Jeremy Corbyn is in Wakefield to deliver his first major speech on Brexit of 2019.
But he’s made some misleading claims along the way.
“Crime is up”
Regular FactCheck readers will remember that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says “police recorded crime figures do not provide a reliable measure of trends in crime”.
Why? Because we know that the police constantly change and improve their recording methods. These figures often show an increase in recorded crime when actually it’s about the police getting better at record-keeping.
A more reliable measure of the “true” level of crime (in England and Wales at least) is the ONS National Crime Survey. The Survey – conducted annually by the ONS – interviews a representative sample 50,000 people to ask if they’ve experienced crime in the last 12 months.
Joe Traynor of the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice said of the latest Survey: “Over recent decades, we’ve seen continued falls in overall levels of crime but in the last year the trend has been more stable.
“The latest figures show no change in the total level of crime but variation by crime types. We saw rises in some types of theft and in some lower-volume but higher-harm types of violence, balanced by a fall in the high-volume offence of computer misuse.
“There was no change in other high-volume offences such as overall violence, criminal damage and fraud.”
In other words, some types of crime have risen, but the overall trend is that crime has been falling for decades and, in the last year, remained stable. Mr Corbyn did not specify any particular types of offence when he claimed today that “crime is up”, so we have to assume he means crime overall.
We asked Labour for the source of Mr Corbyn’s claim. They directed us to the ONS – despite the fact that ONS figures contradict Mr Corbyn’s assertion.
The government has “no answers or legislation” on “the cost of living, housing, personal debt, escalating inequality, rising crime or collapsing public services”
In a scathing attack on the Conservatives, Mr Corbyn said today: “they have no answers or legislation to fix the many crises of their own making whether it’s the cost of living, housing, personal debt, escalating inequality, rising crime or collapsing public services.”
Hearing those words, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the government has not made any policy or passed any laws on these topics of vital importance.
But that’s not the case.
The 2018 Budget contained measures to designed reduce the cost of living: an increase in the National Living Wage, and a further freeze to fuel duty “for the ninth successive year [saving] the average driver a cumulative £1,000 by 2020”.
In October, the government announced four sets of housing measures, including planning reforms to “deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s”.
And on the issue of personal debt, the Treasury published a consultation in 2018 on a “breathing space” scheme to “give people in problem debt the opportunity to take control of their finances and put them on a sustainable footing”.
Mr Corbyn may not agree with these measures, may think they’re ineffective, or may think they don’t go far enough to reverse the effects of austerity. We often cast a critical eye over government announcements in these areas ourselves (including on the NHS, police pay, and housing).
But we think it’s misleading for Mr Corbyn claim the government has “no answers or legislation” in these areas.