Scottish Business Briefing – July 18th 2013

When Gordon Brown proposed a modest tax increase on oil, the oil companies threatened sabotage. Picture: Hamish Campbell

When Gordon Brown proposed a modest tax increase on oil, the oil companies threatened sabotage. Picture: Hamish Campbell

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WELCOME to scotsman.com’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.

ENERGY & UTILITIES

Tomatin Distillery toasts funding for biomass plant

A BIOMASS plant at a distillery near Inverness has become the first project in Scotland to win funding from the Green Investment Bank (GIB). Tomatin Distillery, owned by Japanese spirits group Takara Shuzo, will finance the wood-chip fuelled biomass boiler with £576,733 from the Energy Saving Investments (ESI) fund in which the GIB is a “cornerstone” investor, while a further £600,274 will come from the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund. (Scotsman)

Oil forecasts down £11bn

THE predictions for Scotland’s future oil wealth until 2041 have been downgraded by £11 billion by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), a fall of more than 15 per cent on previous estimates. The OBR report predicted tax revenues between 2017-18 and 2040-41 would be £56bn, compared to its previous estimate of £67bn. (Scotsman)

Elster joins with Energy Assets to develop products

LIVINGSTON-based gas metering specialist Energy Assets has signed a deal with metering products group Elster to develop encoder technology for the UK industrial and corporate gas market. Absolute encoder technology uses the transfer of light to determine the position of a meter index and to deliver a reading, allowing remote data collection with the same accuracy as a visual manual reading. (Herald)

Read all today’s energy and utilities news from scotsman.com

ECONOMICS

Scottish unemployment rises as jobless rate falls

Unemployment in Scotland has risen by 8,000 to 205,000, despite a fall in the jobless rate throughout the UK as whole. The unemployment rate for Scotland during the quarter from March to May rose after falling for the past seven months, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, the jobless rate north of the Border is still lower than that of the UK as a whole. (Scotsman)

Read all today’s economics news here

INDUSTRY

Quarry firms told to pay HMRC pending appeals

Scottish quarry firms who had been withholding about £10 million in disputed tax will have to pay up or face assets being seized after a ruling in the Court of Session. The firms, who banded together as the British Aggregates Association, have been fighting a lengthy legal battle against a £2 per tonne levy introduced in 2002. (Scotsman)

Read all today’s industry news from scotsman.com

TRANSPORT

FirstGroup: Return to strength ‘needs hard work’

FIRSTGROUP chief executive Tim O’Toole yesterday told shareholders that it will take “hard work” to return the Aberdeen-based bus and train operator to a “position of strength”. Speaking at the firm’s annual general meeting in the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, O’Toole said the recovery plan was “on track” following last month’s heavily-discounted £615 million rights issue to shore up the group’s balance sheet. (Scotsman)

Read all today’s transport news from scotsman.com

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