Dear Sir Robert,
Misleading Government Social Media Content
I am writing to raise concerns over statistics used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer regarding the state of the public finances which I believe to be inaccurate and misleading.
Recently, the Chancellor has made misleading claims on public debt figures through his Twitter account.
On 25 April Mr Hunt said that headline debt levels are reducing by £53.7 billion by 2027/28.
However, Table A.9 of the OBR Economic and fiscal outlook published in March 2023 forecasts that public debt will rise between now and 2027/28.
And between the last two years of the forecast, 2026/27 and 2027/28, the national debt will rise by £90bn.
When clarification was sought by media outlets, it was suggested that the £53.7 billion figure refers to the change in the OBR’s projection for headline debt in 2027/28 relative to the OBR’s projection in the November 2022 Autumn Statement for that year – so the figure represents the gap between the two projections. This is not an accurate reflection of debt levels being reduced over time as claimed.
I am concerned that Government Ministers are using misleading statistics publicly regarding the economy, and believe it is critical that figures used are accurate.
I would welcome your view on the Government’s claim that headline debt levels are falling in cash terms.
I would be grateful for your verification of these figures, and your advice on the Government, and its Minsters’, continued use of them.
I look forward to your response.
With kind regards,
Dame Angela Eagle MP