Lord Freud blunders again on housing benefit


5:30 pm - February 2nd 2011

by Don Paskini    


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Our old friend Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform, was recently caught out again using dodgy and inaccurate stats to justify the government’s savage benefit cuts. Channel 4 Fact Check has the story:

On January 11th, Lord Freud wrote to the South London Press, to point out, “It is also important we end the sensationalist myths about the local housing allowance reforms in 2011…In London around 750,000 private rental homes will still be affordable.”

Two weeks later, in the House of Lords, Lord Knight posed the following question:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the letter from Lord Freud deposited in the Library of the House (DEP2010-2327), what was the methodology used to calculate that 750,000 private rented sector homes will still be affordable in London after the housing benefit reforms have been implemented.

Lord Freud answered:

“I have written to the noble Lord to correct an error in this letter. There are fewer than 700,000 private rented sector homes in total in London, and a conservative estimate is that about 250,000 of these will still be affordable after the housing benefit reforms have been implemented.”

It may seem surprising that the government minister responsible for reforming housing benefit would claim in public that there are more affordable private rented sector homes than the entire number of privately rented homes in the whole of London.

But, to be fair to Lord Freud, he is no more clueless about housing policy than about benefit fraud, which he apologised for “inadvertently” misleading people about.

Or responsible for carrying out incapacity benefit tests, or the entire welfare system, which he “knew nothing about” when he wrote his report into welfare reform.

Or responsible when his then boss misled Parliament by quoting figures from the Office of National Statistics which actually come from a property website run by Associated Newspapers.

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Housing ,Local Government

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Reader comments


1. Cynical/Realist?

Depressing. I really do hate this fiddling with faluty figures. Everyone’s at it and everyone thinks its justified.

2. Arthur Seaton

I guess he made a bit of a Freudian slip! That’s me getting the irresistible shite joke out of the way so more worthy people can make serious comment. Move along, nothing to see……..

A Freudian Slip is inadvertent though.
I wonder how inadvertent this is.

4. Robert the cripple

For all that the biggest mistake of course was the person who brought him into Poilitics, one Tony Blair, who him self made a few errors on disablity, like it’s unfair for your GP to give you benefits which last a life time, knowing dam well it’s doctors from the DWP.

Freud will be back within Labour once the Tory boat springs a leak, and I suspect Eddie the Eagle Miliband will have open arms.

Has anyone considered that he (or a typist supplying him with a briefing) might have misread a handwritten “2” for a handwritten “7” with a continental crossbar?
His original comment would have made just as much sense with 250 as 750.
And if there are only 700,000 private sector rented homes in London, then some of the scare stories must be false, so with the correct data he could have debunked them.
I know this is called “Liberal Conspiracy” but there is an adage that “cock-up” is always a more plausible answer than conspiracy in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

6. Nathaniel Mathews

Inept, just inept. Master your brief man.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. Don Paskini

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  3. Lescromps

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  4. Kemi

    More #Condem 'ahem' mistakes… rt @libcon Lord Freud blunders again on housing benefit http://bit.ly/h4Igix

  5. William French

    Another Freudian slip from a noble peer (via @libcon) — what's half a million houses between friends? http://bit.ly/h4Igix

  6. Pauline Hammerton

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  7. Andy Hicks

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  8. Nick H.

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  10. Broken OfBritain

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  11. Tom Chance

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  13. Justin McKeating

    This Lord Freud fella is kind of a dick… http://bit.ly/hb7Wob

  14. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    Lord Freud blunders again on housing benefit | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Oedl7Io via @libcon

  15. Pucci Dellanno

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  16. TenPercent

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  17. Richard Bradley

    Lord Freud blunders again on housing benefit | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GTkO1i1 via @libcon

  18. margaret green

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  19. Rachel Hubbard

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  20. The Freud and Murdoch world domination plan… « Dear England

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  21. Adrian Thompson

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  22. Nathaniel Mathews

    oh dear poor #Lord Freud on #benefitcuts RT @libcon: Lord Freud blunders again on housing benefit http://t.co/Vm3AvO29





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