19 September 2019

Scottish Labour will join forces with other opposition parties today (Thursday) to bring forward legislation that will help prevent SNP ministers launching spin operations on statistics.

SNP ministers, and their taxpayer-funded Special Advisers, are currently given early access to market-sensitive figures and access to other economic data up to five days in advance of the public.

Ministers use this time currently to prepare and then launch their spin operations upon publication of the statistics to frame the reporting of them.

The practice of early access to data for UK Government ministers has not been used by either the Bank of England, or the Office for National Statistics, since 2017.

The Scottish Parliament’s economy committee will propose a Bill tomorrow at Holyrood to bring the SNP government into line with best statistical practice around the UK.

Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said:

“For too long SNP ministers have got away with trying to bend statistics to suit their narrow political agenda.

“The excellent work of the country’s leading statisticians is being weaponised by the SNP before they have even published.

“This Bill will seek to put a stop to that and bring the SNP government into line with best practice on statistical publications around the UK.

“The fact that the SNP was the only party not supporting the Bill in Committee tells its own story.

“What is it that they have to hide by letting the public and journalists receive statistics at the same time as them?

“Scottish Labour MSPs will support this Bill proposal tomorrow as it begins its journey through the Parliament.”
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