BBC Scotland accused of manipulating rail fare increase story

BBC Scotland has been accused of deliberately manipulating coverage of rail fare increases in order to obscure the fact they rose by much less in Scotland than south of the border.

Rail fares in England and Wales rose by an average of 3.1%.  In Scotland the increase was ten per cent lass at 2.8%.

However suspicions were fuelled when several BBC Scotland reporters and presenters began describing the Scottish increase as “almost three per cent” instead of stating the actual 2.8% figure.

BBC Scotland reporter Nick Eardley tweeted: “Rail fares rise by 3.1% in England and Wales and almost 3% in Scotland.”

The “almost three per cent” line was repeated on the BBC’s UK national news.  The news reader refused to quote the actual Scottish increase despite directly quoting the figure for England and Wales and a graphic which clearly showed the Scottish increase was 2.8%.

The reporting on BBC Scotland’s flagship evening news programme Reporting Scotland was exactly the same with the news reader using the phrase “almost three per cent” instead of making clear the Scottish increase was in fact 2.8%.  The reporting in the subsequent item was even worse with reporter Laura Maxwell using the figure for peak travel and telling viewers the increase in Scotland was 3.2%.

The “almost three per cent” phrase was repeated the following day when Good Morning Scotland presenter Gary Robertson used it in a news bulletin.  Other bulletins did though contain the 2.8% figure.


The use of the same “almost three per cent” phrase by so many BBC reporters, despite the Scottish figure being known, has fuelled speculation that they were responding to instruction to be ‘on message’.

Responding to the broadcasts, a BBC critic told Indyref2: “The Scottish increase was ten per cent less than that for England and Wales.  That should have formed part of the news narrative, but it didn’t.

“By presenting the Scottish increase as ‘almost three per cent’ what the BBC was doing was inviting the public to accept the increase in Scotland was the same as south of the border.

“The use of the Scottish peak-time rail fare increase by Reporting Scotland to obtain a figure greater than that of England and Wales average was as shocking as it was selective.

“This is a clear attempt to manipulate rather than inform.”

It also emerged that the ‘rip off’ headline used by BBC Scotland online in its top story article on the rail fare increase had been based on comments from a Scottish Labour MSP.

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6 thoughts on “BBC Scotland accused of manipulating rail fare increase story

  1. Jockanese Wind Talker

    BritNat Broadcasting Corporations “Scotland Shite, ‘cos EssEnnPeeBaaad 2019 will be like its 2018 offerings on steroids.

    The Phoney War is coming to an end.

    Brexit and IndyRef2 are on the horizon.

    You can smell the panic among the British Nationalists.

    Expect BritNat Broadcasting Corporation to continue doing it’s patriotic duty, defending “The Precioussss Union” as per the British Nationalist Broadcasters Royal Charter (aka ‘only obeying orders’).

    Propaganda straight oot the Joseph Goebbels play book.

    6. The Public Purposes

    The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows.

    (4) ………and help contribute to the social cohesion and wellbeing of the United Kingdom.

  2. Alasdair Macdonald

    The average in England and Wales of 3.1% could be described in terms like, ‘around 3%’, so, by describing the Scottish rail rise of 2.8% as ‘nearly 3%’, essentially they were creating the impression that there really was little difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK.And, this ‘no difference’ trope is a long-running one amongst unionists, who always acuse pro-independence supporters as ‘claiming Scottish exceptionalism’. I hear Tom Harris use it about a fortnight ago on the Shereen programme.

    Jockanese Wind Talker makes a valid point above in his extract from the ‘Public Purposes of the BBC.’

    During the 2014 referendum the head of the UK Civil Service used a similar argument for the Civil Service adopting a partisan proUnion stance.

  3. D E BLAIR

    I suppose we could say the 2014 referendum was 50% approx. for YES and nearly 50% for No. I am sure the BBC or STV would correct me,

  4. bringiton

    Even my better half exclaimed (unprompted) when she heard this that 2.8% is not 3%.
    Many Scots now attuned to the B/S propaganda from the British state broadcaster.
    Their mission is to provide social harmony within the UK and if that means lying to people,then so be it.

  5. Robert Graham

    Oh just make it up ,who cares no news outlet will correct them , even the ones who support this rotten union are being deceived and living in some kind of la-la land , i wonder if these folk will ever waken up to what the bbc are doing,or are we blessed with the stupidest people on the planet living amongst us . answers on the back of a stamp .

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