Taking Stock – Labour recounts the unemployed.

Many viewers of this year’s pre- Budget speech were all keyed up to bet on the number of times the chancellor used the word prudent, took a glug of water or the length of his speech. There were however probably no wagers on how many mathematical errors Gordon Brown would employ to confuse his spectators. But, as the Tories squirmed while Brown opened up the Treasury’s coffers to the public, light relief came with the chancellor’s boast that 250 young people had moved from welfare to work under the New Deal programme.

Hurrah, cried the Labour MPs until realisation set in. Not until the jeering began to rise did Brown correct himself and give the real figure of 250,000.

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