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.
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.