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"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics."

Disraeli's distrust of statistics is shared by many people today. They are used - and misused - by politicians, civil servants, and officialdom in general as a tool of convenience.

Can we trust figures on issues such as crime, unemployment, inflation, spending on the NHS, hospital waiting lists, school league tables, company results? Are government statisticians sufficiently independent of political pressure. Do you have experienceof statistics which hide the truth? Do you work with official figures? The Independent would welcome contributions to the debate on statistics. Write, phone or fax to David Felton, Home Editor, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Tel: 0171-293 2000. Fax: 0171-293 2047/2051.