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02nd Feb 2022

Four false claims made by Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions

Ava Evans

Why tell the truth when a lie will make you look so much better?

Boris Johnson has once again made a series of debatable claims during Wednesday’s session of Prime Minister’s Questions.

The Prime Minister reeled off the following claims during his weekly exchange with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Here’s the truth of it.

1) There are more people in work now than before the pandemic

Johnson would be correct if he had claimed there are more people on the payroll than before the pandemic, but the number of workers on employer payrolls doesn’t include everyone in work, notably the self-employed.

The most recent ONS figures from September-November 2021 reveal there were 32.5 million workers, including the self-employed – that’s around 598,000 below its pre-pandemic level.

2) There are more staff working in the NHS than in 2020

Johnson said there were 45,000 more people working in the NHS than in 2020.

He was referring to the latest figures published by NHS England that show there were 1,205,362 full-time staff in September 2021 – 44,168 more than in September 2020.

However, in January 2020, before the pandemic, there was 1,278,988 full-time staff working in the NHS – that means there has been a 73,626 reduction in staff.

3) ‘We have the fastest-growing economy in the G7’

If you look at the change over the most recent 12 months of data, this is true. But looking at growth over the last quarter of data (Q2 to Q3 2021), the UK is fifth.

Data from Q4 is not currently available.

Johnson also failed to mention that the UK had the largest contraction in the first quarter of 2020, so he’s effectively boasting about catching up.

4) ‘Youth unemployment is at a record low’

The most recent data for youth unemployment (aged 18-24) stands at 9.8%. In August 2018, it was 9.6%.

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