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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

SE Workshop: ‘Selling your business? Discover why ERS and Mediascape sold to their employees'

Attend this workshop to learn how employee ownership offers a tax efficient exit route that protects your company’s legacy while providing a competitive price for the business.  Could it be the right succession solution for you?

Aimed at business owners considering an exit from their company, this session will give attendees the opportunity to hear direct from:
·        Employee owned contaminated land remediation specialist ERS 
·        Employee owned audio-visual solutions company Mediascape
·        Succession and employee ownership specialists Bruce Farquhar and Ewan Regan from Anderson Strathern
Book your place on the workshop website.

This is the first in a series of 4 workshops exploring succession planning and employee ownership. View the full programme of workshops.

The Studio, Glasgow
Selling your business? Discover why ERS and Mediascape sold to their employees.

27 September 2018
Law Society, Edinburgh
Selling your business? Discover why Fitwise and Jerba Campervans sold to their employees.

23 October 2018
Scottish Enterprise, Dundee
Selling your business? Discover why Merlin ERD and STAR Dundee sold to their employees.

20 February 2019
The Lighthouse, Glasgow
Selling your business? Discover why Auchrannie and P4P sold to their employees.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Tidal power and wave energy can create up to 30,000 jobs

THOUSANDS of jobs could be created across rural Scotland and millions generated for the economy if major new marine energy projects get the go-ahead after passing the Government’s viability tests. 

Experts have predicted that a tidal power and wave energy boom is there for the taking during the next twenty years if politicians on both sides of the border seize the initiative.

The think tank Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has concluded that marine energy industries can meet the requirements of the UK Government's "triple test" of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, lowering the current cost to produced electricity and demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.

The group's report said that the tidal stream industry could generate £1.4 billion cumulatively for the UK and support  22,600 jobs by 2040, focused mostly in Scotland, Wales, and the South West of England.

At the same time, wave energy could contribute £4 billion to the UK economy and support 8,100 jobs by 2040.

However, more must be done to develop technologies which remain at the experimental stage, with investment needed to made them viable commercially.

Around 20 tidal power technology developers are currently active in the UK, with functioning turbine now in place or under construction in Scotland in the Pentland Firth and off the coast of Shetland Shetland.

The report warns there is a "very real danger" that the UK could hand over its global lead to other countries as global momentum grows in these countries.

Tidal streams and wave power generators work by extracting the energy contained in the ocean, but in different ways.

Tidal energy is created when tides are squeezed through narrow channels, as in the Pentland Firth. Tidal turbines – essentially much more robust wind turbines – are placed on the sea bed or suspended from floating platforms, and rotate as these powerful currents flow past.

Because tides are predictable, this technology is able to provide electricity in a way which other intermittent renewables, like wind and solar, are not.

Wave energy is more complex – the main challenge being that devices must weather winter storms and still be able to produce power: in Orkney, where they've been tested, winter waves can reach 60ft.

There are many different designs of wave energy converter, from floating buoys to hinged flaps which sit on the sea bed and even floating ‘sea snake’ designs.

Most use the movement of waves to compress liquid and create hydraulic pressure to generate electricity. The global market for marine energy is potentially enormous: wherever there is sea, these devices could be deployed.

Ore said that to benefit from this growth the UK needs to present a clear success story of technology and project development in the UK, where UK companies can develop and showcase their expertise.

Dr Stephen Wyatt, ORE Catapult's research & innovation director, said: "The findings of our research are encouraging, with the potential for significant economic benefits to be realised from the UK marine energy resources.

"We will now continue our work with the tidal stream and wave energy industries, as well as relevant government departments, to discuss these findings and establish the best way forward for future support that will enable the UK to capture such advantage, in terms of growing our economy, creating jobs and exporting goods and services all over the world."

Between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of the economic benefit in and jobs is expected to be generated in coastal areas, many of which are in need economic regeneration.

The study also found that marine energy technologies have the potential to displace natural gas generation on the grid and to reduce CO2 emissions.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "This landmark report clearly demonstrates the enormous potential of our wave and tidal energy industries - should they be able to access the right support from Government."

Ms Smith added: "This report shows that with even modest global deployment the sector could rapidly reduce its costs, drive economic growth in rural communities and export around the world.

"We now need government and industry to work together to enable projects to come forward, capture learning from projects and deliver the benefits of wave and tidal technologies."

Sian Wilson, senior energy & infrastructure manager at Crown Estate Scotland, the public body that manages leasing of seabed to support offshore renewables, said: "This new study shows that tidal now also has proven technology and can benefit consumers, communities and the climate, with real potential for new jobs and economic growth."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Our renewable energy sector is stronger than ever and marine energy will continue to play an important  role as we develop Scotland’s potential for generating clean power.

“Despite damaging policy and support changes from the UK Government, we continue to harness, galvanize and support Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure.

"Our Scottish Energy Strategy will build on our achievements to date and on Scotland’s capacity for innovation. Renewable energy will play a hugely significant role in powering the future and this strategy will ensure the correct strategic decisions are taken to support the renewables sector as it goes from strength to strength."

Source : The Herald

New bank will transform economy, insists Sturgeon

The first minister has said the proposed Scottish National Investment Bank can be “transformational” for the economy.

Nicola Sturgeon said the bank would support businesses of all sizes and could invest in infrastructure projects.

She was speaking to delegates at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s annual forum. The outline for the new bank was published at the end of February and the Scottish government is expected to report this month on a more detailed implementation plan.

“This will be genuinely transformational for the economy and society,” Ms Sturgeon said. “It can become a cornerstone of the low carbon and high productivity economy we all want to see.”

She pledged to continue investing in helping companies to innovate as well as to grow their international sales. She also reiterated the government’s commitment to opening a Scottish investment centre in Paris to promote international trade. That would follow on from outlets in London, Dublin and Berlin which have opened since the Brexit referendum.

Robert “Woody” Johnson, America’s ambassador to Britain, told the meeting there were more than 600 US companies operating in Scotland and collectively they employed almost 100,000 people. Mr Johnson, 71, is the great grandson of one of the founders of Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical, consumer goods and medical devices group. He said that after Brexit, President Trump had “made it pretty clear we want a free trade deal and want to get it going pretty quickly”.

Source : The Times 

Nicola Sturgeon maps out £54.5 million route to ending fuel poverty

The Energy Efficient Scotland plans hope to crack down on heating or eating and emissions by 2040

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to spend £54.5 million to tackle fuel poverty and slash greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland.

The First Minister announced the plans at the All Energy Conference in Glasgow on May 2 as she launched her ‘Route Map to an Energy Efficient Scotland”, outlining action to be taken to make the country greener by 2040.

To do that, Sturgeon is calling for all homes to be improved to meet an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least Band C in a bid to make homes warmer and more energy efficient.

The route map will require private landlords to achieve an EPC rating of Band E by April 2020 at change of tenancy before progressing to Band D by 2022 with all private rented properties needing to achieve Band E by March 2022 and Band D by March 2025 respectively.

Up to £49m of the funding will be allocated to provide energy efficient measures to Scottish households in line with the Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Schemes in 2018/19.

The further £5.5m will support local authorities with the Energy Efficient Scotland: Transition Programme to expand energy efficiency strategies and cover installation costs for social landlords. The Scottish government has also introduced a cashback incentive to the SME loan scheme, offering cashback on up to 30 per cent of energy efficiency works up to £10,000.

“The Scottish government’s energy efficiency programme will help ensure all our buildings are warmer, greener and more energy efficient,” said the First Minister.

“The major investment in this programme highlights our clear commitment to ensuring that we tackle fuel poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – helping those on low incomes as well as protecting our environment.”

The move has been welcomed anti-fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland. Director Norman Kerr said: “We are pleased to see Scottish government set out its plans to eradicate fuel poverty while making Scotland’s homes more energy efficient.

“649,000 households in Scotland are currently living in fuel poverty which is an unacceptably high number of people making a daily choice between heating and eating. We have an opportunity to save lives, to improve lives for households, young and old alike and we must take it.

Source : The Big Issue 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Glasgow urged to do more to promote music tourism in the city

Scotland’s largest city should follow the examples of Liverpool and Nashville in marketing itself as an international destination for popular music, a major report has recommended. Glasgow is already known for its wealth of venues, with live music generating £160 million a year for the local economy. But only two per cent of the 1.4 million fans attending concerts in the city travel from outside Scotland and book hotel accommodation. Tourism bosses and music industry experts now want to encourage more visitors from south of the Border and overseas to explore the city as well as taking in a show. A panel of representatives from the Scottish Music Industry Association, Scottish Enterprise and SSE Hydro were this week presented with 22 recommendations to help Glasgow market itself in a similar way to established musical meccas like New Orleans.

While the city lacks a homegrown artist with comparable name recognition to The Beatles, it is known as the birthplace of the likes of Lulu, Donovan, Marmalade, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Simple Minds and Travis. A plethora of internationally-renowned modern performers are also known for their links to Glasgow: Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian and Chvrches are just three of the groups who have found success on both sides of the Atlantic. Students from Glasgow Caledonian University were tasked with generating ideas to capitalise on the city’s rich musical heritage and promote its diverse music scene. The action plan follows a report, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow Life, which found there was scope to greatly increase international visitor numbers, prolong visits and increase the average spend of music fans.

Ideas include a marketing drive to promote the stories behind famous venues, such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, where Oasis were discovered, the Barrowland Ballroom, and the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, home of Stan Laurel’s first stage performance. Plans to create dedicated music districts across the city, launch interactive digital maps, promote live music at Glasgow Airport, introduce techno tours, and establish a Glasgow Music Subway Trail will also be put forward at a showcase at the Radisson Red hotel. Dougal Perman, chair of the Scottish Music Industry Association, said: “Glasgow is a world-class, world-renowned city of music. Now we just need to tell the world. “Music tourism makes a significant contribution to the economy but most of the money spent on music events in the city comes from locals. Glasgow’s high reputation at home and abroad is undervalued and under-exploited.

“There is great potential but more work needs to be done to learn from the experience of others and to design practical affordable and cost-effective interventions which would command the support of the industry.” A recent report by creative consultants Inner Ear found Glasgow is home to 43 live music venues and 35 music bars. Music is one of six core themes, along with heritage, contemporary art, events, sport and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, of the Glasgow Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023. Around 50 GCU students have been working on the proposals, the best of which will be taken forward by consultants for Scottish Enterprise. Claire Bereziat, lecturer in International Tourism Management at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “Glasgow has a phenomenal music product but it is undersold. “Everybody wants to play Glasgow and the crowds are famous throughout the world but we need to promote the stories behind our venues, and the thriving scene, to capitalise on that reputation.”

Source : Scotsman

Scottish retail sales grow by 0.5% in First Quarter of 2018

n 2018 Quarter 1, the quantity of retail sales in Scotland grew by 0.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter, according to statistics announced today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

Over the year since 2017 Quarter 1, the quantity of retail sales has increased by 1.5%. Over the same period, the value of retail sales (not adjusted for inflation) increased by 3.6%, and average store prices measured by the retail sales implied deflator have increased by 2.1%.

The equivalent figures for retail sales quantities in Great Britain as a whole, produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are a fall of 0.5% in the latest quarter, and an increase of 1.4% over the year since 2017 Quarter 1.

The Retail Sales Index for Scotland is a measure of the sales by retailers in Scotland. Results are given for sales quantities (or volumes) which have been adjusted for inflation, and sales values which are not adjusted for inflation. The figures published today cover the period from January to March 2018. 

Ivan McKee : Scotland's economy needs to be protected from the Tory government

LAST week the value of the pound took a hit as GDP figures for the first quarter of 2018 were released, showing weaker than expected growth. The Tories blamed bad weather, but closer analysis showed the collapse of Carillion to be a major driver of the decrease. The Tory Government’s botched attempts to privatise public services have led to a premature contraction of the UK economy before the UK leaves the EU.

The slump in GDP appears to have halted what was a heavily implied planned rate increase at next week’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting at the Bank of England.

While I appreciate that the MPC doesn’t have a great deal of flexibility, a rate rise now could well be closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, if this trend of lower growth is to continue. If the UK is heading for a downturn – and it’s hard to see how it could be heading for anything else with Brexit looming on the horizon – the Bank of England’s options to stimulate the economy are going to be constrained by the already low level of interest rates.

The time to raise interest rates could well have passed by the time the next set of data is released, and we have a clearer indication of where the UK is heading. Facing the prospect of a hard Tory Brexit, with no trade deal, in under a year, its unlikely to be comforting news.

To compound their mismanagement, the UK Government hasn’t showed any sign of budging over its restrictive immigration policies. In the face of the Windrush scandal and growing public awareness about the senseless treatment of immigrants, the Tories still have immigration targets in place that make no economic sense. The endless anti-immigration rhetoric from Westminster is harmful to the economy. And Scotland will suffer the most. With an ageing population, and limited powers to expand the economy, we need New Scots. Research from the Fraser of Allander Institute anticipates a direct negative effect on public finances post-Brexit because of reduced migration from the EU. It forecasts a 9% reduction in GDP and a 1% reduction in GDP per capita, holding all other factors equal.

It’s now more crucial than ever, for Scotland’s interests to be protected. With the threat of a UK Government power-grab after Brexit, powers which are supposed to be devolved could go to Westminster. Holyrood could be prevented from passing laws to protect some key sectors in the Scottish economy and prevented from having a say on any changes imposed by Westminster. Worst of all, public sector organisations like our NHS could be open to privatisation in return for post-Brexit trade deals and the Scottish Parliament could be powerless to stop it.

There is only one way to protect Scotland from this catalogue of economic failure by Theresa May’s government. It’s time to take matters into our own hands.

Source : The National