Rapid Responses

Cost of statistics

[Re: Time for MPs to summon statisticians over endless revisions, Friday]

There are two main reasons why GDP is now revised more than it used to be. Allister Heath is right that the initial estimate comes out too quickly. But this is at the insistence of ministers, not statisticians. Secondly, ministers now require the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to reduce the burden of form-filling on companies. If firms don’t tell the ONS what is going on in the economy, how can the statisticians know? The cost of producing government statistics has significantly decreased over the last 30 years. But this is a false economy if it leads to less reliable macroeconomic data.

Michael Baxter, former head of methodology at the Central Statistics Office, 1989-1993


Labour distortion

[Re: Ed Miliband needs to stop distorting statistics, Monday]

We should remember that Labour only introduced the 50p rate of income tax one month before it left office. For 13 years, it wasn’t deemed to be necessary, and even in 2010 it was also specifically designed to be a temporary measure.

Phil Taylor

Ed Miliband continues to repeat the lie that “millionaires” will each receive a cheque for £40,000 due to the cut in the top rate. I don’t expect to receive that money, because my wealth is in property – not income. In fact, I expect to pay more tax, if the proposed mansion tax comes into force.

Erica Roberts



Ed Miliband wants One Nation, like Benjamin Disraeli. But I won’t believe him until he drops all the class warfare rhetoric.

Income tax for top earners is still higher under the coalition than it was for 13 years of Labour government.

Ed Miliband may have talked about the problems Britain faces. But what about the problems Labour created?

Ed Miliband is just like me. In South Wales, we often have Marxist intelligentsia round for tea in our £1m house.