If there’s one thing that really gets under the skin of Momentum, the campaign group for Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, it’s that the economy has steadily improved under this Conservative government. While the group constantly tries to suggest that only Corbyn can rescue the country from economic peril, statistics that show, for example, that unemployment is falling across the country throw an awkward spanner in the works.
The group has therefore recently alighted on a new response to counter suggestions that more people are in work, by pointing out that official employment statistics include people who only work one hour every week:
Whilst the Government continues to brag about 'record employment', the truth is that an individual only has to work an hour a week to be classified as 'employed'.
In a nutshell, the Tories will shamelessly spin numbers to appear competent. (They're really not).
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) January 26, 2019
The implication of course being that the fall in unemployment is a myth, buoyed by people on zero-hour contracts who only work for a few hours.
But Mr S wonders if Momentum are engaging in some statistical fibs of their own.
Although they are correct to say that people who work one hour a week are included in official statistics, this is nothing to do with the Conservative government, and they were counted last time Labour were in power.
And if Momentum were actually interested in how much people work they wouldn’t have to look far, as the Office for National Statistics keeps a record of how many people in the UK work fewer than six hours every week (click to enlarge):
Not only is this number vanishingly small (under 2 per cent of the working population), but unfortunately for Momentum, it has also fallen since the Tories came to power in 2010. Which shows that not only has unemployment fallen since Labour were last in power, but a higher proportion of people are working for more hours as well.
Which is probably not the ‘shameless’ spinning of numbers the group was hoping to expose…