The Skimmer

Number crunching

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The FT’s story about 500,000 youths “too sick to work” should cause shock, but not surprise. The “figures obtained by the FT” can also be obtained by any teenager with an internet connection (for DWP time series, click here). This is a story because the degree of ignorance about the UK welfare state (and those it entraps). The sad fact is that the FT’s story could have been written at any point in the last decade. The Guardian could do a version, trumpeting the fact that the figure has been steadily coming down from 550,000 in 1999. Good to see the recently-appointed Newspaper of the Year is not beneath the old New Year’s Day trick of dressing old data up as new.

PS If the FT’s looking for a follow-up there’s 1.62m under-35s on out-of-work benefits according to, em, figures obtained by The Skimmer. For details,click here.