Health, statistics and Labour lies

Lies, damned lies, and statistics, and then Labour statistics! It's fine to highlight data that support your case, but on the NHS and the wider economy Labour is so desperate that they're just making the figures up as they go along. You can't trust Labour on the economy or the NHS

The lies of Ed
Sir John Redwood MP
On 8 January 2015 09:13

Labour hit a new low in its presentation of figures in its dossier on the NHS. It is common and acceptable for parties to highlight accurate figures that most serve their case, but not acceptable to get figures deliberately wrong.

The Conservatives have already highlighted Labour’s  mistake over numbers of medical staff. The numbers have gone up since 2010, whereas Labour said they had gone down.

Worse still is Labour’s continuing abuse of the percentage of national income figures supplied in the Red Book for total state spending in 2020. This is forecast at 35 percent, after five more years of modest cash increases in total state spending and the economy growing faster than the public sector.

In their health brief, Labour argue that the Conservatives wish to cut state spending “to levels in countries where up to half their health service is privately funded. ”They cite Mexico and Korea as two such examples. They then argue that this proves the Conservatives must have plans to privatise parts of the NHS and by implication people will have to pay for their health care.

The figures are wrong. They later have a table showing that Mexico has state spending at 27 percent of GDP, not 35 percent, and Korea at 20.6 percent. It is clearly not the government or Conservative plan to get UK state spending down to Korean or Mexican levels, not even as a percentage of their respective economies, let alone in real terms, as the published figures show.

The Conservatives plan a much larger state sector than Korea or Mexico. They also ignore the fact that the UK is a lot richer than these two countries, so 35 percent of our GDP is worth more than 35 percent of their GDP.

UK GDP per head of nearly $40,000 is 50 percent above South Korea and 3.6 times Mexico’s. So even if these two countries were at 35 percent of state spending to GDP, they would be able to afford a lot less healthcare.

The whole lie that Conservatives want to take state spending back to 1930s levels is bizarre. The UK is a much richer country than it was in the 1930s, so 35 percent of our national income now will buy us a lot more state service than it bought us then.

I was interested to see that Labour’s press release said at the bottom, “Designed and built by Bluestate Digital. Hosted by Tumblr, 35 E 21st Street, 10th Floor, New York City, 10010 USA”. Such is Labour’s confidence in our country and contribution to our economic success.

Mr. Redwood's writing is re-posted here by his kind permission. This and other articles are available at

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