BBC Scotland and the Insider business magazine both reported on the Bank of Scotland’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI), issued two days ago. Here’s what Insider chose to emphasise:
‘Private sector output expands at fastest pace in five months. Scottish private sector companies ended the first quarter of 2018 with a renewed increase in output, according to the Bank of Scotland. The bank’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) revealed that higher business activity was underpinned by a moderate rise in new orders. Encouraged by the upturn in demand, firms hired additional staff to cope with the greater workload. Finally, an optimistic outlook towards activity over the coming 12 months was retained in March. Positive sentiment was attributed to planned company expansions, new product launches and forecasts of new business wins.’
Here’s how BBC Scotland summarised the same report, yesterday morning, six times, during BBC Breakfast:
‘Ouput from Scotland’s private firms rose by a small amount last month combining two years of either mild contraction or very weak growth. The monthly purchasing mangers’ index said growth continued to be (curled lip) weaker than across the UK as a whole. It turned mildly positive in March due to the service sector seeing a rise in orders while on balance, manufacturing firms reported output was down. Confidence in recruitment were (sic) up and firms were found to be putting up prices as costs rose.’
It’s difficult to believe these are reports on the same document. Remember Insider is by no means a pro-independence news agency. The miserable, grudging account by BBC Scotland can only be the product of an agenda aimed at talking down the Scottish economy.
The choice of ‘small’, ‘mild contraction’, ‘very weak growth’, ‘weaker’ and ‘mildly positive’ in the space of only a few seconds, combined with the Graham Stewart’s flat delivery and disappointed facial expressions, reminded strongly of the Reverend I M Jolly.