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George Osborne’s ‘phoney stats’ on women’s jobs attacked

TUC leader Frances O’Grady lodges official complaint over employment figures

Chancellor George Osborne faced a fresh “phoney stats” storm yesterday, days after a Treasury release on welfare spending was exposed as crude electioneering.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady lodged an official complaint with UK Statistics Authority chairman Andrew Dilnot alleging that the Tory minister broke its code of conduct by publishing flawed “Conservative propaganda” on departmental headed paper.

Ms O’Grady branded the October 23 release “a clear breach of the rules that protect the public from political spin disguised as official figures.”

The latest uproar relates to “HM Treasury analysis” claiming that employment among women has risen in “each of the four main sectors of the economy” under Mr Osborne’s watch.

The October 23 release coincided with Mr Osborne’s tour of several workplaces to promote the coalition’s record.

On the same day an announcement on the government website suggested that “nearly 80 per cent of the increase” under the Tories was in highly skilled occupations, contrasting with Labour’s record in government, when “female employment growth was concentrated in the service sector.”

But the figures behind the claims have now been exposed as seriously flawed.

No data was provided publicly to back up the claims — but a dossier handed to journalists showed how official figures had been crudely manipulated to produce a bar chart suggesting that the lion’s share of new jobs for women were in agriculture and mining.

Out of the four main sectors — also including manufacturing and construction — services was listed last when in fact it accounted for four out of five of all new jobs created under the Tories.

To ensure a positive spin, the Chancellor’s department also used the unreliable Labour Force Survey to generate a “14 per cent rise” in manufacturing jobs for women.

The Office for National Statistics’ favoured Workforce Jobs dataset would have revealed a drop, the TUC said.

“The Chancellor used the wrong statistics, presented them badly and made a case that doesn’t survive scrutiny,” accused Ms O’Grady.

“After the Treasury’s smoke and mirrors job on welfare spending, a worrying pattern is emerging of taxpayers footing the bill for Conservative propaganda.”

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