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Bad stats

November 11, 2010

I’ve blogged earlier about the problems that hysterical reporting of the Spending Review is causing for councils. The trade press has taken a far more measured tone. This, however, is a bit disappointing. The usually excellent MJ reports that “almost three-quarters of councils are planning to hike up service fees“. But the polling in fact said that that only “30 per cent of respondents believed income from services would ‘increase a great deal’ over the next three years”. So where does the three-quarters figure come from? By adding on the 42% who said that “they expected income from fees to ‘increase a little’”. You’d have to say that this is a little bit of a stretch.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. South Bank permalink
    November 11, 2010 4:46 pm

    Hmm, who exactly is being hysterical here – the magazine that spent the time and effort to obtain the information and sift through it before publsihing accutrate information on it, or the quick-posting blogger?

    Given that a perfectly reasonable definition of ‘hike’ is simply an ‘increase, often [but not exclusively] sharply’, I’d argue The MJ could just about get away with its description.

    You are missing the point of the piece, ever so slightly. Which is that 30% of councils report they expect significant increases in fees and charges and, you’re right on this point, another 42% report expected rises. So that is almost three quarters of councils reporting expected increases trhough this poll. The MJ may say a ‘hike’, you might say something else, but it looks like increases all round across almost three-quarters of councils.

    I’m not sure that’s too hysterical (relative to something you might read in other parts of the national press).

  2. South Bank permalink
    November 11, 2010 5:02 pm

    Apologies, my initial post should also have pointed out that the counter-charge of ‘hysteria’ centres on your use of the headline ‘Bad Stats’.

    The point is that The MJ’s ‘stats’ are accurate. You might take issue with the use of the term ‘hike’ – but the ‘stats’ are most certainly not ‘bad’.

    Hysteria, anyone?!

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