Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nick Clegg speech out by £33 Billion !!

Just looking through Nick Clegg's speech offering ( not very good ).

Young Nick thinks that government spending of £600 billion equates to hourly spending of £18,000/ sec.

Clearly young Nick can't operate a calculator as the real figure is £19,013 / sec - assume 365.25 days per year ( its just maths Nick).

That add ups to more than £33billion per year of a mistake.

No wonder he's had problems adding up where his £20 billion tax diversion cuts are coming from.

Given his criticism of Conservative party policy documentation you'd think he'd at least check his figures would you ?

Still when your spending other peoples money who cares ? Not the Lib Dems.


Anonymous said...

You maths make sense, but only if you assume three things:

1. That the calculation was produced using 365.25 days in the year. Since the particular year we are talking about has 366 days in it, it would be more professional to not average the spending out over 4 years as you have done, and instead use 366 days.

2. That the Government is spending EXACTLY £600 billion. It is very likely that they have rounded this figure up from £5xx billion.

3. That the exact calculation equates to EXACTLY £18,000. With rounding, the figure could be at most £18,500 in the LDs opinion.

With these three assumptions, I have no idea if it's not YOU that is out by £33 billion (or some amount). The LDs may well have got their maths spot on. Or maybe they haven't. But your "back of the envelope calculation" is nowhere near enough to show this. The error margins are huge.

Man in a Shed said...

Sorry anon this is a bit weak.

1) 365.25 is the average number of day in a year. But the difference between 366 and 365.25 is 0.75/365.25 = 0.2 % - Nicks figures are out by over 5% ( ie twenty time more ).

2) Of course not - but my point is having mentioned £600million you then have to arrive at the right figure per second. Its no good going on about Whitehall wasting money ( say £20billion) when you can lose £33billion just in a sentence.

3) Borrow a calculator an do the maths yourself.

I work in the Engineering industry and it would be my hide if I put out a report with those sort of errors in it.

Nick falls down because he just hasn't done the detailed work - which suggested his claim of £20 billion from Whitehall is a figure just plucked from the sky.

It also suggest he's unfit for government and doesn't have a grasp on his own policies.

Anonymous said...

Well you don't know that there are errors in it. It is fairly obvious that both £600 billion and £18,000 are both rounded numbers. The question is from what?

To do the calculation correctly, you need to know what number exactly the Government is spending. Once that is known, then you have to take 366 days (it might only be 0.2%, but it matters to get your £33 billion figure right). You also have to come up with the right per sec figure from the original yearly spending as you say, but then you can round it at the end (especially since it was a speech). So for instance, if Government spending is £18,400 per sec, then that equates to £581,852,160,000 apparently. This does round to £600 billion, so it is possible that Nick has got his figures right. From the information we have, we can't be sure that he was right or wrong. It is possible that he was right, and it is possible he was wrong. We just don't know. Of course, a bit of stats could work out how likely he is to be right or wrong, and how likely he is to be out by £33 billion, but I really really cba to do that.

Man in a Shed said...

Anon - I think the question you need to ask yourself is why you are trying to justify something is that in a basic school boy level mistake.

I suspect its because of the doubt it spreads on what Mr Clegg was saying.

Arithmetic is much less susceptible to spin and ambiguity than say "Winning here" bar charts.