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.
Santander eyes £2bn Clydesdale bid to bolster its business banking arm
Santander is understood to be running the rule over a possible £2 billion bid for Clydesdale Bank to expand its presence in the UK. The Spanish lender has reportedly been eyeing the Glasgow-based bank, which is owned by National Australia Bank (NAB), since the collapse last year of a £1.65bn deal to buy 316 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland (Scotsman).
Optimism rising, but finance firms warn of staff shortages
Profits and optimism across the financial services industry increased in the final quarter of last year, despite a fall in staff numbers and business volumes, a survey out today showed. The number of people employed across the sector fell more sharply than expected, and almost a third of firms warned a lack of staff would hamper their prospects over the coming year (Scotsman).
Group to help school leavers gain vocational skills
The Scottish government is to set up a commission to improve the vocational skills of young people. The group will look at vocational education and careers advice in schools and how they prepare young people for employment with the skills required for their region (BBC).
Scotland’s labour market boosted by growing demand
Demand for staff in Scotland rose strongly last month, according to a report that shows the country’s labour market is improving at the fastest pace since May 2011. Today’s Bank of Scotland report also found that hourly pay rates for temporary workers rose at the fastest pace in more than four years, but warned that the availability of permanent staff fell sharply in December, with recruitment companies witnessing a particular lack of engineers (Scotsman).
Reducing Energy Demand Towards 2020
The Scottish Government is committed to building a renewable energy industry that will meet challenging 2020 carbon emission targets. This Scotsman Conference, in association with Energy Action Scotland, will look at ways that householders, businesses and the public sector can reduce the amount of energy they use, saving money and to helping tackle climate change. It will consider the UK government’s Green Deal and will ask whether energy reduction is the key to tackling fuel poverty. (The Scotsman Conferences)
Spending on defence ‘sells Scots short’ by £1.9bn
SCOTLAND receives £1.9 billion less than its population share of government defence spending on major projects, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed. The response by the Ministry of Defence appears to undermine claims made by opponents of independence that one of the areas of biggest loss to Scotland would be defence spending (Scotsman).
Retail gloom may be overdone as Scots shoppers hit the high street
Scotland has seen the second largest increase in shopper numbers in the UK, according to figures today which point to signs of life on the nation’s high streets. The number of people visiting stores was 6.2 per cent higher last month than in December 2011, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium/Springboard “footfall monitor” (Scotsman).