Updated: Business Confidence in Scotland: BBC Scotland selectively mis-represent Bank of Scotland Research to paint picture of gloom

Here’s what BBC Scotland reported this morning (11.1.17) at 06:30am:

‘Most of Scotland’s small firms expect conditions to deteriorate according to research* (invalid, see note below) carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses. It found that business confidence was at a lower level in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. A separate report from the Bank of Scotland suggests falling levels of entrepreneurship and a decrease in the number of new start-ups here.

I’ll come to the quality of the ‘research’ from the Federation of Small Businesses later but first here’s what the professionally executed research from the Bank of Scotland actually said:

Scotland has managed to withstand a sharp decline in the number of start-up businesses in the last five years. The findings of a Bank of Scotland study reveal that 3% fewer new businesses were started in Scotland in November 2016 compared to November 2011, while the UK figure dropped by 19%. (See table 1) Regionally, the data from BankSearch shows that Wales has seen the largest decline in new start-ups, falling by over a quarter (26%). England has also been hit hard, declining by a fifth (20%). As this is where the greatest volume of new start businesses are launched, this equates to nearly 100,000 fewer new businesses created in 2016.’ 


 In contrast to England and Wales, the view in Scotland is much more encouraging, with almost half (14 of 32) of Scottish regions seeing growth in the number of start-up businesses over the last five years.’

 Here’s the table:

Table 1: Total Number of Start Ups in the UK over the last 5 Years – UK
Ranked by 5 Year % Change
UK Mainland Nov ’11 Nov ’16 5 Year Change 5 Year Change %
Scotland 29,132 28,222 -910 -3.1%
England 494,614 395,088 -99,526 -20.1%
Wales 23,195 17,089 -6,106 -26.3%
UK Mainland 549,028 443,805 -105,223 -19.2%
12 Month Rolled Data

Source:  BankSearch Business Start Ups

Quite a different story, I think you’ll agree. Now, back to the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland, I can find no sign of the ‘research’ on their site http://www.fsb.org.uk/standing-up-for-you/national-offices/scotland/press-releases

Until I can see the FSB actual report with its methodology, if it has one, I can’t say whether it’s reliable or not. If you can find it, please send me the link.

*Thanks to Broadbield – self-selecting samples therefore invalid:  http://www.fsb.org.uk/benefits/big-voice



20 thoughts on “Updated: Business Confidence in Scotland: BBC Scotland selectively mis-represent Bank of Scotland Research to paint picture of gloom

  1. Bryan Weir January 11, 2017 / 10:53 am


    The BBC’s relentless and unashamed bias disgusts me. I cannot understand how they managed to find so many dishonest and unprincipled “journalists” to work for them. These people are no better than those who worked for the Stasi.

    Worryingly, it is quite clear that they see our posts here and elsewhere. They should have a look at themselves in a mirror and try to look themselves in the eye!

    They know that we know what they are doing but it is of no concern to them because, like the Stasi, they are currently untouchable and they know it. They have support from on high.

    It is quite depressing that the once respected BBC has been content to lower itself to this level.


    • Robert Graham January 12, 2017 / 2:03 pm

      agree with your post , I have never in my life encountered so many people and organisations openly telling downright Lies , recently the pretence of at least some semblance of the truth has been dropped , why bother , there is no one in the media who has the guts or a spine to even attempt to correct all this misinformation , so where does this leave us when we are unable to trust any story without verifying it on other sources , i believe this was once the job of investigative reporters , a sad loss for all of us when democracy is being openly twisted by those who shout the loudest and have the deepest pockets to drown out any alternative opinion .


    • Jimbo January 12, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      I think the BBC was only respected because folk weren’t aware of what they were really up to. People like John Robertson, Stu, Campbell, GA Ponsonby, to name but a few, plus easy access to the truth via the internet has changed all that – and now many people see the BBC for what it actually is – the propaganda arm of the British government ruling elite.


  2. johnrobertson834 January 11, 2017 / 11:20 am

    I wonder if they’ve managed to to self-deceive enough to believe they are telling the truth? What Sartre called bad faith. Some are just presenters of course.


    • Bryan Weir January 11, 2017 / 11:53 am

      Yes, some are just presenters but most of them are journalists who also presenters. Clearly Jackie Bird has come say in what she is reporting. Her interview of Alex Salmond pre #indyref1 in which she did everything but scratch his eyes out and spit in his face comes to mind. ;o)


      • johnrobertson834 January 11, 2017 / 2:53 pm

        Indeed, some clearly are part of the elite setting the agenda.


  3. Andrew Ure January 12, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Ken what, you’re right good.


  4. L v cordingley January 13, 2017 / 8:51 am

    We the citizens of Scotland are at long last ,ending the abusive relationship with the BBC . No longer responding ” Pavlovian ” style to the glitzy pseudo professional presentation of their propaganda


  5. hettyforindy January 13, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    Thanks for this article. I was reading the other day about journalists being locked up and murdered, but can’t remember where, a country in S.America I think. They are being persecuted for telling it how it is, ie corruption in government etc. (I only just realised that S.America is named as an extension of America), it is certainly being destroyed by the neigbours in the north.

    Those working for state run media in the UKOK are not journalists, but they are following orders, they have no gumption, no integrity. They are an insult to those around the world who are trying to report on the many injustices going on.

    Here is some journalism.



  6. Michael January 13, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    I disagree with your article on the basis that the FSB report was quite easy to find ( http://www.fsb.org.uk/docs/default-source/Publications/fsb-scotland-sbi-q4-2016.pdf?sfvrsn=4 ) and that the BBC news article actually reports the findings from both the FSB and BoS studies in the same article.

    It’s also worth noting that the two studies are measuring different indicators – a point which is explained in the BBC article, which can be found here:

    While you may disagree with the FSB study,or simply not like their findings, you can hardly call out this as an example of BBC bias when they have simply reported the findings from the two studies.


    • johnrobertson834 January 13, 2017 / 5:51 pm

      Thanks for your comments.
      There’s a problem with the FSB survey being called research in that it was a self-selecting sample thus not representative.
      THE BBC have a charter which insists on balance and their reporting of the BoS research was selective and not representative of that either.


  7. John January 14, 2017 / 3:59 pm

    Thanks for the article John , heard the broadcast on Good Morning Scotland and what always amazes me is the enthusiasm for a Scotland bad story that always exudes from Gary Robertson and company , they relish in reporting it . I always listen to the news on Radio 4 before tuning into GMS and I can say they seem to take reports of business etc.. very much more in their stride , they don’t seem to go looking for a reason to blame the UK government in the way BBC Scotland goes after the Scottish Government at every opportunity . BBC Scotland needs a massive clear-out , their bias is there for all to hear , be it their so -called journalists or their so-called presenters , there’s no chance of that though , they are bosom buddies from the top down !


    • johnrobertson834 January 15, 2017 / 8:54 am

      Yes, they get away with more and more hypnotically repeated distortions than Reporting Scotland do. I just can’t listen.


      • John January 15, 2017 / 9:09 am

        I know what you mean John about not listening , but I hold my nose and listen , know thy enemy !

        Liked by 1 person

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