Channel 4 FactCheck goes behind the spin to dig out the truth and separate political fact from fiction.

September 30, 2014 6 Comments By Patrick Worrall

“One in 15 working-age benefit claimants suffers from addiction to opiates, such as crack cocaine and heroin. An estimated one in 25 working-age benefit claimants suffers alcohol dependency.”
Evening Standard, 29 September 2014

The background

Iain Duncan Smith announced this week that benefits claimants will get their money loaded onto pre-paid cards so they aren’t tempted to squander the cash on drugs, alcohol and gambling.

A reader saw the above claim in the Standard – attributed to Mr Duncan Smith’s “aides” – but it was repeated pretty much verbatim on many other news sites.

Crack cocaine is not an opiate, for a start, so something has got garbled somewhere. What about the numbers?

30 fc heroin r FactCheck: how many benefits claimants are addicts?

The analysis

The sources here are two pieces of research carried out by the DWP based on data from 2008 (in the case of alcohol) and 2006 (drugs). The researchers set out to estimate how many people claiming working-age benefits in England had drink and drug problems.

The paper on alcohol misuse looks at people who scored more than 20 on AUDIT – a commonly used questionnaire used to identify a possible drinking problem. You can do the survey yourself here. FactCheck’s score is going to remain confidential.

(more…)

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September 29, 2014 4 Comments By Patrick Worrall

Britain’s economy is a world-beating powerhouse, according to the chancellor. Are we really outpacing every major advanced economy on the planet?

Category: Conservatives, Economy, Ed Balls, FactCheck, George Osborne, Labour
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September 26, 2014 2 Comments By Patrick Worrall

British pilots could be in action over Iraq again soon. Is the legal case for military action stronger than the last time around?

Category: Defence
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September 19, 2014 4 Comments By Patrick Worrall

So Scotland is to stay part of the UK, Gordon Brown is at the centre of a new deal and Alex Salmond has resigned as Scotland’s first minister. What actually happens next?

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September 17, 2014 No Comments By Patrick Worrall

A rash of news stories in recent weeks suggest panicked investors are pulling their money out of Scotland.

Category: Economy, FactCheck
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September 16, 2014 3 Comments By Patrick Worrall

The Scottish government says it’s protected Scotland’s NHS from Tory cuts. FactCheck gives the yes campaign’s claims a check-up.

Category: David Cameron, Ed Balls, Ed Miliband, Fact, FactCheck, Fiction, George Osborne, Housing, NHS
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Are you voting in Scotland on Thursday? Then read this – 10 things you need to know about the referendum vote (but may have been scared to ask).

Category: FactCheck, Scotland
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September 10, 2014 11 Comments By Patrick Worrall

The no campaign has been at great pains to say that a vote to break up the United Kingdom would be irreversible. Is that actually true?

Category: Scotland
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September 4, 2014 21 Comments By Patrick Worrall

Health is one of the key battlegrounds as the independence referendum looks. Will the Scottish NHS be better off in or out of the UK?

Category: FactCheck, Scotland
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September 1, 2014 18 Comments By Patrick Worrall

Doctors treating Ashya King have defended their decision not to send the five-year-old for proton beam therapy.

Category: FactCheck, Health, NHS
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