Lies, Damned Lies, and Housing Statistics War of words between the Government and an opposition MP regarding the use of mortgage and housing stats.

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Housing Statistics

June 13, 2012 at 10:15 PM


Jack Dromey MP who is Shadow Housing Minister and MP for Birmingham Erdington has written to Andrew Dilnot CBE who is chair of the UK Statistics Authority to ask him to look into Housing Minister Grant Shapps use of statistics about the UK Housing market.

Mr Downey in his letter uses the phrase "consistent misrepresentation and misuse of statistics" rather than "liar, liar pants on fire" but I think we get his drift.

An article on the "" website focuses on the "war of words" between the two MP's. 



"Housing Minister Accused of Fiddling with Figures"

"A war of words has erupted between housing minister Grant Shapps and his shadow counterpart Jack Dromey, after the latter all but called Shapps a liar.

Dromey has written to the official statistics watchdog calling for an urgent investigation into Shapps’ “consistent misrepresentation and misuse of statistics’ in relation to housing.

In his letter to the UK Statistics Authority, Dromey said: “I am deeply concerned that this casual attitude to accuracy is not only confusing the public but is obstructing genuine public debate.”

But Shapps described the attack as an ‘incomprehensible rant’ and said that the Labour government had done “more to destroy our nation’s homes since the Luftwaffe bombs of World War II”.

In his letter to UK Statistics Authority chairman Andrew Dilnot, Dromey listed six ‘serious misrepresentations of fact’ by Shapps.

One relates to claims by Shapps about the amount of housing lost while New Labour was in power: Shapps variously claimed a loss of 45,000 and 200,000, according to Hansard. Dromey says in his letter: “Aside from the fact that we patently could not have ended up with both 45,000 and 200,000 fewer homes, Government statistics show that we had an additional two million homes in England by May 2010 compared with May 1997.”

Dromey also accuses Shapps of falsely stating that it costs only £150,000 to build your own home, including the land. Other complaints relate to Shapps’ statistics on house building starts, affordable statistics, homeless people, and his use of certain timeframes.

The letter is the second time Labour has tried to get the UK Statistics Authority to scrutinise Shapps’ use of figures. Former housing minister Nick Raynsford wrote to Dilnot’s predecessor, Sir Michael Scholar, making similar points."

The full article can be read here. Also if you want to read the actual letter than Jack Dromey sent then you can read it here.

So another row back and forth between opposition MP's is nothing new, but when it comes to the housing and mortgage market we do need accurate information so we can discuss the situation based on the true figures.

With the UK mortgage market at such a low point with First time buyers often unable to get on the  housing ladder as mortgage lenders are requesting higher and higher deposits and whiter and whiter credit histories, it really is important that we have a proper debate on housing.

Tags: Housing News
Category: First Time Buyers

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