BBC forced to apologise after misrepresenting GERS figures … again

BBC news has been forced to apologise after misleading viewers on figures contained in the latest GERS  [Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland] report.

On Wednesday the broadcaster claimed GERS showed that the Scottish government had spent £13bn more last year than it raised.

Following the news broadcast, SMP MSP tweeted his anger: “This is disgraceful @BBCNews – Your presenter clearly states that GERS says “…the Scottish Government last year spent nearly £13.5Bn more than it raised…”. This is a really serious factual error & I expect to see a equally prominent/high profile apology to @DerekMackaySNP!

On Thursday, BBC News at One issued a correcttion and an apology.  Newsreader Jane Hill stated: “We said that the Scottish government last year spent nearly thirteen billion pounds more than it raised.

“That was incorrect.  That figure covers all public sector expenditure in Scotland, including areas controlled by the UK government and other public bodies.

“We apologise for that mistake on yesterday’s programme.”

The error is a carbon copy of a similar misleading broadcast last year.  In 2017 Reporting Scotland was found to have misled viewers after presenter Jackie Bird told viewers “The Scottish Government is spending nearly fifteen billion pounds more than it’s bringing in in tax.”

In its ruling the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit said of Jackie Bird’s introduction: “The sentence complained of gave the impression that the report which followed was about revenue raised and spending incurred by the Scottish Government, whereas it combined figures for the Scottish and UK governments.  Though the report itself was duly accurate, it did not offset this misleading impression.”

However, despite a request from the complainant that a correction be broadcast that “reaches the same audience that heard the inaccurate statement”, there was no correction from BBC Scotland.

The BBC is currently investigating a similar complaint after a broadcast last week on Reporting Scotland witnessed Ms Bird tell viewers that Scottish GDP had “roughly matched” the GDP of the rest of the UK for the first quarter of 2018.

She 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.”

In fact economic data for the first quarter of the year found Scotland’s GDP was 0.4% for the period, which was double the corresponding UK figure of 0.2%, and did not “roughly match” that of the UK.

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3 thoughts on “BBC forced to apologise after misrepresenting GERS figures … again

  1. John

    Saw it on the National news yesterday , we have to keep complaining as soon as these lies come out . If the BBC have to apologise on a regular basis on the National News about their reporting of Scottish Government affairs , maybe the No ‘s of the last Indyref will see they are being played like a fiddle ! .

  2. Robert Graham

    The original waffle will be remembered the correction probably won’t

    Be prepared for weeks of Alex Salmond’s character assassination ,his whole career will be gone through sliced diced & dissected, rubbished all with the assistance of the unionist parties branch offices here , the Scottish media will be working night shifts ,

    The whole story whether it has any basis isn’t the point ” *hit Sticks ” thats the the point , it will be a welcome distraction to the disaster that Brexit will be , the timing is perfect , Corbyn & Mrs Mayhem off the hook at a stroke any involvement by the Spooks , eh probably .

  3. Jockanese Wind Talker

    According to Ian Fleming in his novel Goldfinger:

    Once is an accident

    Twice is a coincidence

    Three times is an enemy action

    Fleming knew a bit about black-ops and the murky world of the intelligence services.

    I think we are all in agreement that the actions of the BritNat Broadcasting Corporation (Scotland Branch) are nothing more than enemy action against the Independence Movement.

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