Unemployment – misrepresenting the facts.

This is a letter to the Swindon Advertiser in response to MP Justin Tomlinson’s claim that unemployment in Swindon has fallen 34% since the General Election.

Unemployment – misrepresenting the facts.

Today’s Adver quotes Justin Tomlinson as saying that since the General Election “unemployment has fallen by 34%” in Swindon. If Mr Tomlinson want’s people to take him seriously rather than viewing him as just a mouthpiece of the government’s propaganda machine then he really shouldn’t so blatantly misrepresent the truth.

Visit the government’s NOMIS website, the home of “official labour market statistics”, and you will see that to September last year there were 4,900 men and 3,500 women unemployed. That’s the latest available figure. For reasons which are not entirely clear the combined figure is shown as 8,200. Never mind, they are still above 8,000. The NOMIS stats for June 2010, the earliest figures after the General Election showed 8,700 unemployed. So the decline has been just 500. You don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that this is a long way from 34%. In fact my calculator has just told me it is a 5.75% drop in unemployment.

So what is Justin on about? I presume that he is quoting the Job Seeker Allowance figures. They tell us that JSA numbers have fallen from 4,827 in May of 2010 to 3,343 in December 2013. If Justin had said the JSA figures had declined by a third since the General Election he would have been stating a fact. However, by saying that unemployment had fallen by 34% he was misrepresenting the facts. He knows full well that not all the unemployed receive JSA.

Such cheap tricks will no more hide the truth from people than the government’s recent attempt to tell us that we are all better off this year. Of course, his is not the only Party to practice such ‘spin’. So long as the art continues then the punters will continue to hold politicians in contemp because such methods are an attempt to mislead the electorate.

Martin Wicks

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