Steerpike Steerpike

ONS rebuke Guardian for zero hour reporting

‘Facts are sacred’ claim the Guardian, but some facts are evidently more sacred than others. Mr S was amused earlier this week when the Office of National Statistics rebuked the paper for its splash about the soaring number of ‘zero-hour contracts’. You may recall that the paper reported:

‘The scale of the use of zero-hours contracts has been revealed after official figures showed that nearly 583,000 employees – more than double the government’s estimate – were forced to sign up to the controversial conditions last year.’ 

Soon afterwards, the Office of National Statistics issued this statement:

‘In response to media reports about “official figures” showing a steep increase in the number of zero-hours employment contracts, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) urges users to treat the latest estimate with due caution pending the forthcoming publication of more reliable figures.’

Whoever could they be talking about?

All of which reminds Mr S that the Guardian has got into hot water over these ‘controversial conditions’ before. Last year Private Eye exposed the extent to which the Guardian uses flexible hours in its own building. One source told Lord Gnome in August 2013: ‘we should have just gone to the canteen and asked staff here for a quote’.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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