THE SNP has accused the Scotland Office of using spin and dodgy graphs to try to undermine last week’s GDP figures.

In a brief sent to the BBC, seen by The National, the party say a graphic given to the broadcaster by David Mundell’s department used a very specific time scale, showing one measure of a growth of GDP taken out of context, in a bid, they claim, to make the figures seem less than they were.

The Scotland Office have dismissed the SNP’s claims, describing them as “nonsensical”.

Loading article content

The SNP’s brief says that contrary to what the Scotland Office’s graph claims, Scotland’s economy is largely on a par with the UK as a whole and on many measures over the past few years better despite the oil price crash and “in spite of its resilience being actively briefed against by the UK government.“ The SNP say the graph, given to the BBC by the Scotland Office and used on last Wednesday’s Reporting Scotland, was in contrast to a public social media campaign in which the UK Government were “trying to take some credit for the economic results”.

The National:

The figures released last week showed Scotland’s economy grew by 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2017. This was the highest rate of quarterly growth in Scotland since the end of 2014 and four times faster than growth in the UK as a whole, which grew by 0.2 per cent.

Kirsty Blackman, the SNP’s spokeswoman for the economy, accused the government department of being “duplicitous”.

“It just isn’t on,” she said.

“The fact is that it has been a good week for Scotland’s economy.

“Scotland’s diverse and resilient economy will not be undermined by such duplicitous moves.

“This week’s figures – coupled with record low unemployment and rising employment in Scotland – are a positive reflection of the SNP Scottish Government’s investment in our future, with a £6 billion infrastructure plan and a £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme as well as record investment in Modern Apprenticeships and education.”

A Scotland Office spokesman said: “We welcomed the figures. The idea we sought to undermine them is nonsensical.”

Last week, in a column for this paper, former First Minister Alex Salmond said the GDP figures caused “abject humiliation” of the “merchants of doom” made up of “Unionist politicians, the mainstream media and the BBC.”

He continued: “The Unionist parties, of course, are not worried about a recession. They were seized of the opportunity to blame the prospect of an independence referendum for Scotland’s sluggish performance ... all of that has come to nought.

“If there is any direct relationship between talking up independence and talking up the Scottish economy the evidence suggests it is a positive one.”