Sunderland Conservatives accuse MP Bridget Phillipson of using ‘fantasy statistics’ over the cost of living crisis

Conservatives in Sunderland have accused Bridget Phillipson of “spreading misinformation” over the cost of living crisis.

Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 4:55 am

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The claims have been made after the MP for Houghton and Sunderland South posted on her Facebook page that “families are £2,620 worse off” a year as the cost of living rises.

But Full Fact, a fact checking organisation, has revealed that it has contacted the Labour Party to dispute the number, claiming families would in fact only be £1,000 worse off a year.

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A spokesperson for Full Fact said: “The Labour Party is selling election leaflets to its supporters that include an inaccurate claim about the cost of living crisis. It is also running a number of adverts on Facebook making the same claim.

“We have asked Labour to correct the record on these claims, but at the time of writing it has not done so.

“Since our original fact check was published, the Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson has repeated the claim on Facebook.

“At the time of writing, Labour has published at least four active Facebook adverts that make the claim, all of which are listed as having launched after we had told the party that it wasn’t correct.

Sunderland Conservatives have accused MP Bridget Phillipson of using "fantasy statistics" over the rise in the cost of living.

“We asked the Labour Party if it plans to withdraw the leaflets and adverts. We have also asked Ms Phillipson if she agrees that the claim is not correct. Neither had replied at the time of publication.”

He stated: “Labour has used fantasy statistics to scare people into voting Labour.

“Even when an independent fact checker has corrected their false claims, our local MP has continued to spread misinformation.

Councillor Dominic McDonough has accused MP Bridget Phillipson of spreading misinformation about the cost of living crisis.

“The fact that one of our MPs has been singled out as spreading misinformation after Full Fact has contacted the Labour Party is disgraceful.

“If Labour truly cared about the cost of living, it would add to that support by reversing [council tax rises over recent years].

“Labour is only six seats away from losing its majority on Sunderland Council and it is clear that it is trying to cling to power.”

Bridget Phillipson MP claimed through her Facebook page that families are "£2,620 worse off" a year as the cost of living rises.

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Data from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) shows disposable income will fall by over £2,000 per household and think tank The Resolution Foundation estimates the average two-earner couple will see their cost of living rise by £2,600.

When the Echo contacted Ms Phillipson for comment, a spokesperson for the Labour Party highlighted that other groups have arrived at similar figures to the party.

They added: “Other independent groups arrive at similar figures, showing the extent of the Tories’ cost of living crisis.

"The bottom line is that working people are being hammered by this out of touch Conservative government - and everyone is feeling it.”