Child Poverty Action Group twisting government data

I have written before about how the Left misuse poverty data and child poverty data.

Today I came across someone, who should know better, who was stretching the truth so far I have to call her a liar.  She must know what she is doing.

Lizzie Flew is a/the Senior Communications and Campaigns Officer at the Child Poverty Action Group – a well established vehicle for the Left.  In this blog titled The new face of child poverty she comments on the latest data from the Department of Work and Pensions, the benchmark Households Below Average Income dataset.

So keen is she to spout the latest Corbynite line-to-take she totally fluffs it and comes out with a huge whopping lie.  She says:

Child poverty remains at 4.1 million according to the main measure we focus on (children whose families live below 60% of the median income) – not something to celebrate given this is still half a million more than 2010, but at least it hasn’t risen.

This is garbage.

According to table 4b of the HBAI data there were 3.9 milion children in relative poverty after housing costs in 2009/2010.

In the latest data (for 2017/2018) that number stands at 4.1 million.  A rise of 200,000 not 500,000.  To get to 500,000 you have to go a year into the Coalition government and use the 2010/2011 data point.  Why did RELATIVE child poverty go down by 300,000 in the first year of the Coalition government?  Because relative poverty measures go down when wages are depressed by financial crises. The crisis reduced RELATIVE child poverty by making many working people poorer.

Meanwhile from 2009/2010 to 2017/2018 the child population has climbed from 13.2 to 13.8 million.  If 30% of children are in relative child poverty then the rise can be accounted for almost entirely by the 180,000 rise in the relevant population.  In other words relative child poverty is unchanged.

In fact if you go to table 4a of the HBAI data you will find that child poverty was 30% in 2009/2010 and was 30% in the latest year for which data is available (2017/2018).

Relative child poverty peaked at 31% under late New Labour 2006/2008.  In the last 8 years of New Labour the average child poverty rate was 29.6%.  For the first 8 years of Conservative government it was 28.5%.  If you want to use relative child poverty, after housing costs, as a yardstick you have to acknowledge that the Conservatives have beaten New Labour on  this metric so far.

I can’t imagine that Lizzie Flew does not know her way around these numbers.  She has actively set out to deceive.

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Factoid graveyard: “500,000 more children in poverty”

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn used the “500,000 more children in poverty” factoid only yesterday.  It does sound bad.  There are four things to say about this:

  • it is a measure of relative poverty, relative poverty tends to undulate gently against the grain of the wider economy, in good times it goes up, in bad times it goes down
  • the number of children is growing right now anyway, there are 1 million more children now than there were at the start of the New Labour period
  • as a percentage of the child population this number is lower than late New Labour
  • average relative child poverty rates under New Labour were worse than they were in the first seven years of Conservative rule.

This factoid comes from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and their UK Poverty 2018 report published 4th December 2018.

The landing page for this report smacks you in the face with two big child poverty facts they have gleaned from their research.  Their research essentially comprises the reworking of figures produced by the government notably the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Households Below Average Income (HBAI) statistics.

If anyone bothers to download JRF’s full report and read down to page 12 they will find this chart of HBAI data.

The green line at the top represents relative child poverty.  It has increased in the last five years as JRF suggests to 30% according to relative low income after housing costs (column I of chart 4a) of the HBAI data.  Its recent peak was 2006/7 and 2007/8 when the number was 31% two years running.

In ten out of 13 New Labour years this number was 30% or above.  It was 30% for the two most recent years for which data is available.  It was below 30% for the five Coalition years.

The average child poverty rate under 13 years of New Labour was 30.7%.

The average rate for the seven years since with the Conservatives was 28.3%.

So the Conservative performance on this measure of relative poverty has been considerably better than Labour’s.

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The Alston Report – built on statistical voodoo

In November Professor Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, reported on his 2 week visit to the UK.

This Australian academic sounded very reasonable and measured but his argument is built on a succession of misused and garbled statistics.  I guess much of his report was put together by other people but he should take responsibility for an atrocious and misleading piece of work.  And one that lets down struggling families by mistaking political point scoring about austerity with a forensic skewering of real problems in the benefit system.

You can see his press conference here.

And his visit report is here.

Alston makes six howlers with his data:

1. Wealth

The first plank of his argument is that:

The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy

Well, yes, of course, but the UK is also very populous and on a measure of GDP per head at purchasing power parity the UK is listed 26th by the IMF in 2017.  So the UK is a middling wealthy country in the EU and OECD to be fair.

2. Poverty

He contrasts the UK’s wealth with its poverty.

14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty

The 14 million number comes from the Social Metrics Commission work published in September, an attempt to recast existing HBAI poverty data to come up with an agreed measure of poverty as this is a hugely contested area of public policy.

If you scroll down to page 133 you can see their metric compared the HBAI one.  It is lower than it was pre-austerity in 2010 and remains pretty flat over 16 years.  Like any measure of relative poverty it slowly undulates with the overall economy.  Counter intuitively they tend to be worse in good times and get better in bad.

If you compare relative poverty in the UK with the rest of the EU the UK comes out dead average, not much worse than Germany.

So, Alston’s chosen measure of poverty in the UK is actually marginally better than it was pre-austerity, largely flat over time as you might expect from a relative measure and unexceptional in the wealthy EU.

3. Child poverty

In his press conference Alston described UK child poverty as “staggering”.  Again the SMC data shows child poverty slightly better than in 2010 pre-austerity and an OECD comparison shows the UK in a good light not far above Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

4. Destitution

Alston claimed:

1.5 million are destitute

This comes from work by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published in June.  This is a made up number invented by JRF themselves.   Alston did not notice or did not choose to highlight that, on a like-for-like basis JRF “destitution” had fallen by 25% between 2015 – 2017.  An apparently miraculous positive performance that was left unremarked upon.

The JRF exaggerate their numbers and use constructions such as:

the number of people who were pushed into destitution during 2017

to obfuscate the fact their headline number multiplies a short brush with hardship into a year long experience of “destitution”.  On page 13 they explain how they get from a count of 184,000 in their reference week to a number 8 times larger.

If unemployment statistics were done like this a week of unemployment would keep you in the numbers all year.

There is robust EU-SILC data, share of population living in severe material poverty, for which the data is collected by ONS.  They interview 15-20,000 households in the UK per annum to get this data so it is top quality.  Again on an EU comparison the UK is well below average and only marginally changed from before “austerity”.

5. Food poverty

Alston refers to food banks 13 times.  I won’t even start on how unsound food bank counting is.  Alston says there are no UK measures of food poverty.  Maybe, but again there is robust EU-SILC data on this (data gathered by ONS remember in very large scale survey).  The series Population unable to afford a meal with meat, fish, chicken or a vegetarian equivalent every second day must be some kind of measure of food poverty.  On this measure the UK improving and better than Italy, Germany, France and Belgium.

6. Suicide

Finally, I wanted to mention suicide.  Alston mentions suicide 5 times, twice in frankly snide references to a minister for suicide prevention.

Alston shoots himself in the foot somewhat by pointing out the negative association between poverty and suicide in Scotland.

Scotland, despite having the lowest poverty rates in the United Kingdom, has the lowest life expectancy and the highest suicide rate in Great Britain.

In the UK suicide is historically low, 2017 was the lowest ever year for male suicide and female suicide is at recently typical levels. The UK has very low suicide rates compared to other EU countries.

Alston simply had no business raising suicide.

7. Finally

There is a bone headedness about the way that Universal Credit is being implemented.  Alston might have done struggling families more of a service if he had kept his focus on specific system failings rather than having a generalised whinge which does not stand up to scrutiny.

Alston even managed to refer to the fictional Daniel Blake in his press conference.  It is too easy for the government to dismiss Alston as someone with an agenda taking a swipe at UK government policy as a result of Alston’s active misuse of statistics.  As an Australian representing the UN Alston fails to make any international comparisons.  I assume because they would spoil his argument.

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Train fares rose 47% in last 9 years of Labour

Today Labour is doing its annual train fares campaign.

There are a couple of things to say. First their number is wrong. Second it was much worse under Labour.

The 36% number comes from the union GMB. Their calculation is wrong. It is a theoreitcal calculation of what all rail fares would be if all train fares rose by the regulated fares cap. Of course most regulated fares go up by the regulated fares cap but unregulated fares do not and the actual increase for each rail user is different.

The rail regulator, the Office for Rail and Road, tries to capture this by weighting price rises by what rail companies actually sell. The all tickets line at the bottom of ORR’s table 1.81 “Index showing average change in price of rail fares by regulated and unregulated tickets” shows the average change in price of all rail fares as sold, see here.

Their all tickets index stood at 120.1 in 2001. Nine years later in 2010 it stood at 176.5, a 47.0% rise in 9 years. So under the last 9 years of New Labour fares rose by 47.0%. This was driven by their setting the regulated fares cap at RPI+1 from 2004 to 2010.

The ORR all tickets index stood at 227.8 last year. If you inflate that by a theoretical 3.1% (as GMB has done every year for 9 years) you get 33.1% not GMB’s 36%. Under recent Conservative led governments the regulated fares cap rose by RPI+1 for three years 2011-2013 as they had done under Labour. The last six rises have been set at RPI only so a cumulative 6.15% above RPI has been taken off fares compared to New Labour’s track record.

Fares should rise. CPI would be a much fairer yardstick. This will take some hard talking to the rail unions whose large pay increases in recent years have kept pushing up rail costs. Labour pretends it could keep fares low, look after its union chums and not spend £ billions extra subsidising the railways. Who do they think they are kidding?

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The average worker works 32 hours and has done since pretty much all of this century

You might think with all the talk of zero hours contracts and the gig economy that work patterns were changing very fast in the 21st century. They are not. One of the constants in our economy is that we work 30 odd hours a week on average and have done for the last 25 years.

Every quarter the ONS goes out and interviews 40,000 households for the Labour Force Survey. This is a huge and expensive exercise. They ask five questions about actual hours worked over the last week ending the Sunday before the interview. The questions cover hours worked in main job and second job and both paid and unpaid overtime. I have listed the five questions from the actual survey below:

TOTAC1: Thinking now about the seven days ending Sunday the …, how many hours did you actually work in your (main) job/business – please exclude meal breaks?

ACTHR: Thinking now about the seven days ending Sunday the …, how many hours did you actually work in your (main) job/business – please exclude meal breaks and overtime?

ACTPOT: How many hours paid overtime did you actually work in the week ending Sunday the …?

ACTUOT: How many hours unpaid overtime did you actually work in the week ending Sunday the …?

ACTHR2: How many hours did you actually work in the week ending Sunday the [Ref Date] in your second job in total, including any paid or unpaid overtime – please exclude meal breaks?

All the answers to these question get smushed up into one little dataset called “LFS: Avg actual weekly hours of work: UK: All workers in main & 2nd job: SA”. To explain: this dataset is part of the Labour Force Survey and it records answers from all workers, full time and part time, about their actual working hours in the previous week. Hours from their first and second job and including overtime both paid and unpaid.

The results are incredibly steady through 25 years. From 1992 to 2001 this number was constant at 33 hours. Then it dropped to 32 for the last 16 years.

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Why did Labour darling need to lie about suicide?

A lady called Jessie Joe Jacobs became the darling of the Labour party conference on Tuesday with a passionate speech on how young women and the North East have been affected by a Conservative government.  Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn approvingly tweeted out a clip of her speech on Tuesday night.

Suicide is a terrible thing and not something to discuss lightly. Any rate above zero is too high a rate. There is much to take issue with in the clip but her use of suicide statistics was very misleading.  Misleading to the extent of lying really.

She said:

The suicide figures are very well understood national statistics of the highest quality based on recorded deaths.  The latest version, “Suicides in the UK: 2017 registrations” was only published this month giving figures for 2017.  These figures go back to 1981.

This chart gives female suicide rates broken down by age in terms of rate per 100,000 population.

The bottom line on this chart is women and girls in the age range 10-29.  As you can see the line is pretty flat around 3 deaths per 100,000 per annum.  In recent years this group has seen lower suicide rates than in the 90s.  This group is the least suicidal group of women although older women saw big improvements in the 80s that have broadly stopped. Men are very much worse.

Jacobs’ highest point claim is just wrong.  In 2017 the rate was 3.2 per 100,000.  In 2016 3.4 – I guess this is her highest point, she was happy to ignore the latest data it seems.  The highest point in these statistics were the New Labour years of 1998 and 2000 when the rates hit 3.9 per 100,000.  They were over 3.4 11 times in this series.  So her first claim is nonsense and New Labour presided over the worst numbers in 1998 and 2000.

Her doubling in 10 years is something of a stretch too.  The New Labour low was 2.2 in 2007.  Only slightly better than the Coalition low of 2.3 in 2013.  After 2007 rates climbed again to 3.0 in 2010 and 3.3 in 2011.  The worst recent Conservative number was 3.4 in 2016.  So a 55% increase in the 9 years from 2007 to 2016.  Hardly doubling and ignoring the fact that most of the deterioration had already happened before Labour left power.

Maybe someone persuaded Ms Jacobs that she should spice up her speech with some killer facts.  If so she was badly advised.

Ms Jacobs seems to be an estimable person in many ways with a track record of starting a charity to help young women and working as a trade unionist.  Did she know she was being actively misleading or was she merely parroting someone else’s lines?

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Happy birthday Harry Leslie Smith – an unreliable witness to history

I am a great admirer of Harry Leslie Smith’s (HLS) generation, not least because my Dad is just less than a year older than him and spent the war fighting the Japanese in Burma as an artilleryman with the 17th Indian Division.

I do not usually see tweets from HLS because the Twitter minders than run his account on behalf of his publisher have blocked me. I suspect it is because I have more than once called out HLS for being an unreliable witness to history.

It was Jeremy Corbyn’s tweet this morning that pushed birthday greetings and some video of HLS into my consciousness. The first few moments of the video set up HLS’s big claim.

I was born in 1923 in Barnsley. Back then there was no social health care.

I don’t wish to be unkind to an otherwise admirable man on his birthday but this is false and if HLS has any knowledge of Barnsley he must know this to be false. Note that HLS does not claim that “social” health care was patchy or inadequate.  He says there was none. None has a very specific meaning and HLS’s claim is nonsense.  At the time there were five hospitals in Barnsley and they were all “social” in as much as none of them were private enterprises. Four were local authority run and one was a charity hospital.

The NHS is a great boon to our nation but it was built on the considerable infrastructure that was already in place, indeed no substantial hospital building was done until the 1960s, and a culture of extensive provision of not-for-profit healthcare that was already in existence.

I already knew that there were a number of hospitals in Barnsley in 1923 but today I was finally goaded into documenting the five that I have found:

Beckett Hospital, Church Lane, Barnsley

According this National Archives catalogue description:

The charitable institution originally known as the Beckett Dispensary was founded by trust deed dated 28 August 1862 by John Staniforth Beckett, whose endowment of £5,000 was to provide free medical and surgical assistance to Barnsley inhabitants too poor to afford it. No-one was eligible whose family earned over 18s. a week, unless the family numbered more than six; nor was any servant, apprentice or person in receipt of parish relief eligible.

By c.1940 the hospital (known locally as ‘the miners’ hospital’) dealt principally with surgical emergencies and provided 154 beds. Surgeons from Sheffield visited weekly.

Recommendations in the mid 1950s had urged that a new hospital (later known as Barnsley District General Hospital), to be developed on the St Helen Hospital site, should provide orthopaedic, out-patient and casualty departments, and that the Beckett Hospital should be used mainly for the chronic sick, possibly with psychiatric treatment units. When eventually completed, the new hospital was effectively a merger between the facilities formerly provided by the Beckett Hospital and the St Helen Hospital. Services in the original Beckett Hospital buildings were scaled down further and the hospital closed on 13 August 1977; the buildings were demolished two years later.

So the Beckett was a charity hospital that dated back to 1862 and was taken over by the NHS in 1948 and then disposed of but not until the 1970s when Barnsley Hospital was built.

Kendray Hospital, Doncaster Road, Barnsley

According this National Archives catalogue description:

Kendray Fever Hospital opened in 1890. Following an outbreak of smallpox in 1887, the next year Mrs Ann Alderson, daughter of Francis Kendray, had donated £4,000 to buy a site for an infectious diseases hospital for Barnsley. The foundation stone was ceremoniously laid in March 1889 and on 27 February 1890 the hospital, in Stairfoot, was formally handed over to the town of Barnsley. It was later known as Kendray Isolation Hospital.

After the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948, the Hospital from c. 1950 began to cater for geriatric patients and the bed complement increased to 144 in 1958 to provide accommodation for the chronic sick. In 1965 the treatment of infectious diseases was discontinued (those cases being taken on by Barnsley District General Hospital) as it became a hospital solely for geriatric patients with the addition, from 1974, of the mentally ill.

In 1981 Barnsley Area Health Authority approved a scheme to prioritise provision of facilities at the hospital for long-term and elderly mental illness. In the 1982 redevelopment, four wards were provided for these cases and upon their completion the old Lambert and Children& apos;s Ward (Isolation Block) and the Round Block (originally for smallpox cases) were demolished. Kendray Hospital is now (2006) the centre of Mental Health Services for the Older Person in Barnsley.

The Kendray Hospital is an active NHS site to this day. The site provided by a charity donation and sustained by the town, was nationalised in 1948.

Lundwood Hospital, Lund Lane Barnsley

According this National Archives catalogue description (scroll down to the end):

Lundwood Hospital was also originally run by Barnsley Corporation. It opened early in 1900 as a smallpox hospital. When it passed to the Ministry of Health in 1948 it ceased to be used as an isolation hospital and instead focused on geriatric care. It was closed on 30 September 1974, after remaining patients had been transferred to Mount Vernon Hospital, and was demolished in 1977.

This piece from the Yorkshire Post talks about the hospital’s role treating small pox in 1947. So this hospital was likely in use for this purpose continuously and would have been functioning in 1923 when HLS was born. The reference to “Cudworth’s public vaccinator” underlines the fact that there were extensive public campaigns before the NHS.

Because of concerns about small pox the hospital was torched as a part of the demolition process in 1977.

So here was a municipal hospital nationalised in 1948.

Mount Vernon Hospital, Mount Vernon Road, Barnsley

According this National Archives catalogue description:

The hospital was officially opened as a sanatorium on 18 May 1915 in the house that had been the home of Samuel and Fanny Cooper.

In 1945 it was described as a poor quality sanatorium unit providing ‘an old type ward block and some chalets’ to accommodate 53 patients. The administrative quarters were in an old mansion. In 1960/61 certain old buildings were demolished and the site redeveloped to accommodate 90 chronic sick mainly geriatric patients. The first patients were admitted to the new premises on 15 October 1961; the official opening, performed by the Princess Royal, took place on on 22 November 1961.

New wards were opened in 1974 and patients from Lundwood and Kendray Hospitals were transferred there in September 1974. Barnsley Health Authority approved the closure of two wards in the hospital in March 2002.

So this site was a TB sanatorium before the war and it passed from the local council to the NHS in 1948.  Now the NHS intends to sell the land.

St Helen’s Hospital, Gawber Road, Barnsley

According to this National Archives catalogue description:

St Helen Hospital (later the site of Barnsley District General Hospital – from 2005 known as Barnsley Hospital -) has its origin in the infirmary wards of Barnsley workhouse. Barnsley Poor Law Union was formed in early 1850 but the town workhouse in St Mary’s Place remained in use until new, purpose-built premises, designed by Yorkshire architects Henry Lockwood and William Mawson, were built in 1852 in Gawber Road. Additions to the infirmary accommodation were made in 1875 but it was not until 1883 that a large, detached pavilion-plan infirmary was completed, following proposals first mooted in 1868. Management was in the hands of the Board of Guardians until 1930.

Following the Local Government Act of 1929 and the subsequent abolition of the poor law administration in 1930, the infirmary wards passed to the Public Assistance Committee of West Riding County Council, and were then appropriated for use as the town’s hospital. It was known as Barnsley Municipal Hospital (on occasion Barnsley Municipal Institution) until 1935. The new name of St Helen Hospital (or St Helen’s Hospital) was introduced from that date. In the 1940s the hospital was largely used for the chronic sick, but some major surgery was undertaken as were maternity work and acute and general medical work. The accommodation was spacious, and there was room for further development on the site.

So here we have a municipal hospital that started off life as a workhouse infirmary but was turned into a “large, detached pavilion-plan infirmary” in 1883.  The site later became the modern Barnsley Hospital.  But it wasn’t until the 1970s, some 30 odd years after the formation of the NHS, that the NHS decided that the health infrastructure, already in place at the time of HLS’s birth should be replaced by a modern district general hospital.

Conclusion

I am sure people will follow the links I have provided and respond to me pointing out the inadequacies of these five hospitals. All I would say is that the current Barnsley Hospital was put up in the 1970s, some 30 years after the advent of the NHS. Either the provision in Barnsley was awful and the NHS took 30 years to re-provide it or it was quite respectable, and was quite respectable when HLS was born.

Has no-one from Barnsley ever spelled out for HLS the rich heritage of pre-war health provision that Barnsley enjoyed? Or does HLS simply prefer his narrative of half remembered family stories to the facts?

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Brendan Cooper – Professor Shut Up

One of the attractions of Twitter is that it gives people the ability to have a dialogue with people who are generally used to broadcasting. One of the downsides is that you can engage with people in a civil way but they can block you without reason. Their choice I guess.

I challenged Professor Dr Brendan Cooper, President of the Academy for Healthcare Science, on his very political comparison of current Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt with Labour hero Nye Bevan. His response was to block me. He could have made his case. If he was busy he could have ignored me. Fair enough. Blocking someone making an argument is the equivalent of yelling “Shut up”. Nice one professor.

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Full Fact fails to spot Jeremy Corbyn’s dishonest data picking first time

I have a lot of time for Full Fact, the independent fact checking charity. We need them.

Yesterday though they cocked up and fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book – it is called data picking. Choosing the data to suit your argument. We all do it to some extent but you can usually spot it, or stop yourself doing it, if you look at the wider data to see if the factoid being pushed at you is reasonable or relies on a quirk in the data.

On Wednesday at Prime Minister’s question time Jeremy Corbyn came out with a dishonest factoid that was based on just such data picking. He said:

The amount of tax paid by the super-rich in income tax has fallen from 4.4 billion to 3.5 billion since 2009.

Oh dear you might think. Killer factoid. The Tories are bang to rights. Well, no.

Unfortunately yesterday Full Fact fell for Corbyn’s trick and they pushed out a piece that said, yes, he was right and tweeted this link to it at 11.05am with a graphic, since withdrawn.

As soon as I saw the tweet I knew exactly the trick that had been played. The data had been distorted by changes to the highest rate of tax, 50% on incomes over £150,000, introduced in April 2010. And then reduced to 45% in April 2013. Wealthy individuals took their income in 2009/2010 rather than 2010/2011 to benefit from the 40% rate. Hence the tax take dropped from £4.4 billion to £2.8 billion. The opposite happened three years later when the rate went back down to 45%. People deferred their income which meant the tax take went up from £2.6 billion to £3.9 billion. You can see the effect of the rate changes quite clearly in the chart below. The tax take from the wealthiest is creeping up.

£3 billion in 2011/2012.
Average of £3.25 billion the next two years.
£3.5 billion in 2014/2015.

To their credit Full fact withdrew their earlier piece and replaced it with one that was much more fact-ey. Well done. Beware of data picking.

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The Labour MP going after the Grenfell inquiry judge has some questions of her own to answer

It seems new Kensington MP, Emma Dent Coad, is one of the pack of Labour politicians going after Sir Martin Moore-Bick who has been asked to lead the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster.

I find it strange that Dent Coad’s past involvement with the company that runs Kensington and Chelsea’s council housing stock does not get mentioned in her numerous media interviews. The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) is responsible for the management of the borough’s housing stock – including Grenfell Tower. KCTMO is constituted as a limited company registered as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation at Companies House (company number 03048135). Dent Coad was a full director of the company from 2008-2012 with all the legal responsibilities that implies.

The powers and responsibilites of the KCTMO directors are laid out in its Articles of Association. The relevant sections are reproduced below:

Their responsibilities are to see that the company is run properly and extend to being able to hire and fire senior staff.

You would think that if KCTMO was so broken when Dent Coad stopped being a director in 2012 she might have blown the whistle on it in a systematic and peristent way. I have searched for evidence of Dent Coad having written or being quoted in relation to fire safety in North Kensington and it is hard to find very much.

For instance, on her own blog Dent Coad has written 125 pieces over eight years 2000-2007. Only once did she obliquely mention fire safety in relation to people breaking into to fire escapes in properties run by a housing association called Catalyst.

I will be very interested to learn of Emma Dent Coad’s record of raising fire safety issues before the Grenfell tragedy. She has rightly been vocal since but she has been presented as if she has no history. Although Dent Coad is a new MP she has been a councillor in North Kensington for 11 years so she should be able to point to a record of raising fire safety issues before now.

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