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Express corrects false link of migrants to NHS shortfall

by Luke Lythgoe | 22.06.2016

The Express has corrected a misleading article linking a projected £10 billion shortfall in the NHS budget to migrants. The correction is the sixth resulting from complaints lodged by InFacts with the press watchdog about inaccurate and distorted articles in eurosceptic papers.

The headline on the Express website originally read:

Express NHS article

The basis for the £10 billion shortfall is a report by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (Cipfa) that does not mention migration. Instead, it largely blames the financing gap on a “leadership challenge”.

The Express chose to simultaneously report a new, emotionally charged Vote Leave broadcast blaming migrants for the NHS’s woes. Because the Cipfa report and Vote Leave broadcast were combined in the same headline, readers could easily have been led to believe that migrants were causing the £10 billion shortfall.

As InFacts has written previously, EU migrants are a boon to the NHS, supporting it by paying taxes and by working there.

The Express headline now omits the “creaking under weight of migrants” clause. It reads:

Express corrected headline

As well as correcting its headline, the Express amended its sub-head to read: “REPORT reveals NHS is facing a £10 billion black hole by 2020 as the Leave Campaign claim it is struggling under immigration pressure.”

This alters the original sub-head, which said the Leave campaign “have shown” the NHS is struggling. The opening paragraphs of the article go on to make clear the issues are separate.

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The Express also published a correction as a footnote at the bottom of its article.

Express NHS £10bn correction

InFacts still has 13 complaints outstanding with the press watchdog, as detailed in our “hateful 8” and “sinful 6” dossiers. It is unlikely that these inaccurate pro-Brexit articles will now be corrected, if at all, before the referendum, in which case the press will have misled voters over the most important political decision many of us will make in our lifetimes.

Edited by Alan Wheatley