Statistical gap

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George Kerevan’s musings (Perspective, 25 January) about the apparent discrepancy between a reported reduction in the number of job vacancies and an apparent increase in those in work did not resolve the issue.

It does seem to be the case that there are fewer jobs, ­attributed by some to Holyrood’s focus on cutting public spending consequent on reduced funding ­coming from Westminster, but if the private sector’s workforce is expanding by the stated 4,300 per month, then the discrepancy gap is inexplicable.

Asserting that the error lies in unreliable returns from employing bodies suggests we cannot believe any “official” figures ever. Which means we must reject the all too frequent publication of propaganda numbers about this and that – for ­example the statement that the reduction of corporation tax to 20 per cent could increase employment by 19,000.

The nature of any increased employment must be clear – how many jobs are permanent, and how many short-term and/or part-time?

If people retire, their pensions and benefits will be at some cost to the public purse – how does this fit into the job vacancies picture? – and their former jobs may simply cease to exist.

Then there are those who take the courageous self-­employment route – into what category are they allocated?

It’s all too vague even for the Holyrood and Westminster spinners.

Joe Darby