Anyone even vague numerate reading this article by Polly Toynbee would would have probably spotted where it went wrong. It is very hard to read it without thinking “surely that Â£5bn must be a reccuring annual amount whereas as she is comparing it to one off amounts”. David Smith confirms that this is the case.
It appears that the main qualification to be a “pize winning columnist” is the ability to fluently express opinions based on complete ignorance.
I have long had little faith in journalists’ abilities, but this is even worse what I have highlighted before. The numbers required no specialist knowledge to understand, simply the a appreciation of the difference between recurring and one-off costs. Anyone who has ever paid a utility bill should understand the difference.