Scandal of the Incredible Shrinking Jobless Figures

By Edwards, Mike | Sunday Mirror (London, England), March 16, 1997 | Go to article overview

Scandal of the Incredible Shrinking Jobless Figures


Edwards, Mike, Sunday Mirror (London, England)


The official jobless figures are set to dip below 1.8million for the first time in seven years...amid fierce claims of an election fraud.

The Government is being accused of shrinking the figures in a desperate attempt by John Major to stay in power.

Labour insists that the true toll of jobless is in fact more than 4.5MILLION.

The official figures show a drop of 255,000 claimants over the past four months alone.

But more than half of this was caused by 137,000 jobless people being disqualified from benefits by the new Job-seekers Allowance tests...the 32nd change made by the Tories in the way the official figures are compiled since they came to power in 1979.

On the right we outline the major changes made by the Tories in their phoney war on unemployment.

Ian McCartney, Labour's employment spokesman, said: "Tory Ministers are using more fiddles than the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

"In a frantic search for short-term political gain, they have been massaging unemployment figures down month by month. But nobody believes their figures.

"We must have accurate statistics and that is why the next Labour Government will publish fiddle-free statistics that tell the truth about the state of the economy."

Paul Convery, director of the Unemployment Unit Research Group, said: "The truth is that well over 4.5 million people are at present without work and wanting work according to the Government's own Labour Force Survey.

"The Government is trying desperately not to lose the election but not many people are fooled by their bogus figures."

Even Tory Employment Minister Eric Forth has admitted that only "about half of these figures we are giving each month are genuine falls in unemployment."

Leading City economists are warning that the Government's "hopelessly distorted" figures could lead to wrong decisions being taken in Westminster and the City.

Nikko Securities economist Simon Briscoe says: "Interpretation of the monthly unemployment num-bers is impossible."

And Lloyds Bank chief economist Patrick Foley says that in reality Britain's economy is the most unstable of the world's top 14 industrial nations.

To highlight the Tory' figures scandal, the Labour Party has produced a booklet called Lies, Dammed Lies and Tory Unemployment Statistics.

The TUC has campaigned for years against the moves taken by the Tories to fiddle the jobless figures. Spokesman Roger Lyons said: "The Government's picture of the level of unemployment is a crude abuse that masks misery for millions of people who are unemployed."

Every unemployed worker is at present costing the country pounds 10,000 a year, according to the Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Their research shows that it would cost pounds 17billion to create one million new jobs. …

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