Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”We are able to afford interventions to deal with, for instance, the cost of living, providing more than £3,300 for every single family in our United Kingdom”

Oliver Dowden, Deputy PM, Prime Minister’s Questions

Facts

At Prime Minister’s Question on 17 May, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden stated the government has provided “more than £3,300 for every single family” in the UK to help with the cost of living. 

Other ministers, as well as the Treasury, have repeatedly used the same £3,300 figures in a different way when talking about cost of living support. 

Full Fact reached out to the Cabinet Officer querying Dowden’s figure, but did not receive a response nor any evidence substantiating the figure. 

Full Fact also reached out to the Treasury which confirmed that its £3,300 figure is the total cost to the government of various policies covering the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years, including energy and cost of living support plus some benefits and tax changes, divided by the number of UK households. So it’s the average provided per household, not the amount provided for “every single family.”

Verdict

Oliver Dowden’s statement that the government has provided “more than £3,300 for every single family” in the UK was sloppy and inaccurate. It is not the case that “every single family” benefits by £3,300 a year.

Dowden was therefore misleading the House of Commons, and has not returned to correct the record. 

According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.” Oliver Dowden was misleading parliament in defiance of the Ministerial Code, in theory, a resignation offence.

We emailed Oliver Dowden’s parliamentary office and the Cabinet Office offering him the chance to respond. The email to his parliamentary office was received, but no reply. 

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