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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 Jamie Halcro Johnston Jamie Halcro Johnston Conservative

I will not, at this stage.

Those organisations are also often called on to comment at short notice. It seems a peculiar argument that ministers should be informed while others are not. If ministers cannot prepare informed statements without pre-release access, they must equally accept that it becomes impossible for others to challenge their statements without having a full understanding of the facts.

The committee’s proposals deal with those dual issues of fairness and good practice, which should, in short, be the starting point for the regulation of pre-release access. We have heard from a number of members of the committee, as well as from a number of other members from around the chamber. My colleague Dean Lockhart spoke about the Government’s wider duty to be transparent and accountable to the chamber and to the people we represent. What is proposed would end the unjustified disparity between the Scottish and UK Governments.