Herald leaves out the wee word ‘big’ to mislead with headline: ‘Scottish businesses facing multi-million-pound rates bill’


Bias by omission is a well-know strategy and the Herald article yesterday on business rates repeats the trick throughout to suggest that all Scottish businesses will be suffering when, as they only mention in the 21st of 21 comments, that 100 000 smaller businesses will pay no business rates at all! So, we see repeated mention of ‘shops’ and ‘offices’ when the comment is only relevant to larger businesses.

Further, the headline suggests ‘multi-million rates bill’ yet is only able to refer to a total bill, for an unquantified number of large businesses, of £127.8 million. How many large businesses are there in Scotland? How big are they? What are their profit-levels? None of this information is offered to help us contextualise the claims.

I can answer the first question. There are 2 365 large (250+ employees) enterprises operating in Scotland.


So, these 2 365 large businesses will be sharing the additional total cost of £127.8 million and thus paying, on average but, in reality, according to their size, around £54 000. It would be interesting to know how that figure compares with the executive pay, bonuses and shareholder dividends these companies are quietly content to pay out.

Interestingly no opposition party representative is introduced to slam this SNP initiative which is of course designed to raise revenue for public services.

Finally, when I read:

 ‘Meanwhile, offices face stumping up some £8.15m more than they would in England, while pubs will fork out £850,000 extra and utilities some £11.85m more.’

I’m reminded of regular media commentator and former Tory MSP, Brian Monteith, who has been telling us repeatedly that we should not be defending NHS Scotland by making comparisons with NHS England because it’s meaningless ‘whitabootery’. Tory hypocrisy? Surely not.


This is clearly a move to make the Scottish taxation system more equitable and more progressive. There is no discussion in the article of this key factor in enabling readers to put the issue in the wider context necessary to understand it.


6 thoughts on “Herald leaves out the wee word ‘big’ to mislead with headline: ‘Scottish businesses facing multi-million-pound rates bill’

  1. Alasdair Macdonald February 6, 2018 / 10:00 am

    Sales of newspapers like The Herald are now so low that they are more beholden to advertising than ever. Regularly, we see now pieces which in appearance are reportage, but then we notice the announcement that it is advertising. At least that is reasonably moral and honest.

    However, there are other pieces which are presented as reporting which are, in fact heavily biased towards some advertiser’s position. We saw recently, and somewhat amusingly, how Irn Bru got lots of publicity. But, in this case, we have the distortion and often, the simply ignoring of counter-news.

    I think the influence of advertisers on the Herald was the dismissal of Graeme Speir’s for questioning the running of ‘The Queen’s Eleven’ and the subsequent sacking, from another title, of Angela Haggerty for expressing support for Mr Speirsas a fellow trade unionist.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Clydebuilt February 6, 2018 / 3:20 pm

      Alasdair . . . I thought Spiers was sacked by the Herald in the 90’s for decrying Scots showing their pleasure at Scotland winning the Grand Slam . . . I remember Spiers scribbled something about small country mentality.he was gone soon after. . . . Maybe he was sacked again . . . In his case the more sackings the better. . .

      In last few years Spearsy had a piece talking up another Rangers fan . . . Woops meant St. Mirren fan, Chick Young , who was facing being retired by the BBC. . .

      Liked by 1 person

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