On 19 February 2001, the Guardian carried an extract from Polly Toynbee and David Walker's book "Did Things Get Better?" which said:
A quarter of the 4m poor children have been lifted out of poverty.
On 29 October 2004, Polly wrote that:
Through tax credits, most experts agree, a million children have been lifted out of poverty
which is admirably consistent, though displays a troubling lack of progress over the three and half year between the two articles. On 10 March 2006, Polly Toynbee wrote:
700,000 children have been lifted out of poverty since 1998
Which worryingly suggests things were getting worse. On 7 July 2006, she wrote:
The first quarter-way target was missed as 700,000, and not a million children, were lifted out of poverty.
Apparently someone must have inadvertently given the impression that a million children had been lifted out of poverty. On 27 September 2006, she wrote of:
800,000 fewer poor children
Which at least suggests a resumption of progress. However, in yesterday's column, we're back to:
But by stealth Labour has lifted 700,000 children above the poverty line
Confused? You may not be the only one...
[I am in the debt of Xobbo, whose comment on yesterday's CiF column gave a hint that something was awry...]