We’re Surprised, Right, Polly Toynbee And Numbers


Polly Toynbee wants to tell us all that the bastard Tories have been conspiring against the poor. Some of us might cheer at that point, for what’s the aim of voting for bastard Tories if it’s not to screw the poor?

A more reasonable approach would be to point out that Polly just doesn’t grasp matters economic. The reason the newspapers don’t point this out being that it’s not news. The specific:

Or, another view:

The specific that Polly is complaining about:

Some cuts were secretive, uprating benefits by a meaner CPI not RPI inflation rate

Well, yes, RPI and CPI do differ. And it’s generally concluded that CPI is more accurate. Which is why the EU states that everyone should use CPI.

But rather more than that, as we can see from the charts, RPI distinctly understated inflation, compared to the CPI, during the recession. OK, the last one. That is, benefits rose more by being connected to CPI than if they had been to RPI. And did we hear Polly crowing victory over that back then? Did we ‘eck.

And it’s also a reasonable assumption that the same will be true this time around. That connection to CPI is going to upgrade benefits rather more than the RPI would.

Or, in what is not news, Polly Toynbee doesn’t grasp the finer points of economics.

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I think there is a far better argument Polly should be using – that the inflation measure seriously understated inflation for the poor because their basket of goods is differently weighted. If food and energy rise at say 3% but TVs, new cars and iPhones fall, the inflation measure is well below 3%, but fir the poor it’s not far off 3%. I’m no Leftie but I think those on fixed incomes from the state which rise with inflation over the last 10-20 years have suffered unfairly. A fairer measure would look at the basket of goods and services the… Read more »


Agree. If one wants to make the argument it is simple to say, for instance, that the pensioner doesn’t really gain when the price of a 65″‘ TV is now the same as a 35″ ten years prior.