a stain on the integrity of the Left.

                  Lady T was the greatest leader this country had since Churchill and had bigger cojones than any of our current leaders of all parties have. She commanded great respect across the globe and together with Reagan, brought down the Berlin Wall and ended the nightmare of the Soviet Union that you and your comrades lauded and now with the prospect of Red Len and Red Ed in No 10, we are faced with a future that will make the 70s look like paradise.

                  The hatred that was and is shown towards her by the Left is that her success showed up the failure of the loony policies of the Left. The greater her success the greater their humiliation.Nothing changes. The Conservatives are once again having to clear up the mess that your lot leave, that is why I keep reminding people –

                  Labour – The Party of Mass Destruction.

                • Gareth

                  It’s just more simplistic, tribalised drivel, as if everyone on ‘the Left’ is just one person. I’m far too young to have ever lauded the Soviet Union, and far too polite to have made those sorts of comments.

        • Gareth

          “The Universal Credit fiasco exemplifies Duncan Smith’s narcissistic failure to admit and remedy mistakes.”

          I’m quoting today’s article from the Spectator.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Gordon Brown has never acknowledged the emergence of the largest structural deficit in peacetime history taking the scale of leftist dishonesty to far greater heights than IDS could manage. My favourite example however occurred when Brown, forced to apologise to Parliament after lying about real terms expenditure on defence claimed that expenditure had fallen on ” one or two occasions”. It was actually on three occasions. Only a leftist would lie when apologising for an earlier lie. Doubtless in your socialist nutter World the deficit was all the fault of the wicked Tories or it “started in America”.

            • Shazza

              Or the usual – blame Lady Thatcher. Blame all their failures on Lady Thatcher.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Yes the always end up blaming Lady T eventually.

  • Andrew Cornell

    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 based on the Annual Population Survey (APS) data, which is regional and measures employment of residents. 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 the APS data the government relies on, 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 unfortunately only updated infrequently, and the data for 2013 has still not been collected, while the APS dataset is more regularly updated. 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.

    • LadyDingDong

      Cut and pasted from Sparrow’s blog in the Guardian, from newspaper-Idaho.com and video warning.com. I see from Disqus that you have only ever posted 2 comments and both on this obvious cock-up by Labtard. You are a sock-puppet troll sent out by the fascist labtard party to spread disinformation and, unless you have something original to say, please push off back to where your type belongs.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Nice cut and paste from an obvious Labour Troll. Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

  • DavidL

    Oops. That should fuel the growing feeling that Ed’s Private Office doesn’t know what it’s doing.

    • Shinsei1967

      More significantly someone in Labour HQ should have KNOWN that the job situation in parts of the UK outside of London was actually rather strong (they have Labour MPs in these places !) and therefore the claim that almost all the new jobs were in London should just have sounded “wrong” or at least in need of double-checking.

      Just as an example it should be common knowledge that the car industry has seen a large increase in employment over the last few years and they aren’t building Land Rovers in London.

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