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Lies, damned lies and (housing) statistics

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24dash - The UK's most up-to-date social housing and public sector news website

Lies, damned lies and (housing) statistics

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Published by Jon Land for 24housing in Housing and also in Central Government

Brown to unveil plans to clean up Parliament in wake of expenses scandal Brown to unveil plans to clean up Parliament in wake of expenses scandal

Channel 4 has entered the impenetrable world of social housing statistics with its FactCheck team looking at claims made by the prime minister at the last PMQs.

David Cameron said on Wednesday that "we’ve already delivered over 100,000 affordable homes" and that "housing starts are 89% higher than the trough [Labour] left us in in 2009."

For his part, Andrew Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, claimed that "new starts in affordable homes have fallen by a third since 2010".

Channel 4 said the prime minister was half right and half very mischievously wrong.

"We’ve already picked him up on it, and there’s reason to do it again," it said. FactCheck explained that Cameron had not included the full quote from a CLG report in November: "Seasonally adjusted starts are now 89% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 but 34% below the March quarter 2007 peak. Completions are 40% below their March quarter 2007 peak."

As for Mr Slaughter, "he based his claim on affordable housing starts and completions funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority. In the financial year 2009-10, there were 53,917 affordable home starts; 55,909 in 2010/11; 51,721 in 2011/12, and then a drop to 36,206 by 2012-13."

But FactCheck says Cameron’s claim of 100,000 affordable homes is also correct. However, "what the figure masks is the fact that the number of affordable houses being delivered per year is at its lowest level since 2005 … The number has declined by 29%, from 60,480 in 2010-11, to 42,830 in 2012-13."

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