Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Telegraph: The Drugs Story Don't Work

Mr Dale has swallowed another Sunday Telegraph mix up whole:

The piece, based on an email from a vested interest to their peers, states that there is to be a £50M cut in an aspect government spending on tackling drugs. It says ithis cut is over three years. But then it says that this is a 12% cut. Of an annual budget of just under £400M, so upwards of £1.2B in the three years.

The numbers are all over the show. For example the figure of a 12% cut is quite wrong. The real annual cut - if the absolute figures are to be believed - is hard to estimate from the insufficient data but say between 3 and 4%. The Torygraph, and their rather partisan source, effectively negotiating in the press, do not show whether this "Cut" is a:
(a) cut in an anticipated growth budget (which may still be growing);
(b) real terms cut in a somethingly growing real terms standstill budget; or
(c) cut in absolute terms; or even whether a
(d) proposed or agreed change. (At most a proposal.)

It must also be said that this is supposedly a cut - of whichever type(s) - in one particular funding stream, the Pooled Treatment Budget. Neither the partisan source nor the deteriorating journalism of the ST indicate whether other services are being grown or introduced to compensate. Many people are small c conservative and horrendously change averse. Media and oppositionists feed this but in the real world change is a reality and it can be progressive change.

The story is inaccurate and incomplete. It shows a rather typical newsdesk tendancy for innumeracy and analytical failure. And we need to know a lot more before we start calling anyone hypocritical. Dale thinks this is a Chris Grayling originated story. (Wasn't he riding shotgun on Angus McNeill's wild goose chase?) Grayling needs to work on his moves. This story is weedy. And weed you don't need ...

The above graph shows the growth of those engaged with the drugs reduction service and how this was running ahead of growth targets (report home).

2008 is the end of the first 10-year-plan.

The closing date for the latest Tackling Drugs, Changing Lives consultation is 19 October 2007.

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