Peter Hoskin

Another Darling vs Brown battle

Another Darling vs Brown battle
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Well done, Alistair.  After taking on Brown over the crude "Labour investment vs Tory cuts" dividing line - and winning - it sounds as though the Chancellor is challenging another of the PM's lies: that the government's "stimulus" measures have "saved 500,000 jobs" during the recession.  According to the Mail on Sunday, Darling has told the PM to stop repeating this claim because it can't be substantiated, and he's resisting having it put in the Budget, too.

As soon as the government started mentioning "500,000 jobs", Westminster's lie detectors started sounding; especially as it gradually morphed from "up to 500,000" to "at least 500,000".  We at Coffee House Towers have submitted an FOI request for the Treasury's study behind this highly suspicious figure, but no word so far.  Watch this space, as they say.

Now, claims the MoS, Darling would prefer it if Brown & Co. mitigated the claim, by returning to the "up to 500,000" formulation.  That's better, I suppose.  But it's probably still divorced from the truth.  An Oxford Economics study, commissioned by The Spectator in January, suggested that Brown's stimulus would save 35,000 jobs this year and then actually destroy jobs in subsequent years.  I wonder whether the PM will tell us that...