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‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’


3:38 pm - November 1st 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Daily Telegraph’s chief political commentator Peter Oborne has today spoken out against George Osborne’s misleading statements to the House of Commons about the extent of benefit fraud.

Last week we pointed out that even the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) admitted that Chancellor George Osborne’s claim “£5 billion” was lost to fraud was untrue.

The real figure was estimated to be around £1 billion.

Oborne weighs in on his blog, pointing out that many Church leaders issued a statement last week condemning Osborne’s exaggeration.

I believe that the churches are onto something important here. There was an unnecessarily snide tone to Osborne’s spending review. George Osborne failed to emphasise the powerful Christian vision of moral redemption and the value of work which lies at the heart of David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith’s Big Society. Indeed his false figures on benefit fraud helped to build up the impression that the poor are mean-minded and cheating.

And of course there are benefit cheats, and they do need to be dealt with. But there are also many people who do their best to raise a family and make ends meet in incredibly difficult circumstances. That is why it is important that Osborne will do the right thing and issue a correction concerning his false figures about the scale of benefit fraud in Britain today.

The fact-checking website Full-Fact.org have taken up the issue too and asked the Treasury for a response.

Labour MPs should take up the call for George Osborne to apologise for misleading the House of Commons.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


[deleted for libellous reference]

2. Luis Enrique

yes, this is disgraceful.

we can’t have people bandying around figures like £5bn when the true figure is more like £1bn.

yes, this is disgraceful.

we can’t have people bandying around figures like £5bn when the true figure is more like £1bn.

Perhaps it would be better if we phrased it such as:
£5 000 000 000.00
versus
£1 000 000 000.00

Help people to see the order of magnitude of Osborne’s fudge.

Cylux,

Luis was referring to the Vodafone thread, where it is pointed out similiar fudges of figures have been made, which Sunny (presumably unwittingly) has repeated.

5. Luis Enrique

n.b. it is genuinely disgraceful that Osborne should lie – and lie big – about this. Although the numerical magnitude of the lie might be as large as saying Vodafone owe £6bn, the moral magnitude is far greater imho.

Getting Forrest Gimp to actually apologise would be a major acheivement since he’s quite content to use different figures every time he opens his mouth, I think he just plucks at whichever set float through his tiny mind at any one time. If anything happens, it’ll just be a tiny written correction issued by the Treasury. Might be nice is he and his family stopped trying to dodge inhertance tax as well

@4
Fair enough, I missed that one. It’s just a pet peeve of mine that say 5m and 5bn can occasionally be used next to one another in conversation, and then lose the sense of scale that they should have, it makes them look an equivalent value, in much the same way that 1bn does not look significantly less than 5bn, when it really is. So I’m somewhat hyper-sensitive to the issue.

@7,

No problems – I tend to agree with you on the problem of blinding people with big numbers.

My prefered solution would be to make sure to mention that £5 billion is five times as big as £1 billion whenever you discuss it – make it clear the scale of difference.

The size of the Vodafone tax fudge can be debated endlessly, since no one has access to the information to make a judgement…not even the HMRC.

On the other hand, the DWP itself contradicted Osborne’s deliberate lie.

10. Shatterface

You are better off comparing it with tax avoidance/dodging/fraud. 1bn and 5bn are the same order of magnitude: 150bn is of an entirely different order.

11. bill clinton

So Osborne tells little white lies? A dishonest Politician….how unusual


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  2. Lisa R Saunders

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  3. Stephen Duffy

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  4. Hazico_Jo

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  5. Pucci Dellanno

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  6. Tudor Evans

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  7. Ben Braithwaite

    Now even the Torygraph is condemning Osbourne's benefit lies. http://bit.ly/b80zfG That's what they are. Flat-out lies. Liar in the cabinet.

  8. ally

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  9. Union

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  10. MD-G

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  11. HelenBLaRouge

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  12. StarSparkle

    Very interesting RT @libcon Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  13. StarSparkle

    Very interesting RT @libcon Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  14. sunny hundal

    Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  15. sunny hundal

    Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  16. Jim Melly

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  17. Jim Melly

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  18. Boycott35

    RT @sunny_hundal Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG #Boycott35

  19. Emma Burnell

    ‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ahRKPHa via @libcon

  20. Emma Burnell

    ‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ahRKPHa via @libcon

  21. Andy Bean

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  22. Andy Bean

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  23. Elly M

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  24. Paul Burgin

    RT @Scarletstand: ‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ahRKPHa via @libcon

  25. Pontus Westerberg

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  26. PJ Crittenden

    RT @pontusw: RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  27. jimthehedgehog

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  28. Broken OfBritain

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  29. Martin Togher

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  30. Jonathan Davis

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  31. Debi

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  32. Ben Folley

    RT @LibCon Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  33. Sarah Stanbridge

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  34. Robster

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  35. Leon Baruah

    RT @benfolley: RT @LibCon Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  36. Angela Pateman

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  37. Pete Brown

    Via @sunny_hundal – now even Tory hacks calling out Osborne as a liar fomenting hatred of the poor for political ends http://bit.ly/b80zfG”

  38. Press Not Sorry

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  39. Tudor Evans

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  40. diana smith

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  41. Pen

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  42. Rezina

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  43. Tom Burke

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  44. Wendy Maddox

    RT @libcon: Even Telegraph says Osborne should correct his false claim about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  45. Wendy Maddox

    ‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/HuN0nhA via @libcon

  46. Wendy Maddox

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  47. Nicholas Stewart

    ‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’ http://j.mp/bF4YVL – nice one, Peter Oborne

  48. Miriam Said

    RT @sunny_hundal: Extraordinary Peter Oborne post today asks Chancellor to admit he lied about benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG

  49. Darren Johnson

    Well done Telegraph, pointing out that benefit fraud is £1bn not £5bn claimed – but will they back Vodaphone campaign? http://bit.ly/b22gmx

  50. Michael Hanley

    RT @DarrenJohnsonAM: Well done Telegraph, pointing out that benefit fraud is £1bn not £5bn claimed – but will they back Vodaphone campaign? http://bit.ly/b22gmx

  51. jennifer roberts

    ‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ZXzPQkl via @libcon Preferably soon in Parliament

  52. Liam Barrington-Bush

    @peterherd PS – looks like the benefit cheat numbers are even lower than I'd quoted: http://bit.ly/8YVRd3

  53. Jill Goble

    ‘Osborne should own up on benefit fraud’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/5nooqYw via @libcon

  54. sunny hundal

    Even Telegraph's Peter Oborne earlier said George Osborne should apologise for misleading MPs on level of benefit fraud http://bit.ly/b80zfG





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