BBC Scotland’s Business and Economy editor has been forced to correct an online article after it was pointed out he had exaggerated UK economic growth by 100%.
Douglas Fraser had claimed Scotland’s first quarter economic growth of 0.4% was equal to that of the UK for the same period.
Comparing Scotland’s economic performance with that of the UK as a whole, the reporter wrote: “The 0.4% figure is below long-term trend, but it’s equal to the UK level for that quarter.”
However, UK economic growth for the first quarter was not 0.4%, but half that. The figure was widely reported across the UK media – including the Financial Times.
The inaccurate claim remained unchanged until this site questioned its accuracy on twitter.
We asked the BBC Scotland correspondent: “Can @BBCDouglasF explain the difference between his figure and the FT figure? Genuine question.”
Fraser later replied: “Yes, he can. It is my error, which will be corrected asap. UK gdp growth in q1 was 0.2%. For Q2, it was 0.4%, which may be where the error came in. Thanks for pointing that out.”
The online article – ironically entitled ‘Maths revision for Holyrood’ – was corrected the next day.
However the correction removed the original direct comparison between Scottish economic growth and that of the UK.
The blunder comes days after Fraser’s Pacific Quay colleague Jackie Bird made the same erroneous claim on Reporting Scotland.
The presenter told viewers:“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.
The broadcaster is frequently accused of downplaying Scottish good news. Last month both Bird and Fraser appeared to place a negative spin on news that Barclays Bank had announced 2,500 new jobs for Glasgow by implying they would not be secure.
Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, BBC Scotland chiefs insist the broadcaster is fair and impartial in all of its news coverage.
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