BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 12:27 GMT
Reforming figures
More or Less
Thursday, 2 February, 2006
BBC Radio 4, 1500 GMT

More or Less finishes the current series this week with questions of trust, hedgehogs again, and what trampolines have in common with pretty face competitions and the stock market.

Click here to have your say

If you can guess what all of those have to do with numbers, you must be a regular listener.

The question of trust arises from two recent government decisions.

One is Gordon Brown's announcement that National Statistics, the agency responsible for much official data, will be made independent.

The second is the Home Secretary's creation of an all-party group to look into crime statistics.

In both cases, is there a recognition that public trust in statistics has fallen, that politicians may have played a part, and that the remedy is to put more distance between them and the figures?

Some argue that we need the same reform of official numbers as we saw when the Monetary Policy Committee was given control of Britain's interest rates.

We investigate the issues and put the various proposals for reform to a senior Labour politician.


The hedgehogs, or at least explanations for their declining squished numbers on the roads, are flourishing since our invitation last week for explanations, (unlikely explanations we readily admit) of why fewer on the roads might mean more in the wild.

You can find some of the answers on this site.

Stock market

And the combination of trampolines, pretty faces and the stock market will all become clear when we ask why valuations of companies can rise and fall dramatically over a short period - in the case of the FTSE 100 share index nearly halving and then doubling in the last five years.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Thursday, 2 February, 2006 at 1500 GMT.

You can e-mail us by using the form below:

Send us your comments:

Your E-mail address:

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.

Your comments
31 Jan 06 |  More Or Less

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific