Scottish business wire: Economy | FirstGroup | BGF

Mobile phone giant Vodafone today posted a 4.3% rise in half-year earnings as it cheered a better-than-expected performance in Europe. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Mobile phone giant Vodafone today posted a 4.3% rise in half-year earnings as it cheered a better-than-expected performance in Europe. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

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The main business stories of the day plus recent investments and grants achieved by Scottish firms.

Scottish economic growth ‘to halve’ as Brexit bites

PwC predicts a sharp drop in growth in 2017 but expects recession to be avoided. Picture: John Devlin

PwC predicts a sharp drop in growth in 2017 but expects recession to be avoided. Picture: John Devlin

Growth in Scotland’s economy is expected to be cut in half next year as uncertainty over the impact of Brexit takes its toll, a gloomy report warned today. PwC’s latest UK economic outlook predicts economic growth in Scotland will fall from 1.8 per cent in 2016 to just 0.9 per cent in 2017. That is lower that the 1.2 per cent figure forecast for the UK as a whole – down from 2.1 per cent – but both Scotland and the UK are expected to avoid recession.

FirstGroup profits fall amid tough rail and bus market

Transport giant FirstGroup has seen its half-year profits slip as tough conditions in the UK bus and rail sector offset “encouraging” trading in North America. The Aberdeen-based group also said it was providing “full support” to the ongoing investigation into last week’s tram derailment in Croydon, south London, in which seven people were killed. FirstGroup operates the Tramlink network on behalf of Transport for London, and chief executive Tim O’Toole said: “I am shocked and saddened by the incident on Tramlink last week.”

BGF growth fund invests £1bn in small businesses

The Business Growth Fund (BGF), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital, has passed £1 billion in investments to entrepreneurial businesses, including 17 Scottish firms. An £11 million investment in holiday park operator Coppergreen Developments, used to support the acquisition of Dundee-based Pipperdam Golf and Leisure Resort, has brought the amount to the new milestone.

Martin Flanagan: Scotland won’t avoid Trump/Brexit slowdown

“There was never a reason that Scotland was at all likely to buck the trend of a projected slowdown in economic growth in the wake of Brexit,” writes Martin Flanagan. “As such, professional services and accountancy giant PwC’s latest economic report will surprise few: it forecasts Scottish economic growth in 2017 will halve to 0.9 per cent next year from 1.8 per cent this year.”

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