As reader are fully aware, Debbie Sayers and I presented our first petition to Parliament last year which helped get Iain Duncan Smith & Lord Freud called into the Work & Pensions Select to answer for their misuse of statistics.
At that time RosWynne Jones of the Mirror asked me if it had been worth the effort, I replied We’ll keep up the fight and keep campaigning. It doesn’t end here” and it hasn’t. Since then Debbie and I have worked tirelessly on collating the data that demonstrates our claim and of course we published our 2nd petition demanding the House of Commons accept the Selects three recommendations on delivery and use of statistics.
Since the publication on 15 May, there have been numerous accounts of Politicians continuing to spin statistics and deny the reality of Welfare Reform issues, I’ve personally written about Evidence behind growth in food banks, Rising ESA sanctions, the numbers dying every week as a result of being found fit for work after an assessment, the truth behind the Benefit Fraud Campaign, the extent of Poverty today in the UK, and how the Government attempts to catch people allegedly falsely claiming benefits, are using falsified data to justify it; and this in less than three weeks!
Curiously in about the same time as the above, our first petition had received 92,500 signatures; whilst our current one stands at just 1,478! We have been discussing the reasons for this and have come to a conclusion that generally people either haven’t connected our demands to the next step in our Campaign for the Truth and Statistics; it is viewed as unrealistic/untenable or, people have lost interest? We are fully aware that people feel overloaded with petitions, but we have demonstrated that they can work; if this petition is to succeed we must find a way to obtain 100,00+ signatures, which at the very least will be read out in Parliament and, I’m confident, will also receive media coverage
I put the question to you and ask for your feedback, How do we ensure the House of Commons accepts the below guaranteeing –
19. DWP exercise care in the language used in accompanying press releases and ministerial comments in the media. 2013 saw heightened and quite widespread concern—including from the UK Statistics Authority and organisations representing disabled people—about the DWP commentary accompanying releases of benefits statistics. (Paragraph 141)
20. The Government is doing a great deal to promote a positive image of disabled people, including in the principles behind its Disability Strategy and the Disability Confident campaign to help disabled people into employment. However, this positive action risks being undermined if the language used in DWP press releases and ministerial media comments accompanying releases of benefit statistics adopts a tone which feeds into negative preconceptions and prejudices about people on benefits, including disabled people. (Paragraph 142)
21. We agree with our colleagues on the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) that Government statistics should be presented in a way that is fair, accurate and “unspun” and that this is especially the case when they are being used to justify a particular policy or a particular allocation of resources. We reiterate our view that DWP should avoid feeding into negative public views about people who receive benefits, and that statistics should be used objectively to shed light on policy implementation, not to prop up established views and preconceptions. We recommend that, in response to this Report, DWP sets out the specific steps it has taken in response to the comments from PASC, the UK Statistics Authority, and this Committee, to ensure that statistics are released in a way which is accurate, and fair to benefit claimants. (Paragraph 143)
If Government won’t be held to scrutiny by the Select then We must scrutinise their actions. We need to know if you believe this is our campaign for the Truth and Statistics is worth fighting and ask for your suggestions??