Fact checkers had to set the record straight
Oliver Dowden replaced Rishi Sunak today and will do so again next week, bringing further scrutiny to the PMQ’s appalling attendance record.
Facing Angela Rayner, Dowden launched her defenses of the Tory party’s record in the House, however her claims have come under scrutiny from multiple angles as incorrect and misleading.
Full Fact, the independent fact-checking campaign team, issued two corrections after today’s PMQs. Firstly, it was a claim by Dowden that NHS waiting lists are ‘going down’. While some waiting lists, such as those of patients waiting more than 18 months for treatment, have decreased, the total number of waiting cases in England is at a record level.
Rishi Sunak has also tried to make this claim along with other official government announcements, which is hard to swallow when official statistics put the number of cases for consultant-led treatment at 7.42 million at the end of April.
Awkwardly for them, this morning health minister Maria Caulfield said NHS waiting lists could grow further. Number 10 has since said that reducing long waiting times will take precedence over reducing the NHS waiting list.
Second, the fact checkers dwelled on another claim made by Dowden that the government had been ‘cutting taxes’ for domestic wage earners by doubling the personal allowance.
Citing a similar claim made by the deputy prime minister last month, where he said minimum wage earners had seen a £1,000 cut in their taxes, the campaign organization noted that on both occasions this was potentially misleading as Dowden did not leave in Clearly this was based on a counterfactual estimate.
Although minimum wage earners are paying less in tax this year than they would have since 2010 if the tax thresholds had increased in line with inflation, that doesn’t mean the amount they pay has actually decreased compared to 2010.
Labor MP Lisa Nandy also took to Twitter to fact check the deputy MP on two points. First was his claim that his government had built more social housing, which he referenced in an article citing official government data showing 161,577 social rental housing had been completed since 2010. Compared to 362,912 between 1997 and 2010 .
The deputy prime minister then said that record numbers of homes had been built under his rule.
Nandy referred to this year’s figures showing that planning enforcement in England had fallen to its lowest level for at least 16 years.
In addition, the Federation of Home Builders has predicted that home building levels in England will soon drop to their lowest level since World War II. So you’re not sure how he justifies that?
To top it off, the deputy prime minister was called on matters of order for a claim he made on 7he June, when he said Labor’s plan to invest £28bn in green energy would add £1,000 more to people’s mortgages. Dowden apparently made the claim a day after the Daily Mail reported this figure, but said it came from a treasury analysis.
However, the Treasury admitted that the figure did not come from its analysis and was forced to admit that it was not true. The statistics authority was unable to find any official source for the figure after investigation. Another lie then.
Hannah Davenport is a union reporter at Left Foot Forward
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