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COMMENT:Labour needs to be more numerate

Shadow ministers have had good clean fun at the expense of bank profits and executive bonuses in the past few weeks. It is a pity, however, that their barbs are too often founded on bogus statistics.

The latest example of their cavalier approach to numbers is the "£1.2bn" cost of rail privatisation, reached by adding apples and oranges to make pears. It includes the costs of redundancies and restructurings that were bound to happen anyway and grants that do no more than recycle money within the public sector.

If new Labour wants to cuddle up to business, as Tony Blair says, the least it can do is try to be numerate. Otherwise no top executive will take it seriously.