Work Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been urged to apologise to the unemployed after being caught abusing statistics.
IBS claimed that the Coalition’s decision to cap benefit payments had driven 8,000 people to get a job.
But, after a complaint from the TUC, the UK Statistics Authority ruled his claim was not backed up by the facts.
TUC chief Frances O’Grady said: “The Government is causing hardship and worry to many who have done nothing to cheat the system and are desperate to work.
“He needs to apologise to those who cannot find jobs for misusing his department’s statistics in this way.”
New figures show benefit fraud accounts for just 0.7% of the welfare budget.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “Iain Duncan Smith is living in la-la land. His ideas don’t work so he’s now literally making up stories.
“For the third time in just six months, the head of the UK Statistics Authority has written to ministers to warn them about their misuse of statistics.
“They claimed the NHS Budget was rising when it had fallen, they claimed debt was falling when it’s rising, and now they are making up stories about getting people off benefits and into work, when the truth is unemployment is rising.
“People’s patience is wearing very thin, and they’re getting a little sick and tired of a Tory-led Government that isn’t just out of touch with the public – it’s out of touch with reality.”
Oxfam’s Katherine Trebeck said: “Not content with using rhetoric to stigmatise poor people the Government has now been caught misrepresenting the figures – this is beyond the pale.
“The fact is that the vast majority of people who are out of work would jump at the chance to take a job that paid them a wage they can afford to live on.”
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: “The Secretary of State has long held the position that the benefit cap would have an impact on the behaviour of claimants.
“As the minister for employment made clear in a recent interview, DWP staff and claimants are telling us the cap is impacting behaviour and leading to those affected finally entering the world of work.”
So, the government has been written to 3 times in 6 months and warned about its dubious use of statistics eh? You can prove anything with statistics, I use stats and figures, but I always make sure that I am in possession of the official numbers and don’t change them.
Stats, if reported accurately, obviously don’t lie, but you can certainly use them to lead people up a certain path. If the stats show a reduction however, then that’s exactly how it should be reported.
To report that the stats show a reduction in unemployment when it is actually rising is dishonest and totally lacks integrity.
If the government are happy to descend to these levels how can we possibly believe anything they say?