Robin McAlpine and Reality

by Graham Day – a Labour Party member in Falkirk

The Jimmy Reid Foundation’s Robin McAlpine appeared on Radio Scotland’s John Beattie show on Tuesday afternoon, to discuss Stirling Management School’s report Constitutional Change and Inequality in Scotland. In fact he mentioned that document only once, instead relying on his own blizzard of statistics. It is unfortunate then that they seemed to be wrong.

Claim: “Britain has the highest gap in earnings between men and women in the EU”

Figures from the European Commission show that, while bad, the UK gender pay gap is better than Estonia, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the solidly “Nordic” country of Finland.

Claim 1

Claim: The UK is the “second lowest paid economy of the advanced economies”

No-one can ignore the dismal extent of low pay in the UK. However, figures from the OECD show that the incidence of low pay in the UK is lower than in the Republic of Korea, the USA, Israel, Ireland and Poland.

2

And the UK minimum wage, inadequate as it is, is one of the highest listed by the OECD.

3

Claim: “In the last thirty years there’s only two [advanced economies] which have seen a reduction in industrial production. France saw a reduction of about 4% and the UK which has seen a reduction of about 35%”.

It should be no surprise at this point to discover that OECD figures show that UK industrial production has in fact risen over the last thirty years. As has that of France.

Oh, and the one mention of the Stirling Management School report that he was on the programme to discuss? That was to tell us that:

“What this report from Stirling University is very important for and is very useful, is explaining to people that you don’t fix inequality by having a bad economy and then transferring some money from those at the top to those at the bottom, that doesn’t fix anything.”

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