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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Burying the bad news

Rob from The West Wales Kite has drawn my attention to this article in Thursday's Independent, which reports that the Government has the publication of its annual poverty statistics until after the local elections next month:

The figures, normally issued in March, will be disclosed on 2 May, the day after local authority elections in England and Wales, The Independent can reveal. Many results, including the contest for London Mayor, will not be announced until 2 May and they are likely to dominate media coverage, swamping the poverty figures.

Independent experts expect the statistics to show Labour is in danger of missing its flagship target of halving child poverty by 2010 and abolish it by 2020.

The Chancellor Alistair Darling announced plans to lift a further 250,000 children out of the poverty net in last month's Budget, on top of the 600,000 taken out since 1997 but forecasters predict it will not be enough get Labour back on track.

Somehow the excuse being peddled by the Department of Work and Pensions that they want to make 'absolutely sure the statistics are completely reliable and correct', just does not cut it. This is especially so when research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests the figures will show child poverty and inequality are rising, while disposable incomes are falling. It believes the increases in benefits and tax credits in the 2006-07 financial year were not generous, leading to falls or very small rises for couples with children and lone parents.

The paper tells us that in a report for Help the Aged, the IFS forecast a rise in pensioner poverty in 2006-07, mostly because the level of winter fuel allowances in 2005 was not repeated in 2006.

It is also likely that 5.3 million low paid families will lose up to £446 a year under Gordon Brown's decision in his final Budget last year to abolish the 10p lower rate of income tax. That takes effect this week. One in five families will be affected, even when tax credits are taken into account.

The paper confirms that the IFS estimates the losers will include 2.2 million single working people with no children; 1.2 million two-earner couples with no children; 700,000 two-earner couples with children; 500,000 non-workers; 400,000 one-earner couples without children and 300,000 women aged 60-64.

Who says that spin is dead under Gordon Brown?
Surely you're not suggesting they are doing it on purpose????? The very idea.
> the excuse being peddled by the Department of Work and Pensions that they want to make 'absolutely sure the statistics are completely reliable and correct'

The Robert Mugabe defence.
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