Over the next four months we’ll be subjected to increasingly inflated claims of achievements in the past and promises for the future as politicians scramble desperately to avoid the real issues. Well up the league table of bizarre claims must be this one made by David Cameron when visiting North Cornwall at the beginning of the month. He was supporting coalition candidate Scott Mann in his fight against coalition MP Dan Rogerson. Which is bizarre enough but let’s pass over that for the moment.
Cameron proudly pontificated that ‘across Cornwall there are 132,000 more people in work than when I became Prime Minster and unemployment is down by 27,000‘.
It would be interesting to know where he got his figures from. As they turn out to be completely fabricated. According to the ONS annual employment survey, in 2014 there were around 260,000 in work in Cornwall (that includes the self-employed). Therefore, are we seriously being asked to believe that this figure has doubled in less than five years?
In fact, according to the same data series, the number in employment in 2009 was 234,000. So the actual rise has been 26,000, well below the 132,000 claimed by David Cameron.
Moreover, the number of unemployed in Cornwall (ONS annual population survey) is estimated to have been 14,700 at the end of last year. So was it 41,700 in early 2010 as David Cameron would have us believe? Not quite. The ONS report it was 15,400. This means the numbers of unemployed in Cornwall have fallen by just 700 rather than the 27,000 claimed by the PM.
All of which nonsense begs two questions.
a) Why was he able to get away from such an outrageous claim? Do local journalists really have no clue about the size of the local economy?
b) Whatever was he on at the time? Has he been eating too many pasties for his own good?