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12 October 2009

Can Boy George do his sums?

The shadow chancellor's £3bn mistake

By Mehdi Hasan

The Guardian reports a rather embarrassing error in George Osborne’s budget plans:

George Osborne’s reputation as a would-be Tory chancellor is unravelling after his claim that he would save £13bn by raising the state pension age was challenged by the respected think tank that provided the basis for his figures.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said the shadow chancellor’s proposed saving, outlined at the Conservative party conference this week, would take five years longer than estimated and fall £3bn short.

NIESR said Osborne’s team had made a mistake in their calculations, misreading a paper written by the think tank earlier this year. Osborne’s aides originally based their calculations on an NIESR document in the House of Commons library. After his speech the think tank sought clarification of his assumptions. It has recalculated the figures and will present them at a conference on Monday.

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We all knew that Boy George was economically illiterate, but is he innumerate, too?

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