By Martin Kelly
BBC bosses are facing questions after an online economic analysis was altered in order to make it appear Scottish GDP per-head, was less than the rest of the UK.
On Wednesday an article was published by the BBC which claimed to show how independence for Scotland would affect the rest of the UK.

The article, headlined ‘Scottish independence: How would the UK fare without Scotland?’ contained comparisons between the UK including Scotland, and the rest of the UK without Scotland.

In the original article it showed Scotland boosted UK GDP to the tune of £282.50 per head. 

With Scotland part of the UK, the figure per-head was £21,577.22.  However if Scotland became independent it showed the rUK GDP would drop to £21,294.72.

Claims that Scotland would suffer economically in the event of independence has been a central plank of the anti-independence campaign, which has claimed that a Yes vote would leave Scotland poorer and facing cuts to public services.

However within 24 hours the BBC analysis was amended to show Scotland not as a net contributor to UK GDP, but as a net beneficiary.

The revision was spotted by online site Wings Over Scotland, whose administrator Stuart Campbell managed to grab a screenshot of the BBC article before the change.

According to the new figures, with UK GDP with Scotland is £21,287 but without Scotland it improved £117, to £21,404.  The change means the BBC has wiped almost £400 per head from Scotland’s GDP.

The only evidence that there had been a change to the figures was included in a short sentence at the bottom of the page, which read:

An earlier version of this article misrepresented some data on life expectancy and GDP. This has now been amended.

According to the most recent figures available, Scottish GDP in 2013 was £148bn whilst for the UK over the same period it was reportedly around £1540bn.  This suggests Scotland, with 8.8% of the UK population is contributing over 9% of UK GDP.

The alteration comes amid growing concern over the BBC’s handling of the independence referendum with pro-Union articles and news stories dominating headlines.  Despite numerous complaints over their pro-Union stance, bosses at BBC Scotland insist their coverage has been “meticulous and successful”.

There was further anger today after the BBC published an image [see top] depicting an independent Scotland with a pair of scissors apparently cutting along a dotted border.  Unionists have repeatedly claimed that a Yes vote in September’s referendum would lead to Scotland being “cut off” from the rest of the UK.

This Sunday, hundreds of protestors will gather across from BBC Scotland’s Glasgow HQ in order to voice their disapproval at the corporation’s pro-Union stance.


2014-07-23 19:40

When will the compilers of these figures finally get around to addressing the reality that without Scotland, the UK ceases to exist.
Figures for Wales should be listed separately to allow other options to be considered.
Figures for England alone would give an honest appraisal of the relative economic standing of each country.
2014-07-23 20:25

News Sniffer did actually pick up on this, however like many recent BBC Scotland articles the Sniffer search does not highlight there has been changes, it’s misleading.

This was a particularly odd change as it only showed the brief at the bottom of the article

Not sure if this is a BBC thing or a Sniffer problem?

There’s also this
2014-07-23 20:40

Looks like “Winston Smith” over at the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth has been caught red-handed doctoring the figures to match the Unionist version of “reality”.

Their propaganda onslaught is reaching such mammoth proportions that they’re losing track of the Very revealing mistakes are creeping in.

The cracks in their facade of honesty and trustworthiness are getting so big that the slumbering, wider Scottish public surely must soon start noticing something is badly wrong.
Alien Act
2014-07-23 22:36

The little pie chart they used showed an incorrect figure of £16.9 billion in exports, when the real figure should be around £26 billion.

They must have gone to the Alexander & Osborne school of economics.
Jacque De Molay
2014-07-24 05:41

“Never let facts get in the way of a good story” – a good unionist story that is!

Anyone who still expects balanced reporting from the BBC is a little naive to say the least.
2014-07-24 05:41

Wait a minute’
“An earlier version of this article misrepresented some data on life expectancy and GDP.”

So what they’re saying is because I have a life expectancy of ten years less that my English counterpart, I contribute less?
really shouldn’t that prove I contribute MORE?
since I’m not claiming my pension because Im, er, dead?
Or do I need to get a new calculator with a UKOK button on it?
2014-07-24 06:44

On the BBC’s border graphic, I think we need to accentuate the positive. We’re getting Berwick back! 🙂
2014-07-24 07:26

What I find quite illogical in GDP terms is that if the HQ of a commercial enterprise, such as Tesco,Boots,Dia  geo etc, is not in Scotland, then it is not featured in the Scottish GDP calculation.

We know for a fact that this makes for a huge amount of sterling.

The same goes for exports being credited to their ‘port of laden’, ie., the country of export, which in Scotland’s case means 90% of our products are shipping from ports in England.

As these facts are unearthed it becomes increasingly clear that the statistical bases used to calculate virtually anything coming from Scotland are increasingly unclear and
there’s only one clear-cut way to be rid of such fudge and confusion. Bring home a resounding YES.
2014-07-24 14:42

Absolutely correct BRL. I can’t imagine that the supermarkets, eg. spend much time separating out Scottish spending in their VAT returns, so who knows how much of Scotland’s GDP goes uncredited.

The No voters and the rUK could be in for a bit of a shock.

2014-07-24 11:16

A really like whaur the BBC haes pitten the efter independence mairches. Leuks like oo’ll be getting Berwick an oor tint six thousan sq. miles o North Sea back. Gaun yersel Beeb! Sic a parcel o rogues in a nation!
2014-07-24 17:40

“This suggests Scotland, with 8.8% of the UK population”

I think that should be 8.4^ of the UK population, not 8.8%.

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