Confidence in BBC Scotland business reporting further ‘evaporates’ as they misrepresent an already unrepresentative study

True to their useful (awful) form, BBC Scotland has misrepresented and already dodgy piece of reporting by a single partisan source.

First, the actual report by the Federation of Small Businesses does not use the word ‘evaporate.’ In August they told us that it had been ‘battered.’ This is BBC Scotland hyperbole from a dark place in the subconscious thinking of state broadcasting reporters.


Second, the FSB research sampled 1 245 small businesses across the UK. The Scottish sample, unstated, will be 8% or 100. The FSB in Scotland has around 19 000 members.

The sample is 0.52% and, probably self-selecting, thus useless. BBC Scotland, of course, do not care about or do not understand research methods.


Third, this is a second offence, at least. Reporting Scotland Down told us this in August:

‘Business confidence in Scotland has taken a BATTERING (heavy emphasis)’ based on a Bank of Scotland Business Barometer survey.

We also heard that ‘there was a 17-point fall during the first half of July’ (a two-week trend?) and that confidence was at the lowest in Scotland. The Scotsman and the National went for falling and sliding rather than battering in their headlines.

Somewhat confusingly the same Bank of Scotland Business Barometer at the end of June had report confidence 17% higher in Scotland and higher here than elsewhere in the UK!


Fourth, this reliance on single-source report contravenes the BBC’s editorial guidelines. This teeny unrepresentative sample of opinion needs to be set against a wider array of reporting on Scotland’s economy such as these:

Scottish Government support for small businesses superior to that in non-Scottish parts of UK

Scottish Government business rates relief saves employers more than £5 billion

8% of the population 29% of food and drink exports: Scotland ‘dominant force behind UK international trade in agriculture and food products’

How Scotland Thrives – September 2019

Why does Fraser of Allander Institute lazily wrongly lump Scotland in with England’s tourism recession?

Embracing sustainable aviation just latest in Scottish Government’s 200 plus efforts to counter Tory Brexit disaster


One thought on “Confidence in BBC Scotland business reporting further ‘evaporates’ as they misrepresent an already unrepresentative study

  1. I don’t expect that beeb Scotland will find space to mention it but the YES majority Scottish Parlt has moved a further significant step forward (Stage 1 Report) in the long, slow march towards reforming and improving Scotland’s Non-Domestic Rates system. (An issue which the London parties have refused point blank to tackle for decades and longer). Link and snippets from the Scottish Legal site below: (Note: the plan involves levelling the playing field between Local Authority schools and Independent sector schools by bringing the Independent sector within the ambit of Non-Domestic Rates (previously always escaped by claiming ‘charitable’ status). Also note the long-standing abuse of ‘holiday home’ investment vehicles dodging local taxes is being addressed by this legislation.

    The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has given its backing to a bill which proposes the first major reform of business rates in Scotland for decades.

    The committee says a clear majority of organisations from local government, to business and the third sector support the bill, describing it as a move towards a “more modern and fair ratings system”.

    The Non-Domestic Rates Bill was introduced following the Barclay review which made a series of recommendations seeking to reform non-domestic rates, or ‘business rates’, in Scotland.

    A majority of the committee also concludes that independent schools should no longer be able to claim charitable relief from business rates; Conservative members Graham Simpson MSP and Alexander Stewart MSP did not agree with this conclusion. The committee said the move would help ‘level the playing field’ with state schools and generate important revenues for councils.

    Other key findings in the stage one report include:

    • Welcoming the move to change revaluations from every five to three years, reform a “clogged” revaluation appeals system, and speed up the process of debt recovery by councils
    • Supporting reforms to close a known tax avoidance tactic for those who own holiday homes which can be used to avoid paying any local tax on the property
    • Support for the introduction of the ‘Business Growth Accelerator’, which would reduce the rates bills of growing firms
    • Concerns that the small business bonus scheme currently contains a ‘cliff edge’ which stops small businesses expanding because they can’t afford the much higher rates
    • A qualified welcome for proposals to make those conducting commercial activity in parks liable to pay business rates.
    • The need for practical steps to reverse town centre decline and bring back shoppers and businesses to high streets


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