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by Louise Wilson
06 January 2022
John Swinney reported to UK Statistics Authority over Covid claims

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John Swinney reported to UK Statistics Authority over Covid claims

Scottish Labour has reported the deputy first minister to the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) for claims made about Covid rates in Scotland.

Jackie Baillie, Labour’s deputy leader, said the statistics cited by John Swinney on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme “contrast sharply with the narrative presented”.

Swinney claimed on Tuesday that Covid rates were lower in Scotland than in England due to tighter restrictions.

He pointed to Office for National Statistics data that showed one in 40 Scots having Covid, compared to one in 25 in England.

However, the figures – which were released on 31 December – were actually for the week ending Friday 23 December, before restrictions on large gatherings, hospitality and indoor contact sports started in Scotland.

Baillie has called on Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UKSA, to investigate the matter.

She said: “Public trust in the actions of the Scottish Government is of paramount importance, but it risks being eroded due to selective and erroneous use of statistics by senior figures such as Mr Swinney.

“The Scottish Government has a duty to present the people of Scotland with the facts as they are, not as the government would wish them to be.”

She also urged Sir David to encourage Public Health Scotland to release its data on patients in hospital with Covid-19 compared to those admitted because of the virus.

Nicola Sturgeon defended her deputy during her update to the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

She said Swinney had “used the most up to date ONS data” at the time after Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross accused Swinney of “using misleading data to make petty political points”.

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