Election 2015

Reality Check: Question Time fact checks in full

Ed Miliband on Question Time Image copyright AFP

The BBC's Reality Check team has been checking some of the claims made during Question Time by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg.

Here are the claims we checked.

Welfare savings

David Cameron first faced questions about welfare payments. We know that the Conservatives want to save £12bn on welfare but we do not know how that will be done. The BBC's Michael Buchanan has been looking into how difficult that would be.

Food bank figures

An audience member asked about the one million people using food banks. The Trussell Trust, which manages the UK's largest network of food banks, says that three days' food were given out 1,084,604 times in 2014/15, which was a rise of 19% from the previous year.

But this isn't the same as one million individuals using food banks - some people will turn to a food bank on several occasions.

In fact, the Trussell Trust says that on average people who used its food banks needed two food bank vouchers a year. If we use this figure for an estimate, then the number of unique users drops to around 500,000. There's more in our Reality Check.

Housing Benefit

David Cameron said that when the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition came to power some households were claiming £70,000 to £80,000 in housing benefit. A member of the audience asked how many households were claiming that much.

We can't answer that precisely, but the government released figures under the Freedom of Information Act showing that of 4.7 million people claiming housing benefit in August 2010, 400 were receiving more than £40,000 a year.

Youth unemployment

David Cameron said that youth unemployment had been plummeting. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics said youth unemployment was 16.1% in the three months to February. This is down from the preceding three months and lower than the same period a year earlier (19.2%).

However, it is still higher than the pre-financial crisis low of 13.8% for the three months ending February 2008.

'Extra nurses'

David Cameron said his government had added 7,000 more nurses to the NHS since the last election. This information comes from the number of "qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff", published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The most recent data shows that the number of staff in this category has increased by almost 7,200, which is more than Mr Cameron suggested.

But, crucially, these figures include more than just nurses. The increase appears much less impressive if we remove midwives and health visitors from the data. On that basis, the number of nurses has gone up by just over 2,000 since May 2010.

European budget

David Cameron said he had cut the EU budget.

Every seven years the EU agrees its long-term budget, the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which is the overall spending ceiling for that seven-year budgetary period.

The leaders of all EU member states have to unanimously agree on the MFF, which the European Parliament scrutinises and votes on. The EU's 2014-2020 budget was indeed cut for the first time in the bloc's history.

Under the deal, the EU's budget was cut by either 3.4% or 3.7%, depending on which measure you're looking at. David Cameron led a group of other EU countries in demanding a cut in the EU budget. The other two leaders taking part in Question Time also supported a cut.

Job creation

David Cameron said two million jobs had been created since the last election.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics said that there were around 31.05 million employed people in the UK.

At the time of the last election there were around 29.05 million people in work. So that's an increase of two million.

However, this figure looks at the number of people in work, which isn't quite the same as the number of jobs. For example, some people may have more than one job. There aren't any official statistics on the number of jobs created.

Balancing the books

Ed Miliband says he's going to reduce the deficit every year and balance the books. It's important to stress that what he means by balancing the books is not the same as what Mr Cameron means.

Labour wants to balance the current deficit, which means it could borrow money to invest. The Conservatives are not prepared to borrow for investment either and want an overall surplus by the end of the next parliament.

Wages not keeping up?

Ed Miliband says that wages have not been keeping up with bills for the last five years.

A graph on page 19 of this ONS bulletin shows that inflation has been higher than earnings for most, but not quite all, of the last five years.

Benefit spending

Host David Dimbleby referred to the IFS comments made about Labour's plans for benefit spending earlier this week.

"Despite being used as examples of 'tough choices', Labour proposals to remove winter fuel payments from higher-rate taxpaying pensioners, and to limit cash increases in child benefit to 1% this year and next would save next to nothing," it said.

On welfare cuts

Nick Clegg said the £12bn of welfare cuts that the Conservatives are planning is the "equivalent of £1,500 off eight million of the most vulnerable families".

We're not arguing with his sums, but not sure why he thinks the cuts will be divided between eight million households.

Working abroad

Nick Clegg says that roughly the same number of citizens of other EU states are living and working in the UK as there are UK citizens living and working elsewhere in the EU.

The answer to this parliamentary question puts the number of UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU in 2010 at 2.2 million. From the 2011 Census we know that there were 2.3 million people in the UK with "other EU" passports.

Election 2015 - Reality Check

What is the truth behind the politicians' claims on the campaign trail? Our experts investigate the facts, and wider stories, behind the soundbites.

Read latest updates or follow us on Twitter @BBCRealityCheck

Related Internet links

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