A letter to the Times
Wednesday 7th December 2011

On the 28th of November the Times ran a graphic accompanying their front page story which claimed that Stratford-on-Avon had seen a 156% increase in benefit claimants since May 2010. This figure, and many of the others in the graphic was totally wrong. In actual fact we've seen the number of benefit claimants fall by 4.2% in that time.

My letter to the Editor (sent today) pointing this out is below.

Dear Sir

I am writing to correct a number of inaccuracies in the graphic which accompanied your piece "Welfare benefit appeals see costs soaring" in the 28th November edition of your publication.

In the graphic, Stratford-on-Avon is highlighted as having 33,790 benefit claimants, a claimed increase of 156.4% since May 2010. In reality Stratford-on-Avon has seen a fall in claimant numbers from 6,120 to 5,860, a 4.2% fall.

Nationally, and despite the tough economic situation we find ourselves in, benefit claimants fell by 0.66% in the first year of this government, with the largest increase in any Local authority area being just 4%, not the 181.7% claimed. In total 65% of Local Authorities have seen a reduction in the number of benefit claimants, a stark contrast to 13 years of Labour, which saw the number of workless households more than double.

Yours sincerely

Nadhim Zahawi
Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon


Update
The Times have printed an edited version of my letter today (), which sadly implies that the only innacuracy was in the Stratford figures.
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