Scottish businesses report much greater optimism about their futures for the third quarter in a row but the Fraser of Allander ‘Institute’ can’t help scratching their ‘buts’.


(c) Elsoar

I’ve only just reported:

Scottish businesses continue to show signs of health with insolvencies down 23% as the Scottish economy holds strong

In April, I reported:

Scottish businesses showing signs of greater health than those in the rest of the UK

Now a Scottish Chambers of Commerce survey has reported:

‘Optimism among most Scottish businesses continued to improve during the third quarter, reaching levels higher than a year ago in construction, financial and business services, manufacturing and tourism.’

Notice that optimism is right across every sector of the economy other than shopping!

The survey was done ‘with’ the dread Fraser of Allander ‘Institute’ who just cannot report good news without endless ‘buts’ leading to blatant fibs about ‘policy uncertainty’ and a ‘fragile economy’ somehow being major concerns for business even if they are reporting overall optimism higher than a year ago for the second time and for the third straight quarter in a row. This is propaganda masquerading as balance. It would be interesting to see the questionnaire. I wonder how often questions prompt the respondents to find something negative to report.

If you have a strong stomach you might like to read the report at Insider or anywhere else where it’s been largely copied without any alternative analysis and count how often they follow a piece of good news with an unsubstantiated qualification just in case you might get cheered up.

Also, just how much is optimism up? They must have a percentage figure for the main question on this. I can’t find it anywhere. Why haven’t they reported it? Might it be too good news for us Scots to bear?

Footnote: Prof David Bell ‘friend’ of the FoAI has just been outed as a member of the pro-union ‘The Islands’ group. See:

Footnote 2: Here are some of the actual figures from the full report. Notably there is no evidence that respondents were asked about policy uncertainties or a fragile economy.

91.7% of construction businesses indicated that their levels of staffing either increased or remained the same over the quarter,

81.1% of businesses in the construction sector highlighted business optimism either increased or remained the same.

40.4% of businesses in the tourism sector experienced an increase in profitability over the quarter. This is the highest figure recorded since the same quarter in 2015

.34.1% businesses in the financial & business services sector reported an increase in profits over the quarter,




5 thoughts on “Scottish businesses report much greater optimism about their futures for the third quarter in a row but the Fraser of Allander ‘Institute’ can’t help scratching their ‘buts’.

  1. Alasdair Macdonald October 26, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    I think as you and other sites are doing is to publish data on these various ‘experts’ and their connections as quickly as possible so that as many people as possible are aware of the stance of these individuals and to put their ‘expertise’ into context.

    Many of them are reputable academics, but, often they are being quoted on areas which is not their speciality.

    David Bell probably does know a lot about various aspects of economics – certainly more than I do, but how does his knowledge of pedagogy stand in comparison to mine? – but, when it comes to, say, gardening, his opinion matters less than, say my mother-in-law’s or several colleagues who have green fingers.

    Even in their own fields many of these experts when being interviewed will omit the kinds of contextual and cautionary frameworks they would put on academically published works. They are not lying; they are simply not telling the whole truth. And, if what they say fits the editorial bias, they will be on the editor’s speed dial for an instant soundbite of punditry – and regular fees and hospitality.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ludo Thierry October 26, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Hi John – Seems to be an interesting relationship continuing to develop between the SNP Scottish Govt and Carwyn Jones’ Welsh Lab Govt in Cardiff (I call it Welsh Lab deliberately). Earlier in the week we had Carwyn Jones’ Welsh Govt bringing forward their legislation for Minimum Unit Pricing (a policy disparaged previously in the Scottish Parlt by the north brit lab plonkers).

    Then, today, we had a joint statement from the SNP Scottish Finance Minister and his Welsh counterpart calling for big changes to the Westminster tory govt austerity programme.

    Also, yesterday – didn’t get any coverage beyond Wales I don’t believe – but Carwyn Jones has been calling for a Wales immigration policy (similar to what SNP Scottish Govt has been advocating even well before the impending brexit disaster).

    Anyway – Apparently Corbyn has been doing his usual BritNat best and rubbishing the idea echoing his tory BritNat colleagues (see below from beeb Wales site):

    First Minister Carwyn Jones has said there could be a case for a Welsh visa system if the UK government caps immigration numbers after Brexit.

    But Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said allowing the Welsh Government to set its own immigration rules would be “fraught with difficulties”.

    Responding at the time to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration, the UK government said different rules for different areas would cause difficulties for employers

    The new development is that Carwyn Jones’ position (and, by logical extension, that of the SNP Scottish Govt – and of the Scottish Parlt) has received heavyweight endorsement from the Oxford University Migration Observatory (see below):

    But in its latest report published on Wednesday, Oxford University’s Migration Observatory said although regional visa rules “would complicate the management of migration policy for the Home Office, the argument that they would be ‘unenforceable’ is not well founded.”

    The report argues that a regional quota system could either be operated by the Home Office or by the Welsh Government.

    Madeleine Sumption, the Migration Observatory’s Director, said the existence of the Welsh devolution made it “easier to envisage” such a system in Wales, whereas “the English regions currently don’t have the political institutions that would be needed for democratic input into migration policy”

    I feel that there could be some useful mileage still to come from this obviously good working relationship between the SNP Scottish Govt and Carwyn Jones’ Welsh Govt over the coming period – on brexit issues and beyond. There is the added benefit that the north brit lab accounting unit and Corbyn himself clearly hate what is happening!

    Cheers, Ludo


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