Labour’s Holyrood leader Iain Gray came under increased pressure today after Skills Development Scotland issued a fresh statement rebutting his claim that the agency planned to change their name to ‘Scotland – The Works’.

On Thursday Labour’s Holyrood leader accused the agency of planning to “waste” £555,000 on a name change and £1.68 million on marketing for the re-brand.  Mr Gray had mocked First Minister Alex Salmond who had been unaware of any such plans; Mr Gray accused the SNP leader of failing to “get a grip” of the agency.

It subsequently emerged that Skills Development Scotland had decided against any name change two months previously on 30th March.

Labour then claimed to have a document dated April 27th proving that such a plan was actively being considered.

However the agency has now issued a fresh statement explaining that the 27th April document was prepared for a senior management team discussion to be held two days later.  The meeting, on 29th April, re-affirmed the 30th March decision and decided that all existing brands were to be incorporated under the Skills Development Scotland name.

Responding to Newsnet Scotland questions a Skills Development Scotland spokesman said:
“The document prepared on April 27 2010 was discussed by the Senior Management Team on April 29 2010.
“The decision taken, in line with the decision on the 30 March 2010, was to consolidate all existing brands under the Skills Development Scotland corporate brand.”

The document is key to the Labour leader’s claims.  Newsnet Scotland emailed Mr Gray’s Holyrood office at 12:00 Friday and requested help in locating a copy of the document, said by the BBC’s Brian Taylor to have been published – however, to date, we have received no reply.

We also asked the Labour leader the following questions:
"Can you confirm that you are standing by your claim that SDS, as of yesterday [Thursday] at mid-day, were actively planning to change their name to Scotland the Works?"

"Can you confirm whether anyone from the Labour party has contacted SDS in order to confirm the veracity and authenticity of the 27th April documents?"

Thus far we have yet to receive an acknowledgment of, or an answer to, our questions.

Skills Development Scotland was set up in 2008 and replaced four other quangos. Bringing them all under the Skills Development Scotland brand is the final stage in ensuring they all have the same corporate identity.

The £555,000, claimed by Iain Gray to be for a new name, is actually to be spent destroying SDS’s four predecessors’ old stocks of materials and replacing them with stationery and leaflets carrying the SDS logo.
Fifty-five offices formerly used by Careers Scotland and Learndirect Scotland – two of the defunct quangos replaced by SDS – are to get new signs with SDS branding.
The four old quangos’ websites will be disabled and users will instead be directed to the SDS site, which has been redesigned and given new content.


# Lian 2010-05-29 00:25
Well done Newsnet, keep the kettle boiling
# Lian 2010-05-29 01:33
And keep asking the questions for us all
# RTP 2010-05-29 07:14
Yes keep asking and also Brian Taylor at BBC has a lot of questions to answer,there has been to many smears and innuendos coming from Gray and BBC.
# cadgers 2010-05-29 09:20
Well done to all at Newsnet. I must admit I am rather disappointed with Brian Taylor, it seems professional journalism comes second to a bbc job!
# The Laird 2010-05-29 09:21
Roll on FMQ's next week!!
# Astonished 2010-05-29 10:53
The laird - While I agree with you, is it not shameful that we have to wait that long ?

Only Newsnet appear to be pursuing this story.
# Astonished 2010-05-29 10:54
Here is what I put on Brian's blog (As it is critical I doubt it will get past the censors) :

What would we do without "NEWSNET SCOTLAND" ?

Keep up the good work online Ed.

"Any news on labour's fabled report, Brian ?" asked Tartan seer @187.

Is Brian Taylor's quote "Hard Questions must be asked" the most risible statement ever made ? I think so.
# brusque 2010-05-29 11:56
Why are the media not demanding to be shown this "proof" that Ian Gray was waving arounf at FMQs? it could have been his shopping list for all we know, yet Brian Taylor has accepted without question, that Gray has such "proof".

Brian Taylor need to fish or cut bait here!! if he has been privvy to said "proof" then HE should publish it, and if he has not seen the proof, he needs to tell us all that Ian Gray's "allegations" could well be something dreamed up at Labour HQ.

Who knows? it is possible that someone (or many "someones") within the Labour Party is looking for a way to ease Iain Gray out of his Leadership role; and how better to do it than by making him look like a man who has lost the plot?. If speculation is right, there are at least two contenders if there is a vacancy:-)
# Holebender 2010-05-29 13:04
He doesn't need any help being made to look like a numpty!
# Lian 2010-05-29 21:29
Now now.
# Clare 2010-05-30 00:06
Brusque, are you serious? "Someone" was looking to "ease" McConnell out. "Someone" else was looking to bury Wendy Alexander. (They helped by sending emails and other hot stuff to the Sunday Herald in order to do serious damage to her.) You ask if its possible. It isn't just possible. It is absolutely the norm for Labour in Scotland. You do not function within Labour in Scotland unless you're carrying a knife to stab someone else in the back with! (Another reason why I do wish MacAskill would just jail these people for five years on the spot ;) )
# rodmac 2010-05-29 15:38
One thing for certainty. If Gray and the Labour party keep publicly coming up with "Facts" and publicly using these said "Facts" to attack the SNP with,and subsequently having their MSM and BBC supporters report the "Shock,Horror,Di sgust"of these "Facts" in support of Labours fake affrontedness, before finding that it is widely known that such "Facts" are indeed a pile of pish! It will eventually begin to penetrate their rather thick skulls, that not only are Labour making complete arses of themselves. But that Labour have made them into complete tools too,for glibly and willingly accepting all that is Labour without checking their facts!

When the Media realise that they are continually ridiculed for being idiots by their blind association to this corrupt bunch of losers who share one brain cell. The Media will eventually start to realise that the general public no longer believe a word that they report anymore and view them as unthinking Serfs!
When that day eventually dawns, Watch the Shit hit the fan!!!
# Holebender 2010-05-29 16:45
The problem is, until that day dawns, enough of the voting public will accept these "facts" at face value to seriously hurt the SNP vote.
# G.Macp 2010-05-29 16:58
I would have to agree with you! Until the press/media are brought to heel, they will continue to spout this drivel and the public will believe! Until it can be shown that it is all untruths and propaganda!

I so long for that day to hurry along! Newsnet look like they are giving it a go!! Well done guys!!
# m4rkyboy 2010-05-29 17:06
The point you make is a good one,our only defence against this is attack.We have to expose the smears,lies and hypocrisy to educate the public about the tricks and tactics being used to turn them against us.
We all know that the media is biased to the extreme;the implications to our cause are obvious.Why do we not use this to our advantage as a counter smear?Newsnet are doing a fantastic job of informing us,yet,i can't help but feel that this is not enough;we need to take to the streets with the information that is readily available to us online and share it with people.We need to fight back.
# Lian 2010-05-29 23:43
A rod manufactured by ourselves
# SEUMAS31 2010-05-30 13:47
Alec just ignored Elmer's questions ,which would suggest he was not aware that Elmer was talking mince,perhaps all will be revealed on Thursday
# wee folding bike 2010-05-30 16:38
It's difficult for the First Minister to be prepared for a made up argument.
# Andrew 2010-05-31 07:23

sorry if this is old news

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