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Lord Knight: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the letter from Lord Freud deposited in the Library of the House (DEP2010-2327), what was the methodology used to calculate that 750,000 private rented sector homes will still be affordable in London after the housing benefit reforms have been implemented.[HL5749]

Lord Freud: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): I have written to the noble Lord to correct an error in this letter. There are fewer than 700,000 private rented sector homes in total in London, and a conservative estimate is that about 250,000 of these will still be affordable after the housing benefit reforms have been implemented.

That's 250,000 actual affordable post-Freud homes, "accidentally" inflated by the Minister to a fictional 750,000 -- an increase, as I'm sure he'd be the first to point out witheringly if these were someone else's figures, of 200 per cent.

Let's not forget that the chair of the UK Statistics Authority had to write to the DWP in November identifying serial "serious deficiencies" in the DWP's statistics. But are they lying to the public, or just rubbish at maths? Either way, this bodes pretty well for the big society.

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