Experimental estimates using distrusted ONS benchmarks to demonise Scotland again

The Herald headline and the report is based on estimates derived from an experimental methodology ‘consistent‘ with that used by the ONS.

After a decade and more of pressure from a Tory Government, I’m not sure we can trust the ONS any more. They don’t publish hospital-acquired infections any more and their Covid mortality stats are extremely dubious. See these from late January 2021:

Notice how the death rate from Covid goes up in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland after you add those whose death certificate mentioned it to those where there was a positive test? Logical?

How then does it go down for England?

I feel sure I could find more evidence of decay in the ONS, but this should do.

15 thoughts on “Experimental estimates using distrusted ONS benchmarks to demonise Scotland again

  1. Is it pressure on ONS? Or could it be pressure on English NHS and coroners to avoid the “c” word? Either way, it seems something is rotten in the state of Denmark! (with apologies to any Danish readers… Its meant to be a quote but my Shakespeare isn’t what it was… L

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is hardly surprising if the ONS is now punting mince, as the organs of liberal democracy have been progressively eaten away by the cancer of neo-liberalism.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This Tory government has been putting its own placemen into positions of authority.
    Two dozen senior Tories ruthlessly slung out of the party.
    Scientists and medical people shunted to the side, replaced by YES men (and women).
    The BBC and English broadsheets all in thrall to the Boris cult.
    Ruthie bought out with Ermine to be replaced by a Manchurian Candidate.
    Even the Labour party has a Tory now in charge.
    Scottish Labour soon to be the same.

    One nation, one state, one Boris.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Holyrood’s Corporate Body, dominated by Brit Nats looking pretty stupid now.
    Davidsons bizarre claim that nobody is suggesting “information would ever be published jeopardising a complainant’s anonymity” shows her for the hypocritical poltroon she is. And always has been.
    This was all about “getting” either Salmond or Sturgeon.
    And they have played their stupid part to perfection.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Experimental”? Yet it may be an underestimate. I don’t think this information should be waved away.

    I note the average age of deaths of homeless people has decreased from 47 years.

    “These are experimental statistics on deaths of people experiencing homelessness in Scotland. They are in the testing stage and are not yet fully developed. They have not yet been assessed against the rigorous quality standards which apply to National Statistics. They will remain experimental for a period of evaluation of their suitability and quality and feedback is invited from users and stakeholders.”


    Of the total 216 deaths estimated in 2019:
    • 173 were identified from death registration records.
    • The additional 43 deaths were estimated using the statistical model.

    157 deaths (73%) were males
    • 59 deaths (27%) were females

    The methodology used to produce the Scottish estimates is consistent with that used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to produce the England and Wales estimates. Although some of the data sources used to identify homeless deaths differ slightly, the estimates are considered to be broadly comparable.
    Scotland had the highest homeless death rate when compared to England and Wales. The Scottish rate was 52.2 per million population aged 15-74, around three times the rate in England (18.0) and Wales (14.3). The Scottish homeless death rate has been the highest in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

    We rely on information which is provided to registrars by the informant
    when a death is registered. The informant is usually a family member
    or a friend, but in some cases the informant may be a police officer, a
    social worker, a funeral director or other person. In these cases, the
    informant may not have all of the information needed to determine
    whether the person was homeless at the time of their death. Even
    when the informant is a family member, they may not have been in
    touch with the deceased for some time and may be unaware of their
    circumstances, or they may not wish the fact that their relative was
    homeless to appear on the death certificate.
    Although we have carried out multiple searches of our data sources to
    identify homeless people, there are a number of groups who we may
    have missed, or underestimated, in this process.
    A small percentage of people present to their local authority as
    homeless but never take up an offer of homeless accommodation.
    They may be able to stay with friends or relatives until permanent
    accommodation is found for them. They are unlikely to be identified in
    the searches we have carried out.
    A number of people who are sleeping rough may not present
    themselves as homeless to their local authority and are therefore not
    registered as homeless. If they die while sleeping rough, they may be
    picked up by our searches but only if the informant provides this
    information to the registrar when registering the death.
    The capture recapture estimation technique we have used attempts to
    address this undercount, but the method used is known to produce
    conservative estimates – the actual number of homeless deaths may
    be higher.


  6. Danger of tinfoil hat wearing today?

    The statistics on homeless deaths in 2019 being discussed here come from published National Records of Scotland research. Yes they are based on an ‘experimental ‘method and yes, it’s one developed by the ONS, but the analysis is that of the NRS. Spare me any more conspiracies!

    Source: National Records of Scotland (2021) Homeless deaths 2019 (23 Feb 2021)

    From the NRS report we learn that of the total 216 deaths estimated in 2019:
    • 173 were identified from death registration records.
    • the additional 43 deaths were estimated using the statistical model – the experimental bit I presume.

    These statistics include people who were in temporary accommodation at the time of their death as well as those who were sleeping rough. More than half of homeless deaths were drug-related. Given what we know of levels of drug abuse in Scotland – acknowledged as a national crisis by the Scottish Government – the scale of homeless deaths in Scotland relative to elsewhere in GB can hardly come as a major surprise.

    However, whilst the latest ONS data on deaths of homeless people in England and Wales (also for 2019) does show a much smaller number per million of population than in Scotland, the trends in the data should give no cause for celebration.

    According to the ONS report for England & Wales: “The estimated number of deaths among homeless people has increased by 61.4% since the timeseries began in 2013”

    Source: ONS (2020) Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: Experimental Statistics of the number of deaths of homeless people in England and Wales. Figures are given for deaths registered in the years 2013 to 2019.


    1. Clearly the state of homelessness in Scotland as well as public health issues impact on these statistics. Some insights into the former may be interesting to some. The most recent ‘Homelessness Monitor Scotland’ report by the charity Crisis provides a wider perspective. Their next report is due in 2021.

      Source: Fitzpatrick,S., Pawson, H., Bramley, G., Wilcox, S., Watts, B., Wood, J., Stephens, M. & Blenkinsopp, J. (2019) The Homelessness Monitor: Scotland 2019, London: Crisis.

      From the report and/or its associated press release we find this:

      “Scotland continues to lead the way in its commitment to ending homelessness and the ambition set out in the government’s plan is welcomed, but there’s no room for complacency …”

      “Local authorities (in Scotland) generally believed that post-2010 welfare reform has exacerbated homelessness in their area, although almost all acknowledged that its impacts had been mitigated by the Scottish Government, particularly via Discretionary Housing Payments. The Scottish Welfare Fund was also said to play an important role, …”

      “Three-quarters of Scottish local authorities anticipate that the full rollout of Universal Credit will exacerbate homelessness in their area over the next two years. “

      “The Scottish Government has used its powers to fully mitigate the ‘Bedroom Tax’ through Discretionary Housing Payments. The Bedroom
      Tax would have affected one in five social tenants and now costs nearly £48 million to mitigate. Mitigation of the Bedroom Tax accounts for 81%
      of Discretionary Housing Payment expenditure in Scotland, and it is likely that this has been prioritised over people suffering hardship from other cuts to Housing Benefit.”

      “While Scottish local authorities generally reported that welfare reform has exacerbated homelessness in their area, it is clear that welfare reform has not, at least as yet, had the devastating homelessness impacts that have been all too evident in England. … where there has been a dramatic increase in the number of such cases over the post-2010.”


  7. Homeless death in the UK has gone up because of austerity. 120,000 people have died in the rest of the UK prematurely because of Tory policies. Tory policies have reduced welfare £16Billion. From 2015 to 2020. Five years of cuts to essential services. There are complex causes in homeless. Break up of relationship and death. Substances abuse. Lose of job or stable income, mental health problems etc. Lack of support if people do not know where to get support. Or refuse it.

    The Scottish Gov has had to mitigate the cuts. £100Million+ a year. The Westminster inaction and bad management of the pandemic has increase the death of vulnerable people. The Scottish Gov has just funded proper (total abstinence?) rehab counselling facilities £250Million increase. The Scottish Gov introduce MUP. Labour was the only party which did not support it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.