Thousands of jobs announced by Barclay’s Bank, and destined for Glasgow, may not be secure according to BBC Scotland’s Business and Economy Editor, Douglas Fraser.
Appearing on the flagship evening news programme, Reporting Scotland, Fraser questioned the long term nature of many of the jobs insisting they could be replaced by machines.
The correspondent’s downbeat analysis followed news that Barclay’s Bank had chosen Glasgow as the location for its new technology, functions and operations teams. The campus at the planned Buchanan Wharf development on the banks of the Clyde will result in the creation of 2,500 jobs.
The announcement followed discussions involving Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish government which will see the bank receive a grant of £12.75m towards the cost of the project. The news was welcomed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who described it as “transformational for Glasgow”.
However BBC Scotland’s Business and Economy Editor, Douglas Fraser insisted the good news should also be treated with some caution. In a studio set-piece exchange with colleague Jackie Bird, with both appearing to be trying to stifle smiling, Fraser was asked how secure the jobs were.
He replied: “It may be a bit premature to be warning about the jobs before they’ve even been recruited, but there is a serious point here that many thousands of jobs in finance and other professional services like accountancy are vulnerable to replacement by machines, by artificial intelligence.”
The artificial intelligence claim wasn’t the only negative point made by the BBC Scotland correspondent. In an online article following the announcement, Fraser also appeared to suggest the reported 2,500 jobs was optimistic.
He wrote: “… the numbers are “up to 2,500 jobs”. And as some of them are being relocated from London and possibly elsewhere, Glasgow will still have to fight and make its case if that potential number is to be reached.”
He added that future recruits should: “Expect continuing employment churn.”
The comments from the senior BBC Scotland reporter will do little to dampen critics’ claims that the station goes out of its way to dampen anything that could reflect well on the SNP led Scottish government. BBC Scotland chiefs consistently deny manipulating news and insist its output is fair and impartial.
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