Benefits cap – IDS ‘misused’ official statistics

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been rebuked by the official statistics watchdog for claiming the benefits cap is pushing people to find paid work. It said his claim was not supported by the official statistics, and was a breach of the code of practice on their use.

Duncan Smith had claimed in April that 8,000 people who would have been affected by the benefits cap had already moved into jobs ahead of its introduction, and that this 'clearly demonstrates that the cap is having the desired impact'. This prompted an official complaint to the UK Statistics Authority by the TUC. In response the watchdog ruled that notes accompanying the statistics on which Duncan Smith relied make it clear that methodological and other factors – and not 'behavioural change' – lay behind a drop in estimates of those potentially affected by the cap.

Source: Letter 9 May 2013, UK Statistics Authority
LinksLetter | TUC press release | TUC blog post | Labour Party press release | BBC report | Guardian report | New Statesman report

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Publication date: 
May 17 2013