If only our rulers understood the numbers they use to rule

This particular example is from Caroline Lucas but similar examples of not having a clue abound:

The UK is also host to grotesque levels of inequality. More than 4 million children are living in poverty. Two-thirds of the country’s highest earners live in London and the south-east,

The measurement of poverty is one of relative poverty. Less than 60% of median household income. But note, importantly, that it’s a measure of national income.

Yes, it’s entirely true that the high earners are concentrated where earnings are high. But it’s also true that costs are higher in that SE of England. On the general basis that people having more money puts up prices.

If we do as we should, which is measure the only sort of poverty that can be of any importance, that of consumption, we find that British poverty - and, if you wish to talk about the far less important inequality that too - significantly diminishes. Precisely because so much of both is measured using national numbers over a country which varies wildly in costs.

To illustrate, if Scotland became independent than English poverty would rise. The average income North of the border is lower than that South, meaning inclusion in the British average reduces it. Equally, if London left the UK then English poverty - despite the massive loss of tax revenues, of incomes - would fall. This is entirely unlike most European countries or the US, where regional inequalities match rather well with national. US state level Gini measurements are, for example, clustered around the national number, quite unlike our own such numbers.

A measurement of poverty where if the richest part of the country leaves poverty reduced is not a sensible measure of poverty now, is it? Equally silly is one where if a poorer area leaves then poverty rises. But those who would rule us do seem to keep using measurements which just don’t make sense.