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Complainant Name:
Mr Jonathan Portes

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Evening Standard


Mr Jonathan Portes complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published an inaccurate claim in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code. The complainant said that the article incorrectly said: "under the last government, most new jobs went to EU workers". The net increase in UK employment between May 1997 and May 2010 was over two million; the net increase in the employment of EU workers was about 700,000.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the amendment of the online article to make clear that, under the last parliament of the last government, the total number of EU workers in the UK jobs market rose more quickly than it has done in the four years since then, and that employment levels among UK citizens had fallen between 2005 and 2010. It published the following footnote to the article:

Clarification: The third paragraph of this item has been amended. It originally referred to the "last government", in reference to the Labour ministry of 2005-2010: that phrase might have been taken to mean the entire period of Labour's government from 1997 so has been changed to "the last parliament of the previous government".

In addition, while the number of UK citizens in work at the time of the 2010 general election was around three quarters of a million lower (25.055m) than at the time of the 2005 election; and while the number of EU citizens employed in Britain rose by about half a million (to 1.353m) between the same two dates; it is not the case that "most new jobs" during that period went to EU workers, as we originally stated.

This is because during the period in question (just as with any given period) people were hired and fired in their thousands every week, even every day. The natural churn of the jobs market make the net rises and falls pale by comparison. Of the millions of ‘new hires' between 2005 and 2010, most (up to around 85%, according to Labour Force Survey microdata) were of British citizens. In light of this, we have amended the last sentence so that it better reflects the situation.

The newspaper published the following correction in the print edition of the newspaper:

An item of May 27 (‘London and the rest of England - two states') referred to "most new jobs" having gone to EU workers between May 2005 and May 2010. In fact, of the millions of jobs taken up during that period, the majority went to British citizens. However, it is also the case that between the two dates the overall rise in the number of EU citizens in work in the UK was around half a million; the number of Britons in employment fell overall by three-quarters of a million. We are happy to clarify matters.

Date Published: 10/07/2014

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