SNP spin on unemployment statistics

Three quarters of the UK rise in joblessness has come from Scotland.

However you look at that, it’s not good news. Even Scottish ministers realise the picture is bleak — and we can tell that by their response.

Instead of facing up to the issue, they have burrowed into the weeds of the official figures and found a glimmer of hope.

By looking at a tiny fraction of the sample, ministers have been able to claim there is good news about youth unemployment. It’s down by a whole 0.3 per cent in a year.

Never mind everybody else. Never mind that they know the figures are too small to be statistically relevant. Never mind that they are not regarded as good enough for the Office for National Statistics to use.

It is a little bit of good news they can cling to.  They are taking us for mugs.


Derek Mackay

All this comes after MSPs expressed their disquiet that Finance Secretary Derek Mackay still has no plan for tackling Scotland’s £1billion budget shortfall.

The Fraser of Allander Institute reported that, although Scottish tax rates are higher than the rest of the UK, they bring in no extra cash because the number of people paying the taxes is not growing fast enough.

None of this cuts through the deafening roar of an election campaign driven by Brexit.

But these numbers will be under the spotlight if IndyRef2 ever comes, and Mr Mackay had better have some better answers.

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