Harman rapped over 'confusing' statistics
The Government was drawn into another row over its use of statistics today after the Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman was criticised by an official watchdog.
Sir Michael Scholar, head of the UK Statistics Authority, said Ms Harman's use of figures on the pay gap between men and women was potentially misleading.
His rebuke came after Ms Harman, also Minister for Women, used a figure for the gender pay divide more than twice the level used by official statisticians.
A press release issued by the Government Equalities Office on April 27 said women were on average paid 23% less per hour than men.
But the Office for National Statistics puts the figure more than ten points lower at 12.8%.
In a letter to Ms Harman, Sir Michael said the use of different figures was "likely to confuse the general public".
He added: "The Statistics Authority is concerned that this may undermine public trust in official statistics."
"It is the Statistics Authority's view that the use of the 23% on its own, without qualification, risks giving a misleading quantification of the gender pay gap."
A source said Ms Harman's department was warned about using the figure beforehand but went ahead anyway.
Both figures were taken from the same annual survey of hours and pay, and are based on average hourly earnings excluding overtime.
The ONS measure is based on full-time earnings alone while the GEO figure includes full-time and part-time workers.
Both men and women who work part-time are paid less, but the vast majority of part-time workers are women. That means including all part-time workers in the figure could exaggerate the pay divide.
Sir Michael said neither measure was "entirely satisfactory" on its own and suggested different ways to discuss the gender pay gap that were "impartial and objective".
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...