Dear Sir Robert,
Further to my letter of 14th November, I am writing once again with regard to the serial misuse and mismanagement of a recently debunked energy statistic by a succession of Scottish National Party and Scottish Green Party ministers and politicians.
On Sunday 27th November, a senior member of SNP staff posted an image of leaflets being delivered to households despite their containing the debunked figure that Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind potential. The tweet can be found here.
The leaflets did not appear to be Kirkcaldy-specific so could be delivered across Scotland. It begs the question how many of these leaflets have been printed and continue to be delivered despite it being known that they contain false information.
Last Friday it was also brought to my attention that this statistic was being used on different leaflets in St Andrews. The leaflet can be found here:
The continued promotion of false information through these fresh deliveries to households is obviously concerning. Can I therefore ask if the UK Statistics Authority intends to issue any advice to the Scottish National Party? How should households which have received this information be informed that it is not in fact true?
Even after the statistic had been debunked, on Tuesday 15th November, SNP MP Ronnie Cowan said in the House of Commons that he would “stand by” the claim that Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind potential. On the same day, in the Scottish Parliament, Green Minister Lorna Slater refused to confirm that the claim had always been bogus, instead saying that “it is out of date”.
I fully support the expansion of Scotland’s renewable sector and I desperately want to see Scotland fulfil our renewable potential. Nevertheless, the strong case for that is not helped when the Scottish Government and SNP use figures which leave them open to the charge of misleading and misrepresenting.
I would appreciate input from the UK Statistics Authority as to how this can be corrected and avoided in future.
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP to Sir Robert Chote – Scottish renewable energy statistics
Response from Sir Robert Chote to Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP – Scottish renewable energy statistics