Dear Sir Ian,
Misleading statistics used by the Scottish Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery.
I write to you regarding the above matter.
You may be aware of recent media reports concerning statistics that were used by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, John Swinney MSP.
In a graphic posted online, Mr Swinney made various claims about the effectiveness of wearing masks to prevent Covid, most of which appear to be unfounded. International fact checking websites have previously investigated some of the claims and found them to be at least partly false.
After reports emerged in the Scottish press, the Deputy First Minister, via a spokesperson, refused to provide a source for the information in the graphic. Neither was it deleted.
The First Minister subsequently said she would “reflect” on the use of the graphic but 24 hours later, it still had not been deleted, nor had the Scottish Government provided a source for the information.
At the time of this statement these statistics were not available in the public domain. They appear to be unverified and misleading, at best. The Scottish Government have been asked to release the statistics repeatedly and refused to do so. Neither have they formally corrected the information and deleted the erroneous statistics.
The correct use of statistics is vital, particularly when issuing public health guidance during a pandemic. As such, I would be grateful if you could investigate this matter and take appropriate action as you see fit.
Annie Wells MSP
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care
Response from Sir David Norgrove to Annie Wells – July 2021