John Redwood’s figures are ten years out of date

It goes from bad to worse for John Redwood and the Conservatives on data protection. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their recently published policy proposals document manages to flip flop between four different data protection policies between start and end of the document, it’s now turned out that their cost figures are ten years out of date and exaggerated forty-fold.

Here’s how their sums have gone wrong:

A Tory policy review published last week quotes figures from the British Chambers of Commerce Burdens Barometer, which estimates that the Act imposes a recurring annual cost of £2.3bn … But this number was taken from a Barometer published in 1998 – the same year the Act was introduced – and came originally from a government Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) the same year.

In December 2006, the former Department for Constitutional Affairs published a report that measured the costs to business of complying with the Data Protection Act and associated secondary legislation at a much lower £55.9m in recurring annual administrative costs.

In other words, Redwood & co used figures that are a decade out of date to exaggerate the costs by more than forty-fold.*

Repeated flip flops. Unreliable numbers. What a way to make policy.

* The source for this quote has got its maths wrong when it says the difference is five-fold.

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