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Pre-release Access to Economic Statistics (Committee Bill Proposal)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th September 2019.

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Photo of Dean Lockhart Dean Lockhart Conservative

I thank the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee clerking team, the Scottish Parliament information centre and the witnesses who contributed to the committee’s valuable inquiry.

I will address the specific issue of pre-release access shortly, but I first want to mention the wider backdrop to the debate, which is the increasing number of concerns about the level of transparency and governance under the Scottish National Party Government. Just this weekend, there were reports that the Scottish Government has refused to answer freedom of information requests to reveal details of how £130 million of taxpayers’ money has been invested under the Scottish growth scheme. That comes on top of the recent widespread concerns over the level and accuracy of information that the Scottish Government has provided in relation to the crisis at Ferguson Marine Engineering.

That should come as no surprise from a Government that, last year, was criticised by its own Scottish Information Commissioner for secretive and biased responses to freedom of information requests from the media and Opposition parties.