Radical Statistics, Issue 127

Cover image, empty auditoriumContents of this Issue

This issue is in two parts: Part I contains papers that were ‘carried over’ from the COVID issue 126, simply because we couldn’t exceed 88 pages even with a reduced font size without having to move to a spined binding which would have been more expensive. Part II contains a diverse set of papers:

  • Dave Byrne, with a critique of the IFS Deaton Review showing how a combination of policy moves (e.g. abolition of schedule A, progressive reduction of tax rates and ability for couples to separate their tax returns) has led to widening inequalities in income and wealth;
  • Danny Dorling, prompted by John Bibby, on gender differences in mortality suggesting that – with reference to Marc Luy’s writing on how much of the sex difference in mortality could be attributed to gender – the gap in life expectancies will narrow substantially by 2050;
  • Anna Powell-Smith, displaying the types of information that are
    missing from the UK government’s extensive compilations.

Prospects for RSN 128

Following on from the discussions at the Conference in February, I asked contributors if they would agree to a student converting their power-point presentations into short texts and two or three speakers have complied. There was also one article for this issue which we collectively decided could do with revision and we have returned to the author who has agreed. So, the issue might be short but not empty!

Another proposal for generating material is the recent publication of the third RadStats compendium, Data in Society, which will be presented by the books’ editors on Saturday 28th. It is a landmark publication, bringing together many of the crucial issues around the production and use of quantitative information.

The contributors to Data in Society summarise many of the concerns around the accessibility and use of statistics in contemporary society. Examples include the lack of data from banking and financial organisations hides the extent of tax evasion of taxation. Government agencies are reducing the number of data series they make available for public scrutiny. The number of healthcare treatments in Britain provided by
private groups is growing steadily.

The book is an eye-opener on the difficulties in holding governments and large organisations to account. Do you agree with the authors’ interpretations? As the editors acknowledge there are data topics the volume does not cover in detail. These include the use of statistics by legal practitioners, housing and homelessness data and climate change data.

The editors of the RadStats journal are planning to devote one journal issue to topics raised by Data in Society, and to topics not discussed in the book. Could you write an article for the journal on any of the topics above? Are there are areas of debate missing from Data in Society?

Administrative Issues

As the Administrator informed those receiving printed copies of the issue that, at the AGM held in London at the end of February 2020, the decision was taken to raise the subscription from £25 to £35 for those wishing to continue to receive printed copies (whilst the membership subscription only – with online access – would remain at £25;  £10 for those on low incomes), otherwise they would be taken off the distribution list which originally includes all 300+ members.

Please make sure you have updated your subscription, or make a donation! – by going to www.radstats.org.uk/membership/ where you can pay by cheque, standing order, PayPal – or by filling in your details in the form on page 54.

Roy Carr-Hill
Radstats Editor