party politics

Chris Giles

Surprise, surprise. George Osborne’s, favourite statistic is – how shall I put it politely – nonsense.

I fear pointing out dodgy claims and counter-claims will become a regular feature of the blog during the election so, as a precaution, I’ve added a number to the title.

In his Mais lecture last week and appearing today, the shadow chancellor claimed:

“We are coming to the end of the first full Parliament since the Second World War when national income per person has actually declined.”

I was initially quite impressed by the statistic until I checked it out. Don’t believe it. It is not true. In the 1979 to 1983 Parliament, real national income per head also fell.

Mr Osborne also phrases the question a little differently. Last week he said:

“When people ask the famous question – “are you better off than you were five years ago?” – this will be the first election in modern British history when the answer from the government must be ‘no’.”

This is more difficult since we do not yet have the full statistics yet. Obviously, people’s circumstances differ, but for most people, the most accurate answer to the question is