Fraser Nelson

Misrepresenting the welfare ghettos

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I thought p8 of the Daily Mail looked familiar. It's that table of benefits which we ran on Coffee House on Sunday (expanded from my News of the World column). But what's this? "Tory research" it's called. On closer inspection, the Tories have used recent welfare figures, and expressed them as a percentage of the mid-2005 poulation. So its a little Brown-style fiddle, as the population of neighbourhoods changes all the time - and the population of sink estates usually falls. New welfare rolls as a fraction of old population can be relied upon to produce a false, but higher figure. The News of the World would have been furious with me if I'd used this little scam to get slightly more impressive headlines. The Tories had best be careful here: Brown is a master of such small fiddles. If they use dishonest little tricks like this at election time, he'll have them.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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