The presenter of Reporting Scotland has come under fire after telling viewers that Scottish GDP had “roughly matched” the GDP of the rest of the UK, despite it being double.
Jackie Bird made the claim hours after it emerged that readjustments to economic data for the first quarter of this year found Scotland’s GDP was 0.4% for the first quarter. This was double the corresponding UK figure of 0.2%.
The revised figures prompted headlines across the Scottish media heralding the fact Scottish growth had ‘outstripped’ that of the UK. Amongst those outlets highlighting the stronger Scottish growth was BBC Scotland’s own website.
The BBC article reported the following:
The country’s chief statistician said the [Scottish] economy was now estimated to have grown by 0.4% in the first three months of the year.
That is an increase from the 0.2% that was previously estimated.
It is also higher than the 0.2% growth in the UK economy as a whole over the same period.
However, viewers tuning into the flagship evening news programme Reporting Scotland were told Scottish growth had merely matched that of the UK.
Presenter Jackie Bird said: “Growth in the Scottish economy was stronger at the start of this year than previously thought.
“Figures published today show that it roughly matched the growth rate of the UK as a whole.”
The blunder prompted anger on social media with many people accusing the broadcaster of trying to downplay good news for the Scottish government.
One said: “Scottish GDP grew by 0.4% in Q1 2018 against a UK growth of 0.2%. Unless my maths really are failing me, that AIN’T ‘roughly matched’. That is twice the growth rate.”
Another added: “There is rarely anything positive about Scotland on distorting Scotland. I would guess a high proportion of its viewers are of an older generation, not online. The NO voting demographic getting their too wee too poor beliefs reinforced every night.”
There was also anger at the length time alloted to the story, which at twenty one seconds was a quarter of that given to coverage of an appearance by Gordon Brown at the Edinburgh Festival.
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