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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 Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

This debate will not improve GDP—the very stat that we happen to be discussing—one iota.

The second reason why I regret the debate is that Derek Mackay offered a compromise option, which evidently has been rejected. I say to those who are asking the Government to shift and asking for small changes to be made that those changes were offered and a compromise approach was provided but that was rejected.

Members have made much of the example of the Office for National Statistics. The committee’s position seems to be heavily influenced by evidence heard during its inquiry that the ONS and the Bank of England have ended PRA to their statistics. Of course, that ignores the fact that PRA is still granted to statistics produced by other UK Government departments. Since the ONS ended PRA to its stats on 1 July 2017, only the Bank of England has followed suit. I repeat that Whitehall departments still operate with 24 hours’ PRA as set out in the Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order 2008. That instrument has not been changed either.