Dear Prime Minister,
Yesterday, in response to me at Prime Minister’s Questions, you said that “since the election there are 500,000 more jobs in the private sector. There are more people—300,000 more people—in work than there were a year ago” (Hansard, 14 September 2011, column 1028).
This answer is inaccurate. Between June 2010 and June 2011 the Office of National Statistics has confirmed that private sector employment increased by only 264,000 and that net employment increased by just 24,000. The only way it is possible to claim 500,000 extra private sector jobs is by including jobs created between 1 April and 30 June 2010 – but of course this includes time when Labour was still in office, which is not “since the election” at all.
You also said, after I correctly pointed out that the UK has grown more slowly in the last year than any other EU country apart from Portugal and Romania, that “this year, Britain is growing faster than America” (Hansard, 14 September 2011, column 1029). In fact, the UK has grown by 0.7 per cent over the last year to the end of Q2 2011, the latest period for which figures are available, while the USA grew by 2.6 per cent over the same period.
Everyone in public life has a responsibility to ensure we rebuild and maintain trust in politics and politicians. Ensuring accuracy in our answers in the House of Commons is central to that, a responsibility underlined in the Ministerial Code.
Furthermore, the British people will want to be assured that the decisions you take, which have such profound consequences for families and young people, are being based on properly researched data and empirical evidence.
As such, I trust you will return to the House and correct the record at the earliest opportunity.
Ed Miliband MP