I was in meetings most of the day and did not get a chance to catch up on Prime Minister’s Questions. Having seen the letter that Ed Miliband has sent to the Prime Minister, I am not sure I’ll bother.
The list of inaccurate claims made by David Cameron is extraordinary. If any other politician was this “misleading” in their answers, they would be pilloried in the newspapers the following day. However, I am not holding my breath.
Here is the text of Ed Miliband’s letter:
“Dear Prime Minister,
I wanted to write following this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions to draw your attention to some inaccurate claims you made today.
In an answer to me, you said that “There are more people in work today than there were at the time of the last election”. In fact, the most recent employment figures from the Office for National Statistics show that total employment between May-July 2010 and September-November 2011 fell by 26,000.
In an answer to Lindsay Roy MP, you said that the Merlin agreement “actually led to an increase in bank lending last year”. In fact, the latest Trends in Lending report from the Bank of England, published last Friday, said that “the stock of lending to SMEs contracted between end-April and end-November 2011”.
In an answer to Paul Maynard MP, you spoke of “the real shame… that there are so many millions of children who live in households where nobody works and indeed that number doubled under the previous government”. In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics, the number of children living in workless households fell by 372,000 between April-June 1997 and April-June 2010.
In an answer to Rt Hon Anne McGuire MP, who said that your Government was planning to cut benefits to disabled children, you said that “The Hon Lady is wrong”. In fact, according to page 28 of the Department for Work and Pensions’ own impact assessment on the introduction of universal credit, your policy of mirroring for disabled children the current adult eligibility for Disability Living Allowance means that the rate paid to those disabled children who do not qualify for the highest rate of the DLA care component “would be less than now (£26.75 instead of £53.84)”.
I am sure that you will want to take this opportunity to correct the record.
And – just for the record – here are the sources:
1) Employment statistics: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/january-2012/table-a02.xls And see also: http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-cameron-nailed-on-job-claims/9250
2) Bank lending – Bank of England “Trends in Lending” report (see p.4): http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/other/monetary/TrendsJanuary12.pdf
3) Figures for children in workless households: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/working-and-workless-households/2011/table-k.xls
4) Disabled children’s benefits – DWP impact assessment on universal credit (see p. 28): http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/universal-credit-wr2011-ia.pdf