{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"business","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/tuesday-market-close-ftse-recovery-continues-but-fears-remain-1-4292657","id":"1.4292657","articleHeadline": "Tuesday market close: FTSE recovery continues but fears remain","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505841567000 ,"articleLead": "

London’s blue-chip index extended its recovery following losses last week, thanks to a relatively quiet day across European markets.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4552146.1504717390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Market trader monitors his screens. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The FTSE 100 rose 21.97 points to 7,275.25, as it continued to gain strength after suffering on the back of a stronger pound last week.

Many of the index’s multinational components tend to benefit when foreign currencies are stronger.

David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, warned that while the FTSE 100 was bouncing back, it could struggle to climb much further. “Last week, the British market crashed through the significant 7,300 region, and if that mark isn’t re-taken, the wider bearish outlook could remain.”

His warning comes during a relatively quiet trading day for European markets, with many investors looking ahead to Prime Minister Theresa May’s highly anticipated Brexit speech in Italy on Friday.

Sterling was trading relatively flat against major currencies, up 0.1 per cent versus the US dollar at $1.351 and down 0.05 per cent against the euro at €1.128.

Speedy Hire rose 0.5p to 51.75p as the company upped its outlook for annual profits now expected to come in “well ahead” of last year, following a cost-cutting drive.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 included International Consolidated Airlines Group up 15.5p to 606.5p, J Sainsbury up 6.1p to 243.1p and Johnson Matthey up 66p to 2,976p.

The biggest fallers included Tui AG down 29p to 1,287p, Carnival down 78p to 4,760p and Antofagasta down 13.5p to 940p.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4552146.1504717390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4552146.1504717390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Market trader monitors his screens. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Market trader monitors his screens. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4552146.1504717390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/paisley/paisley-wins-10m-in-backing-for-uk-city-of-culture-bid-1-4564386","id":"1.4564386","articleHeadline": "Paisley wins £10m in backing for UK City of Culture bid","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505838541827 ,"articleLead": "The Scottish Government has committed £10 million to Paisley's bid to become the UK's next culture capital.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564385.1505831523!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fiona Hyslop was in Paisley today to announce the backing for its UK City of Culture bid."} ,"articleBody": "


The Renfrewshire town is one of five contenders vying for the title in 2021, which is due to be announced by the UK Government in December.

Ministers have pledged £7 million in direct funding from the government and £3 million through its agencies for Paisley’s bid.

Renfrewshire Council, which is spearheading the bid, has pledged a further £8.7 million from its own budget. If successful, Paisley would secure a further £3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Paisley has predicted an economic boost of £172 million and the creation of 4700 jobs over a 10-year period if its bid is successful.

Paisley is competing against Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea for the right to succeed Hull, which is basking in the limelight of the title this year.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop revealed the backing for Paisley bid during a cultural summit in the town, which is due to lodge its bid at the end of this month.

She said: “I’m very pleased to confirm the Scottish Government’s support for Paisley 2021’s bid as the UK City of Culture.

“It’s an exciting prospect which fits in well with the government’s ambitions as we recognise the significant contribution Paisley makes to Scotland’s rich cultural life and the local and national boost this would bring.

“The Scottish Government is including its contribution to the Paisley bid within its spending review plans, as will the national agencies.”

Council leader Iain Nicolson, chair of the Paisley 2021 board, said: “There has never been a Scottish winner of the competition but we would love to be the first.

“The pledge supports our view that a successful bid for Paisley will produce benefits that will be felt across the whole country in terms of visitor numbers and economic impact and as a showcase of cultural excellence.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564385.1505831523!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564385.1505831523!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fiona Hyslop was in Paisley today to announce the backing for its UK City of Culture bid.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fiona Hyslop was in Paisley today to announce the backing for its UK City of Culture bid.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564385.1505831523!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/martyn-mclaughlin-dubai-yet-to-make-good-on-promises-for-a-queen-now-in-exile-1-4564620","id":"1.4564620","articleHeadline": "Martyn McLaughlin: Dubai yet to make good on promises for a queen now in exile","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505883600000 ,"articleLead": "

Half a century after the launch of the QE2, the ocean liner faces an uncertain future, writes Martyn McLaughlin

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564619.1505846783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A queen awaiting her fate: The QE2 is languising in dock in Dubai, with no sign of any decision on what, or where, her future will be. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Fifty years ago today, the welders, caulkers, greasers, painters and sparks of John Brown & Co looked on triumphantly as they revealed their greatest engineering feat to a watching world. At precisely 2:28pm, the Queen pressed the launching button which sent a bottle of Australian white wine crashing into the vast bow of their creation. With that, 69,053 tonnes of steel, teak and dreams eked down the slipway and into the River Clyde’s embrace.

It seems astonishing that only half a century has passed since the launch of the Queen Elizabeth 2.
The yard which forged her has long been consigned to memory and the shipbuilding industry is a shadow of its former glories. What is even more astounding, however, is the realisation that the QE2, the grandest ship of them all, continues to face a precarious future.

Amid the half centenary celebrations taking place this week in Clydebank, it seems fitting to ask precisely what her current custodians intend to do with her. Nearly nine years have passed since she became the property of Dubai, a period characterised by frustration, secrecy, and unfulfilled promise. When ownership of the vessel transferred to Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a state-owned holding company, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem vowed to berth her as a floating hotel at a specially constructed pier at the man-made Palm Jameirah.

The initiative chimed with Dubai’s practical and ideological ambitions; the QE2 would provide the then booming emirate with much-needed accommodation space, while her status would confer a degree of soft power. “Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2,” Mr Sulayem said at the time. “She is coming to a home where she will be cherished.”

There is a paucity of evidence to suggest that has been the case. Initially, that was down to a combination of circumstance and folly, as the emirate’s debt-fuelled investment drive, heavily reliant on property and trophy acquisitions, was hit hard during the global recession.

The plans for the hotel vanished without trace. By late 2009, the ship was finally drydocked, and Dubai entered talks with officials in South Africa to relocate the QE2 to Cape Town for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The scheme seemed to represent the perfect marriage of wealth and opportunity, but for Dubai World – then in talks to renegotiate £16 billion of debts – there was not enough of the former to render it viable. Days before the QE2 was due to start sea trials, the deal collapsed.

The next four years saw Dubai endorse various other ventures only to quickly backtrack. In July 2012, Mr Sulayem said the ship would form a smaller 300 room hotel at Port Rashid as part of the terminal’s redevelopment. Yet just six months later, Drydocks World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, announced the “grand dame of the sea” was to become a 500-room hotel in “the heart of a leading Asian city”.

The Singapore-based Oceanic Group came on board to help broker a deal and a competition was launched to determine a new look for the ship’s interiors, with the award-winning British design firm Benoy among those taking part. Sadly, it was all smoke and mirrors. No-one ever agreed to pay Dubai’s asking price, and the project, like all the others, was a pipe dream.

Since then, the ship’s cheerleaders here in Britain have tried to convince Dubai to return her. One consortium proposed relocating her to Greenwich, while a working group – drawn from the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Visitscotland, and local authorities – was rebuffed in its attempts to bring her back to the Clyde.

According to one source involved, initial contact was made with Dubai World via Scottish Development International’s offices in the British Embassy in Dubai, before being quickly shut down. “Dubai did just not want to know,” they explained. “We knew the project was ambitious, but it didn’t even get off the drawing board. I believe the expression is we were dinghied.”

In the two years since, the QE2 has been moved elsewhere within Port Rashid, with the firm, Shafa Construction, subcontracted to carry out unspecified work. The fate of the ship’s interiors remain unknown, while work carried out on her superstructure – including the removal of her lifeboat davits – has drawn controversy.

How then, will Dubai mark today’s anniversary? If events since 2008 are any guide, it will pass unmarked. The ship will likely continue to be upkept, but that comes at a cost – around £600,000 a month, according to a source familiar with the maintenance programme.

For Dubai World, still suffering from past hubris and the fall in oil prices, that is an expense it can ill afford. The conglomerate has extended repayments of around £7.3bn in outstanding debts due in 2018 to 2022. The deal has bought Dubai breathing space, but it leaves little room for financial gambles with uncertain returns, a category into which the QE2 falls.

Perhaps the real anniversary we should all look out for is the one which falls next November. By then, a decade will have passed since Dubai bought the ocean liner from the Carnival group, a deal which included a ten-year-long no sell-on clause, and stringent restrictions on how the QE2 can be modified. With its expiry, new opportunities and new threats will likely open up, but Dubai should not wait until then to declare their intentions. If they truly cherish a queen in exile, now is the time for them to show it.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTYN McLAUGHLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564619.1505846783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564619.1505846783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A queen awaiting her fate: The QE2 is languising in dock in Dubai, with no sign of any decision on what, or where, her future will be. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A queen awaiting her fate: The QE2 is languising in dock in Dubai, with no sign of any decision on what, or where, her future will be. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564619.1505846783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/ewan-kinnear-how-scots-tech-firms-can-shape-the-future-1-4564297","id":"1.4564297","articleHeadline": "Ewan Kinnear: How Scots tech firms can shape the future","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505827887000 ,"articleLead": "

Recent advances in technology that will fundamentally transform the way we live and work have experts heralding the advent of a fourth industrial revolution.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564296.1505827897!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'Technology businesses can scale up at an incredible rate,' says Ewan Kinnear. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The “internet of things” (IoT), big data, robotics and artificial intelligence are no longer buzzwords but serious technological innovations, revolutionising businesses across all types of industry.

• READ MORE: Technology news

According to IDC, worldwide spending on robotics will reach £144 billion in 2020, with IoT spending forecast to grow 17 per cent this year alone.

Research from Skills Development Scotland and the Digital Technologies Skills Group found that the sector is forecast to grow twice as fast as the Scottish economy between now and 2024.

• READ MORE: Internet of things ‘start of something big’ for Scots firms

With Scotland home to a booming technology sector that shows no sign of slowing down, there is huge potential for our home-grown tech businesses to play a transformative role in what’s to come.

Firms will start to see an increase in demand from businesses across a range of sectors looking to capitalise on the benefits of technology to drive innovation and support international expansion.

A wealth of skill, expertise and investment will need to be poured into the sector if it’s going to successfully deliver against expectations – and this means growth on a big scale.

To drive a productive economy during this time of change, it is vital that technology firms have a greater level of support earlier in the business life cycle.

We understand that a traditional overdraft or a business loan may not meet the needs of a fast-moving technology firm, whether it be a start-up looking to recruit and retain talent or a hi-tech product based company moving to invest in research and development.

This is because the sector does not adhere to the conventional route to market, where products can take a considerable amount of time to reach end users. Technology businesses can scale up at an incredible rate.

• VIDEO: The Data Lab explain what Big Data is

The biggest challenge facing firms is finding and securing the next-level capital needed to fund strategic growth plans. It’s even more important that they have access to fluid, agile funding options.

For this reason, optimising working capital is crucial particularly to technology businesses that experience a sharp increase in outgoing expenditure before seeing a proportionate increase in profit.

To help bridge that gap, businesses must ensure they have access to the right type of working capital to meet essential business costs – from covering payroll and tax, to funding bigger strategies such as product development and site relocation.

Working with a trusted advisor who has knowledge and expertise in the sector will prove to be invaluable.

Ewan Kinnear, relationship director, commercial banking, Bank of Scotland

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ewan Kinnear"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564296.1505827897!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564296.1505827897!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'Technology businesses can scale up at an incredible rate,' says Ewan Kinnear. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'Technology businesses can scale up at an incredible rate,' says Ewan Kinnear. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564296.1505827897!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/lidl-retains-crown-as-fastest-growing-supermarket-chain-1-4564107","id":"1.4564107","articleHeadline": "Lidl retains crown as fastest-growing supermarket chain","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505819208000 ,"articleLead": "

German discounter Lidl is once again the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket with a record market share of 5.3 per cent, latest industry figures show.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564106.1505819217!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lidl racked up a 19.2% jump in sales. Picture: Jane Barlow"} ,"articleBody": "

Almost two-thirds of shoppers visited a Lidl or its rival Aldi in the past three months, with the two retailers now accounting for almost £1 in every £8 spent in Britain’s supermarkets, up from £1 in £25 a decade ago, Kantar Worldpanel said.

• READ MORE: Retail news

Supermarket sales overall were up 3.6 per cent over the 12 weeks to 10 September on the same time last year, marking the sixth consecutive month of growth of more than 3 per cent, largely driven by grocery inflation.

However, poor weather in August hit sales of traditional summer items, with prepared salads seeing a 6 per cent dip and sun care down 16 per cent.

In contrast, consumers spent almost £4 million on cold treatments in August, an increase of almost £2m on the same month last year.

• READ MORE: Lidl overtakes Waitrose as seventh-biggest supermarket

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “We haven’t seen sustained market growth of this kind since May 2013.

“A 1.5 per cent increase in the volume of goods going through the tills has contributed to this growth while the remainder of the overall sales increase is down to higher prices.

“Like-for-like grocery inflation now stands at 3.2 per cent, slightly ahead of the headline CPI rate and down 0.1 percentage points on last month.

“The average British household spends almost £4,200 in the grocers each year so a fall in inflation, which we expect to see as we approach the end of the year, will be a welcome relief.”

• READ MORE: Inflation jumps to 2.9% on rising clothing and fuel prices

Lidl was the fastest-growing supermarket with a sales increase of 19.2 per cent, while Aldi’s growth of 15.6 per cent took its market share to 6.9 per cent.

Tesco’s recovery continued with sales up 2.7 per cent, although its market share was squeezed by 0.3 percentage points to 27.8 per cent, while Sainsbury’s market share fell 0.2 percentage points to 15.7 per cent.

Asda attracted an extra 482,000 shoppers compared with a year ago, the fastest rate by the retailer in more than three years.

Despite announcing a fall in profits last week, Waitrose’s sales increased by 2.4 per cent and it held on to a 5.3 per cent share of the market, currently level with Lidl.

• READ MORE: Discount grocers’ sales rocket amid rising inflation

Figures from Nielsen suggest that the rising cost of household groceries means shoppers are increasingly turning to supermarket own-label products.

Spending on own-label items is up 5.5 per cent year-on-year, nearly five times the growth seen on branded products.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “The return of inflation means shoppers are increasingly turning to supermarkets’ own-label products to help manage their weekly grocery spend.

“Own-brand sales are growing across all major food retailers but fastest at the discounters – Aldi and Lidl – and at the Co-operative, Iceland, M&S and Tesco.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Josie Clarke"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564106.1505819217!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564106.1505819217!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lidl racked up a 19.2% jump in sales. Picture: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lidl racked up a 19.2% jump in sales. Picture: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564106.1505819217!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/bankruptcy-move-won-t-affect-toys-r-us-stores-in-uk-1-4564640","id":"1.4564640","articleHeadline": "Bankruptcy move ‘won’t affect’ Toys ‘R’ Us stores in UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505852116000 ,"articleLead": "

Toys’R’Us has assured consumers its stores will remain open after filing for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada ahead of the crucial festive season amid mammoth debts and increasing online competition.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564639.1505852122!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pic Lisa Ferguson 27/10/2015Toys R Us, Livingston"} ,"articleBody": "

America’s largest toy stores chain, which has around 1,600 stores worldwide and nearly 65,000 employees, said most of its shops remained profitable and would operate “as usual” while it looks to restructure a 5.6 billion US dollar (£3.6 billion) debt mountain.

It also confirmed its stores outside of North America - including the UK and Europe, Australia, as well as around 255 licensed stores and a joint venture in Asia - were not affected by the so-called Chapter 11 filing.

READ MORE: Toys r Us could file for bankruptcy

The group has 110 stores and more than 2,500 staff across the UK, but stressed its European arm was a separate entity to the North American business. The Chapter 11 filing comes ahead of the all-important Christmas season, which makes up a large chunk of the group’s annual sales.

It is the latest example of turmoil in the retail industry as the shift online takes its toll on established players. Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive of Toys’R’Us, said: “We are confident that we are taking the right steps to ensure that the iconic Toys’R’Us and Babies’R’Us brands live on for many generations.”

READ MORE: Toy giant seeks bankruptcy protection

He added: “As the holiday season approaches, our global team members are ready to serve the millions of kids and families who will be shopping with us.”

The group’s history dates back to the 1950s and it arrived in the UK in 1985 with just five stores. It launched its UK website in 1996. The group confirmed it was opening further shops in the UK, with four more planned before Christmas in High Wycombe, Sunderland, Blackburn and Craigleith in Scotland. The group is also revamping its flagship stores in Bristol and Brent Cross shopping centre in London. Toys’R’Us has struggled with debt since private-equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co and Vornado Realty Trust took it private in a 6.6 billion dollar buyout in 2005.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564639.1505852122!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564639.1505852122!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Pic Lisa Ferguson 27/10/2015Toys R Us, Livingston","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pic Lisa Ferguson 27/10/2015Toys R Us, Livingston","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564639.1505852122!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/revealed-edinburgh-1-coin-is-rarest-and-most-valuable-1-4564302","id":"1.4564302","articleHeadline": "Revealed: Edinburgh £1 coin is ‘rarest and most valuable’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505827961000 ,"articleLead": "

THE value of an extremely rare coin featuring Edinburgh is set to soar when it is taken out of circulation next month.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564301.1505827971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Edinburgh pound coin is the rarest in circulation according to Change Checker. Picture: Johnston Press"} ,"articleBody": "

The 2011 £1 coin, which features Edinburgh, is the rarest to be put into circulation by the Royal Mint.

Recent sales on eBay and other such websites have seen the coin sell for between £15 and £20.

READ MORE: Round pound removal hampered by new coins return

Only 935,000 of these coins were issued back in 2011 - in the context of pound coins this is a very low number and it is notoriously rare to receive one in change.

The coin scores a maximum 100 points on Change Checker’s scarcity index.

READ MORE: Current £1 coins won’t be worthless in October

The old £1 coins will cease to be legal tender when they are taken out of circulation on October 15, 2017.

It is believed the Edinburgh coin will become increasingly difficult to find when, along with all the other old £1 coins, it is taken out of circulation next month.

Anyone lucky enough to own one of the coins is advised not to cash in until after it is removed from circulation.

Change Checker calculated that anyone looking for an Edinburgh coin would have to sift through approximately 3,000 £1 coins to find one.

The old £1 coin will be replaced by the new 12 sided coin which was introduced into circulation earlier this year.

READ MORE FROM THE SCOTSMAN NEWS PAGES

This article originally appeared in our sister title, the Derry Journal.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW QUINN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564301.1505827971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564301.1505827971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Edinburgh pound coin is the rarest in circulation according to Change Checker. Picture: Johnston Press","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Edinburgh pound coin is the rarest in circulation according to Change Checker. Picture: Johnston Press","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564301.1505827971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/drew-ratter-powerful-argument-to-meet-shetland-s-electricity-needs-1-4564287","id":"1.4564287","articleHeadline": "Drew Ratter: Powerful argument to meet Shetland’s electricity needs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505827572000 ,"articleLead": "

In August, the UK government launched a review aimed at reducing the high cost of electricity paid by consumers and businesses.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564286.1505827581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the turbines at the Burradale wind farm in Shetland, the most productive in the world. Photo: Paul Riddell"} ,"articleBody": "

Ironically, the electricity regulator Ofgem, which boasts of “making a positive difference for energy consumers”, was already busy consulting on a proposal that, if implemented, will cost consumers almost half a billion pounds more than it should.

Yes, half a billion pounds. You couldn’t make it up.

Let me explain. Shetland is the only major island group in the UK that is not connected to the national electricity grid. It relies on a diesel power station which has reached the end of its lifespan to keep the lights on (topped up by a gas turbine power station at the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal and as much wind generation as a closed grid can withstand).

Instead of a replacement for Lerwick Power Station, Ofgem is recommending the installation of a 60MW import-only cable from Caithness to Shetland to supply electricity to the islands, with back-up from 64 standby generators housed in containers near Lerwick.

The proposal is from SSE Networks (SSEN), owner and operator of the electricity grid in the north of Scotland, and would be built by National Grid’s commercial arm NGSLL (cable) and Aggreko (stand-by generators), most likely by late 2020 or early 2021.

Ofgem’s own documentation states that the cost of this cable plus standby generation will be £582 million over 20 years, £450m of which will have to be met by UK electricity customers.

Ofgem appears determined to press ahead with the cable. It is very clear that to do so would amount to a dereliction of its role as custodian of electricity consumers’ money.

But the solution is at hand – if the regulator stops ignoring the elephant in its own room next door.

At the same time as it is preparing to sign off on a 60MW cable, Ofgem has developed a blind spot about a parallel process for a much larger 600MW transmission cable to allow the export of electricity from our consented Viking Energy Wind Farm project, a 50:50 joint venture between the Shetland community (principally through the Shetland Charitable Trust) and SSE Renewables.

At no extra cost, this cable would (i) perform the function of the smaller cable, (ii) provide much greater value for money to electricity consumers and (iii) allow Shetland to become a nationally significant producer of renewable energy while also helping to diversify a marginal economy, creating up to 800 jobs and generating income of up to £233m (including potentially £82 million in community benefit).

The Conservative election manifesto committed the government to a policy of supporting “the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities”. In discussions, civil servants and ministers have suggested a possible timetable that could allow projects such as ours to bid for an electricity contract under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) system in late 2018 or early 2019, which could lead to the large interconnector cable being commissioned in 2023.

The cost to electricity consumers of the 600MW cable is estimated to be £885m over 15 years, which means that together the two cables would cost £1.467 billion.

The cost of the large cable (£855m) and the back-up generators (£132m) amounts to only £1.017bn.

With such a huge potential saving available, and the prospect of being able to deliver nationally significant electricity production from Shetland’s world-class wind resource at times when the wind is not blowing elsewhere in the UK, the government should be breaking down barriers, not creating them.

Ministers should call in the small cable proposal as a matter of urgency to review the excessive burden on electricity consumers.

Drew Ratter is the chairman of the Investment Committee of Shetland Charitable Trust

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DREW RATTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564286.1505827581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564286.1505827581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "One of the turbines at the Burradale wind farm in Shetland, the most productive in the world. Photo: Paul Riddell","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the turbines at the Burradale wind farm in Shetland, the most productive in the world. Photo: Paul Riddell","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564286.1505827581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/energy/scotland-s-oil-industry-is-entering-last-decade-warn-researchers-1-4564267","id":"1.4564267","articleHeadline": "Scotland’s oil industry is entering last decade, warn researchers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505826586000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish oil industry is entering its final decade of production - Edinburgh researchers have warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4544144.1505826596!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A study has revealed UK oil and gas reserves may only last another decade, with close to just 10 per cent of recoverable oil and gas left. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

A study has revealed UK oil and gas reserves may only last another decade, with close to just 10 per cent of recoverable oil and gas left.

Researchers have warned that if the predictions are correct, the UK will soon have to import all the oil and gas it needs.

READ MORE: How much is North Sea oil worth to the Scottish economy?

The analysis also found that fracking will be “barely” economically feasible in the UK, especially in Scotland, because of a lack of sites with suitable geology.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh examined the UK’s likely potential for fracking and carried out a fresh analysis of the country’s oil and gas production.

READ MORE: North Sea oil revenue turns negative for the first time

Their findings take into account the long-term downward trends of oil and gas field size and lifespan, alongside the break-even costs for fracking.

They found that the UK only has minimal potential for fracking.

They explained that many possible sites are in densely populated areas, have “low quality source rocks” and “complex geological histories.”

Scientists say: “Fracking is likely to be too restricted to become an effective industry, which would require thousands of wells.”

Analysis of the Earth’s mineral reserves shows that discoveries of oil and gas have consistently lagged behind output since the late 1990s.

Researchers are calling for a move towards greater use of renewable energy sources, including offshore wind and advanced solar energy.

The study, in The Edinburgh Geologist, is published by the Edinburgh Geological Society.

Professor Roy Thompson, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “The UK urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking.

“We must act now and drive the necessary shift to a clean economy with integration between energy systems.

“There needs to be greater emphasis on renewables, energy storage and improved insulation and energy efficiencies.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANGUS HOWARTH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4544144.1505826596!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4544144.1505826596!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A study has revealed UK oil and gas reserves may only last another decade, with close to just 10 per cent of recoverable oil and gas left. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A study has revealed UK oil and gas reserves may only last another decade, with close to just 10 per cent of recoverable oil and gas left. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4544144.1505826596!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1504611144716"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/commercial-property-positive-outlook-for-scottish-retail-parks-1-4564174","id":"1.4564174","articleHeadline": "Commercial property: Positive outlook for Scottish retail parks","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505821843000 ,"articleLead": "

Comment: The sector offers the ideal mix to tempt investors

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564173.1505821852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The retail park at Straiton. Picture: Scott Louden"} ,"articleBody": "

A wet summer tends to be bad for consumer spending. But it’s turned out to be good news for a particular kind of shopping: retail parks.

Figures from retail intelligence firm, Springboard, from this summer show a clean sweep of annual increases for footfall at retail parks, from 1.06 per cent during the week beginning 3 July, to 2.61 per cent in the week of 31 July.

The picture for retail parks in 2017 has been almost entirely positive, after a few blips earlier in the year.

While the number of shoppers at most other destinations appears to be in perpetual decline, retail parks are heading the other way – and for good reasons.

They provide convenience: retail parks tend to offer accessible parking and involve less window shopping.

They also tend to be ideal for click-and-collect services – think Halfords – which has seen them fare much better than the high street against the growing preference for online shopping.

Their popularity with shoppers is reflected in the property world too.

In Scotland, we’ve seen a number of retail parks change hands recently. Among them were parks in Linlithgow and Livingston, both sold to private buyers.

Another two significant retail parks are under offer in Scotland – with a total value of in excess of £100 million – while Columbia Threadneedle Investments has just bought Gala Water Retail Park in Galashiels.

There hasn’t always been this level of exuberance for these assets among investors, though.

After the crash of 2008, there was consolidation among the businesses they tended to attract, and, as a direct consequence, there was a real lack of tenant demand.

The general downturn in retail exacerbated the situation, with vacancy rates hitting 11.8 per cent in 2009.

Many were nervous about the sector’s prospects and concerned that rental levels were unsustainable.

However, a new generation of parks is now springing up, populated by a new type of tenant.

Across the country the names are likely to be similar: a B&M or a Home Bargains, an Aldi or a Lidl and other operators such as M&S Simply Food, Pets at Home and Iceland’s Food Warehouse are looking to increase their store numbers in Scotland.

Not only are these companies ubiquitous on retail parks, but their leases share common traits.

They tend to offer long lease terms to good covenants, solid rental growth via some form of index-linked review clause, and the yields are attractive in comparison to other sectors of the market.

Another advantage is the lower upkeep costs required for the buildings, compared to property assets such as offices and high street retail.

The rise of these businesses seems inexorable. Lidl announced plans for 60 new shops across the UK earlier this year, B&M upped its target number of stores from 850 to 950, and M&S’s food business continues to boom.

This demand for space will see more of this generation of retail park coming into being, albeit planning restrictions will mean it will never be a flood.

We expect this area of the market to increase in popularity among investors. At a time when income returns are key, there aren’t many other sectors that offer the same combination of secure income and strong tenants as the yields offered by retail warehousing.

Alasdair Steele is head of

Scotland commercial,

Knight Frank

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Alasdair Steele"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564173.1505821852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564173.1505821852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The retail park at Straiton. Picture: Scott Louden","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The retail park at Straiton. Picture: Scott Louden","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564173.1505821852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/media-leisure/hotel-becomes-first-in-scotland-to-launch-women-friendly-rooms-1-4564096","id":"1.4564096","articleHeadline": "Hotel becomes first in Scotland to launch ‘women friendly rooms’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505818546000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s a move that may raise eyebrows with some.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564091.1505818542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leonardo Hotels offers the appropriate room product"} ,"articleBody": "

But a new four star Capital hotel has become the first in Scotland to launch “women-friendly” rooms.

The rooms – at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in Haymarket – are all located on the same floor, with room service served by female employees.

Powerful hair dryers, beauty lighting and adjustable make-up mirrors are included as well as parking spaces dedicated to female guests, located next to the hotel entrance.

Hotel owners say the rooms were inspired by feedback that businesswomen are no longer attracted by corporate-style chain hotels.

Operations manager Lucy Basnett said following success across Europe, the rooms are specifically orientated towards the needs and wishes of female travellers. She said: “The proportion of lone female business travellers is on the rise; indeed every fourth hotel guest is a business woman. We wanted to offer accommodation which not only addresses any concerns women travelling alone may have, but also creates a comfortable environment where they can relax after a busy day.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564091.1505818542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564091.1505818542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Leonardo Hotels offers the appropriate room product","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leonardo Hotels offers the appropriate room product","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564091.1505818542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564094.1505818556!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564094.1505818556!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564094.1505818556!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/kpmg-cleared-of-wrongdoing-after-probe-into-hbos-audit-1-4564074","id":"1.4564074","articleHeadline": "KPMG cleared of wrongdoing after probe into HBOS audit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505817792000 ,"articleLead": "

KPMG has been cleared by the accounting watchdog over its auditing of HBOS in the run-up to the lender’s near collapse in the 2008 financial crisis.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564073.1505817802!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HBOS, owner of Bank of Scotland and Halifax, was taken over by Lloyds in 2008. Picture: Julie Howden"} ,"articleBody": "

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said it had closed the investigation into KPMG’s handling of HBOS’s accounts, concluding that the accounting giant’s work did not fall short of standards. It added it does not believe there are grounds for further action.

• READ MORE: Financial news

The FRC said: “There is not a realistic prospect that a tribunal would make an adverse finding against KPMG in respect of the matters within the scope of the investigation.

“The firm’s work did not fall significantly short of the standards reasonably to be expected of the audit, the test that a tribunal would apply.”

The decision will come as a relief to KPMG, which has also been drawn into a mounting scandal in South Africa over its work with the politically connected Gupta family.

HBOS was taken over by Lloyds TSB in a rescue deal in the autumn of 2008 after expanding too quickly with risky lending, weak funding and management failures. Lloyds then had to be bailed out with £20.5 billion of taxpayer cash.

• READ MORE: Lloyds makes compensation offer over HBOS fraud scandal

HBOS, formed from the merger of Halifax and Bank of Scotland in 2001, had said in 2008 that it would be able to fund itself and did not expect market conditions to worsen, according to the FRC.

KPMG “considered and accepted this conclusion” and HBOS published its accounts in February 2008 on that basis, the watchdog said.

The FRC added: “The evidence of market conditions at that time did not show this decision of HBOS or the auditor’s assessment of it to be unreasonable at the time.

“The extreme funding conditions which arose in October 2008 were not anticipated.”

The FRC said it conducted a “thorough” investigation, which saw it liaise with other regulators and gather expert advice from independent and experienced lawyers and audit professionals.

KPMG said: “We are pleased that the FRC has reached this conclusion after a thorough investigation.

“We have always maintained that our audit was robust and undertaken in accordance with the regulations and practice of the time.”

It added industry-wide efforts have been made to improve auditing of banks.

KPMG said: “The collapse of HBOS and other examples of corporate failure and fraud in the last decade have highlighted a gap between what society expects of an audit and what an audit has been designed to do.

“Since 2008, whilst we recognise that there is more to be done, we have worked hard to contribute positively to this debate and have explored ways to close the expectation gap.”

• READ MORE: Ex-HBOS chief fined record £500k by City watchdog

A damning review of the HBOS saga by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority, which was published in November 2015, put the blame firmly on the bank’s executives. It said they were “ultimately responsible” for the demise of HBOS.

Only one former HBOS executive, Peter Cummings, has so far been punished. He was fined £500,000 and banned for life from the industry.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Holly Williams"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4564073.1505817802!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4564073.1505817802!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "HBOS, owner of Bank of Scotland and Halifax, was taken over by Lloyds in 2008. Picture: Julie Howden","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HBOS, owner of Bank of Scotland and Halifax, was taken over by Lloyds in 2008. Picture: Julie Howden","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4564073.1505817802!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/management/devin-scobie-holyrood-still-has-some-growing-up-to-do-1-4564000","id":"1.4564000","articleHeadline": "Devin Scobie: Holyrood still has some growing up to do","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505813995000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish secretary Donald Dewar, just a few days after the 1997 ­referendum, spoke with a wide grin: “I don’t think I’ve ever unveiled a rock before…”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563999.1505814005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Dewar swears in at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Picture: Dave Cheskin"} ,"articleBody": "

Although Dewar is widely regarded as the architect of Scottish devolution, his task that morning – ably assisted by me as a humble PR manager – was nothing more grand than pulling a Saltire off a plaque which was mounted on a rock the size of a tombstone to open a new sausage factory.

Dewar was known for many things, but humour and polite banter were not amongst them. I had met him a few times before and had warned many an ­enthusiastic client not to dwell on small talk or, heaven forbid, linger a moment longer than absolutely necessary on “PR-style photos”. But today was different. It was a mild day in September and Dewar’s popularity was as high as it would ever go.

• READ MORE: Donald Dewar: Scottish Parliament’s founding father

He had, after all, delivered an overwhelming Yes vote in the two-question referendum that would see the Scottish Parliament reconvene less than two years later. That was then, of course, and Donald Dewar would sadly be taken from us ­barely 18 months into the life of the young Parliament, in October 2000. I wonder what he would have made of it all, 20 years on from that referendum result, and how business has chosen to interact with it.

There were business lobbyists, of course, back in 1997, albeit focused on the then rather distant world of Westminster, where all the real decisions were being taken.

We had to work hard to overcome scepticism within the corporate world that Holyrood would a) matter and b) be competent enough to make any grown-up decisions.

Many were in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” camp and shared the view, highlighted recently by former Scottish Labour ­leader Wendy Alexander, that many Whitehall departments were highly sceptical of whether it made sense to devolve back to Scotland areas that they had hitherto been in charge of and, to their minds, were ­running rather efficiently.

• READ MORE: 20 years on: The day a parliament returned to Scotland

Even amongst our clients, there was no shortage of scepticism about whether matters beyond those of housing, health and education should even be allowed to come to Scotland.

But come to Scotland they did, and the Scottish business community has now come to respect – perhaps even like – working with the 129 parliamentarians who now control more than 85 per cent of the levers of policy which can impact on their day jobs.

In the early days, MSP engagement was more leisurely and a dinner with eight to ten elected members was a relatively ­normal way to get the business done (on both sides). But as policy responsibilities grew, time demands are now at the point where even a quick coffee has to be negotiated sometimes weeks in advance.

Written briefings got shorter and the reach and purview of Holyrood committees wider. A dozen cross-party groups in the first ­parliament has grown, like Topsy, to nearly 100 now. That’s one for every MSP, once you ­disregard ministers who would not normally participate. Maybe Donald Dewar would see this all as progress; a parliament which this year turned 18 and came of age. But, like every 18-year-old, it still has a lot more growing up to do.

• READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon calls for Holyrood consensus over Brexit ‘threat’ to devolution

Engagement with the Scottish Parliament is now more important than ever for ­anyone doing business in Scotland. The key with increasingly time-pressed politicians is catching their attention. So reach out to your ­constituency MSP with an initial email, and if that doesn’t get a response, try an old-fashioned letter. Keep it local and don’t forget about your councillors – many of whom could be MSPs of the future.

The more local, constituency-focused or tying in with committee or spokesperson responsibilities, the better.

• Devin Scobie is public affairs director with ­Perceptive Communicators and a former councillor and parliamentary candidate

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Devin Scobie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563999.1505814005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563999.1505814005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Dewar swears in at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Picture: Dave Cheskin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Dewar swears in at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Picture: Dave Cheskin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563999.1505814005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/the-black-isle-loses-its-last-remaining-bank-branch-1-4563946","id":"1.4563946","articleHeadline": "The Black Isle loses its last remaining bank branch","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505812894000 ,"articleLead": "

A large swathe of the Highlands has been left without a bank branch for the first time in two centuries.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563945.1505812904!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Bank of Scotland in Fortrose has closed its doors for the final time. Picture: Google"} ,"articleBody": "

The last remaining branch on the Black Isle, a Bank of Scotland in Fortrose, closed its doors for the final time yesterday.

Other lenders have already closed on the peninsula, which includes the communities of Avoch, Cromarty and Munlochy.

• READ MORE: North Coast 500 route ‘could suffer’ due to ATM shortage

Bank of Scotland said its decision to axe the branch follows a drop in customer numbers, which have fallen to about eight a week, while the number of counter transactions made by personal customers tumbled by 30 per cent last year.

Cash machines will continue to be available in Fortrose, and Bank of Scotland said a mobile bank visits the village twice a week.

A spokesman said the closure was the “result of the changing ways our customers bank and the fact that they now visit this branch much less frequently”.

He added: “We have introduced and informed customers of our mobile branch service, which visits Fortrose twice a week and allows customers to continue to access banking services, with bank colleagues still on hand to help them access online banking and answer any general account or product enquiries.”

David Richardson, Highlands and Islands development manager at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “North of Inverness, ten banks have closed in the last two to three years. This has massive implications for local businesses, the banks’ local customers and visitors.”

• READ MORE: TSB to close eight ‘underused’ Scottish branches

Business leaders have already warned that the closure of a string of bank branches across the Highlands could damage the popularity of the North Coast 500 route.

Described as “Scotland’s answer to Route 66”, the NC500 starts at Inverness and heads north to Dingwall and the Black Isle, Sutherland and Caithness, then comes down into Wester Ross and the Applecross peninsula before heading back towards to Inverness.

In the first year since the 516-mile stretch was officially launched in 2015 by North Highland Initiative, 29,000 more people visited the north of Scotland, spending an additional £9 million locally.

However, small businesses say the success of the new initiative, named as one of the top six coastal routes in the world, could be jeopardised by banks closing down branches in remote areas, leaving both tourists and local people without access to ATMs and services.

• READ MORE: RBS announces 30 branch closures across Scotland

As well as shutting its Fortrose branch, Bank of Scotland announced in April that it was closing sites in Beauly, Bonar Bridge, Dornoch, Helmsdale and Lairg.

Royal Bank of Scotland has closed branches in Invergordon, Lybster and Lochinver over the past two years and the Clydesdale closed down its branch in Thurso.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "russell jackson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563945.1505812904!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563945.1505812904!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Bank of Scotland in Fortrose has closed its doors for the final time. Picture: Google","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Bank of Scotland in Fortrose has closed its doors for the final time. Picture: Google","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563945.1505812904!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/toys-r-us-files-for-bankruptcy-protection-in-us-and-canada-1-4563895","id":"1.4563895","articleHeadline": "Toys ’R’ Us files for bankruptcy protection in US and Canada","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505811174000 ,"articleLead": "

Retail giant Toys ’R’ Us has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada after struggling amid mammoth debts and online competition.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563894.1505811184!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Toys 'R' Us said its UK stores were not affected by the so-called Chapter 11 filing. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

But the group, which has about 1,600 stores worldwide and 64,000 employees, said its stores outside of the US and Canada – including the UK and Europe, as well as around 255 licensed stores and a joint venture in Asia – were not included in the so-called Chapter 11 filing.

• READ MORE: Retail news

Toys ’R’ Us said its stores would operate “as usual” while it looks to restructure a $5.6 billion (£3.6bn) debt mountain.

The New Jersey-based chain has secured more than $3bn in financing from a syndicate of lenders to help keep its stores open.

It comes ahead of the all-important Christmas season, which makes up around 40 per cent of the group’s annual sales.

The filing is the latest example of turmoil in the retail industry as the shift online takes its toll on established players.

• READ MORE: Toys ‘R’ Us could file for bankruptcy in just weeks

Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive of Toys ’R’ Us, said: “We are confident that we are taking the right steps to ensure that the iconic Toys ’R’ Us and Babies ’R’ Us brands live on for many generations.”

He added: “As the holiday season approaches, our global team members are ready to serve the millions of kids and families who will be shopping with us.”

• READ MORE: Remembering The Jolly Giant: Scotland’s Toys ‘R’ Us

The private equity-owned company sought to assure that it will be working to ensure it is fully stocked and that products are delivered on time.

Toys ’R’ Us has suffered falling like-for-like sales for three quarters in a row and reported a quarterly net loss of $164 million on sales of $2.2bn in June.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Holly Williams"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563894.1505811184!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563894.1505811184!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Toys 'R' Us said its UK stores were not affected by the so-called Chapter 11 filing. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Toys 'R' Us said its UK stores were not affected by the so-called Chapter 11 filing. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563894.1505811184!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/media-leisure/glasgow-offices-to-be-transformed-into-ibis-styles-hotel-1-4563916","id":"1.4563916","articleHeadline": "Glasgow offices to be transformed into Ibis Styles hotel","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505811041000 ,"articleLead": "

A disused office block on Glasgow’s Waterloo Street is set to be transformed into a new hotel.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563915.1505811050!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West will have 137 bedrooms. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The hotel, which will include 137 bedrooms, is due to open its doors next summer under the Ibis Styles brand following a franchise deal with Maven Capital Partners and operator Redefine BDL Hotels (RBH).

• READ MORE: Tourism and leisure news

It marks the second time that Ibis owner AccorHotels has teamed up with Maven and RBH – the first being the Ibis Styles Glasgow Centre George Square.

Cristina De Oliveira-Frewen, AccorHotels’ senior vice-president for franchise hotels in the UK and Ireland, said: “This will be a great new hotel in a prime site in the heart of Glasgow and marks another step in the growth of our brands in the UK.

“Accelerating the franchise growth of the Ibis Styles brand is one of our strategic priorities and this is the kind of opportunity we’re looking to replicate in the right sites across the UK.”

• READ MORE: Developer Artisan buys Glasgow’s Custom House hotel site

Ibis launched in 1974 and is Europe’s largest hotel chain. The Waterloo Street site is the fourth Ibis Styles project to be signed this year and will take the brand’s total number of UK establishments to 21.

Maven investment director Paul Johnston said: “Glasgow is one of the strongest-performing hotel markets and the Ibis Styles brand is a perfect fit for the regeneration that Glasgow, a city famous for culture, music and sport, has undergone in recent years.”

• READ MORE: US investors lead the way as hotels pull in overseas cash

Ross Morrow, chief development officer at RBH, added: “We’ve enjoyed a successful partnership on Ibis Styles Glasgow Centre George Square, and we look forward to bringing another property full of personality – as well as great service – to visitors to the city.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "russell jackson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563915.1505811050!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563915.1505811050!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West will have 137 bedrooms. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West will have 137 bedrooms. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563915.1505811050!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/tim-bunker-barclay-rates-review-proves-to-be-curate-s-egg-1-4563905","id":"1.4563905","articleHeadline": "Tim Bunker: Barclay rates review proves to be curate’s egg","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505809292000 ,"articleLead": "

Last week, finance secretary Derek Mackay committed to implementing the “vast majority” of the findings of a recently published review into Scotland’s business rates system while it was indicated that some of the proposals will need “further consideration and engagement”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563904.1505809302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tim Bunker says it 'would have seemed prudent' for a chartered surveyor to be included on the rates review panel. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The Barclay review group was set up in 2016 by the Scottish Government to make recommendations that would “enhance and reform the business rates system in Scotland to better support business growth, long-term investment and reflect changing marketplaces”.

• READ MORE: Scottish private schools face £5m business rate tax hike

Recommendations were published last month and we’re now getting a sense of how the business and advisory communities are responding to the findings.

For some time now, the business scene has complained about the lack of flexibility in adjusting values between revaluations, the sudden jump in rates liability brought about by a revaluation and the adverse impact on business. With the Government cancelling the business rates revaluation in 2015, the chance was lost to reflect the downward effect on values brought about by recessionary times. A stark example is the Aberdeen market where the fall in rental values due to the oil price decline has been overlooked due to the timetable of the current revaluation.

• READ MORE: Business warned as rates bill appeal deadline nears

Many say the Barclay review was introduced to pacify rate payers when the main problem was cancelling the 2015 revaluation in the first place. This has led to costly legal challenges on what are termed “material change of circumstance” appeals, with hundreds of these appeals still ongoing.

One of the central recommendations of the Barclay review is for rateable values to be in better keeping with more recent rental information and revaluations to take place at three-yearly intervals, specifically based on data from the previous year rather than every five years; a recommendation that was given the green light by Mr Mackay last week.

Our house view at Graham + Sibbald is that because of how the market has changed since the last revaluation, three-year revaluations will better allow the Assessor and agents to arrive at an accurate rateable value of the rate payer’s property. We welcome this recommendation and believe it will be the best way to ensure greater accuracy going forward.

Confirmation of the introduction of a 12-month delay before tax liability is increased on an existing property, if expanded or improved, has been well received. The introduction of a year’s delay in paying rates from date of occupation of new build non-residential properties is another positive and will greatly assist speculative development.

• READ MORE: ‘Real change needed’ as business rates review reports

Although the Assessor and private surveyors had the opportunity to provide input to the review, it was disappointing that neither group was represented on the review panel itself – it would have seemed prudent for a chartered surveyor experienced in rating valuation and the appeal process to be included.

A strong case is building in favour of the liabilities of certain charities, private schools and universities being adjusted in the interim and this is one of the areas the Government says will require further consideration. Our client base includes organisations across the eduction and not-for-profit sectors and we will continue to lobby on their behalf.

Clients are telling us the timeframe allows little to no room for the review of their business plans, fees and charges which have already been set for the current school and university years. However, it has been confirmed that nurseries will be fully exempt from business rates from April next year which has been greatly welcomed in that sector.

While some uncertainty remains around the implementation of the Barclay proposals, the general consensus appears to be one of glass half full rather than half empty.

Tim Bunker is a rating consultant with chartered surveyor and commercial property specialist Graham + Sibbald

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tim Bunker"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563904.1505809302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563904.1505809302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tim Bunker says it 'would have seemed prudent' for a chartered surveyor to be included on the rates review panel. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tim Bunker says it 'would have seemed prudent' for a chartered surveyor to be included on the rates review panel. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563904.1505809302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/edinburgh-continues-to-be-most-prosperous-city-outside-london-1-4563898","id":"1.4563898","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh continues to be most prosperous city outside London","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505808430000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh continues to be the most prosperous UK city outside London with lower unemployment and higher disposable income than anywhere else.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563897.1505808440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Footfall on Princes Street at the beginning of the year was down on last year's figures. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The Capital also has the highest proportion of highly skilled occupations of any UK city, including London, according to data in the latest Edinburgh by Numbers publication produced by the city council.

Unemployment rates in Edinburgh have been lower than other major UK cities in each of the past ten calendar years. The latest figures show joblessness in the Capital at 4.4 per cent last year. The unemployment rate did rise in the years following the economic crash – from 4.3 per cent in 2007 to a peak of 7.1 per cent in 2013 but it was always significantly lower than other major UK cities.

Edinburgh has a higher percentage (72.8 per cent) of the working-age population in employment than the average of major UK cities, though Bristol tops the table at 76.2 per cent and Leeds and London are also both above Edinburgh.

Top reasons in Edinburgh for being economically inactive include being a student (42 per cent) or being retired (15.3 per cent).

The Capital has the highest average disposable income per resident at £21,200, well ahead of second-placed Bristol with £17,900.

Edinburgh has a larger proportion of high skilled occupations, at 40.1 per cent, than other UK cities including the London region.

Health emerges as the sector with the largest proportion of the Capital’s workforce (15.4 per cent) with finance and insurance next at 10.8 per cent – twice the average in other UK cities.

There were a total of 324,000 jobs located in the city in 2015 – 30 per cent or 98,400 of them based in the city centre and another nine per cent or 28,500 in Leith and Leith Walk.

Edinburgh had the third best survival rate for new businesses – with 42 per cent still going after five years, compared with 43.1 per cent in Sheffield and 42.3 per cent in Bristol.

The value of goods and services produced in Edinburgh - known as GVA (Gross Valued Added) - was higher per head than in other UK cities outside London.

There were a total of 19,285 businesses registered in the city, 1000 of them employing more than 250 people.

The fastest growing sectors, in terms of number of businesses, were financial services – up 46.4 per cent in the five years to 2016 – and information and communication, up 46 per cent, The only sector to see a decline was wholesale, retail and repair – down 2.4 per cent.

Footfall on Princes Street was highest in December and August, though August’s was down 2.7 per cent on the previous year while December’s was up 6.6 per cent. And higher footfall does not automatically mean more sales.

Edinburgh came third outside London for foreign direct investment projects last year –24, compared with 26 in Glasgow and 33 in Manchester. But it was second for jobs created by such investment, recording 1243 new posts compared to Sheffield’s 1363.

Economy convener Councillor Gavin Barrie said: “The city has much to be positive about. Edinburgh is a vibrant capital city with a diverse economy, an increasing population and strong investment potential.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "IAN SWANSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563897.1505808440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563897.1505808440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Footfall on Princes Street at the beginning of the year was down on last year's figures. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Footfall on Princes Street at the beginning of the year was down on last year's figures. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563897.1505808440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/sheep-sector-is-following-in-the-footsteps-of-dolly-1-4563872","id":"1.4563872","articleHeadline": "Sheep sector is following in the footsteps of Dolly","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505807249000 ,"articleLead": "

While the poultry and pig industries have led the field in using genome information to improve the productivity characteristics of farmed livestock – such as feed conversion efficiency rates – work at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute is set to help the sheep sector join this revolution.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563871.1505807259!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Roslin Institute says its research could shed light on the role of hundreds of sheep genes. Picture: Lindsay Addison"} ,"articleBody": "

A £1.2 million research project has produced a high resolution gene “atlas” offering fresh insights into the genetic code of sheep which could mark a significant step in accelerating breeding programmes aimed at improving their health and productivity.

• READ MORE: Farming news

Work on animal genomics, which allows DNA data to be used to guide breeding programmes, has also been increasingly used in the fish farm and dairy industries in recent years – and the Scottish Government’s beef efficiency scheme hopes to provide similar benefits for the suckler cow sector.

However, Professor Alan Archibald of the Roslin Institute – home of Dolly, the world’s first cloned sheep – said that, with the exception of some work in New Zealand, the sheep industry had not yet taken advantage of this science.

• READ MORE: Scientific legacy of Dolly the sheep remembered 20 years on

He said that while the work which was published this week might take several years to filter down to farm level, the insights could eventually inform animal breeding programmes aimed at improving farmers’ stocks, and pointed out that the impact of genomics on livestock industries around the world had probably surpassed the effect it had had in medical research.

Dr Emily Clark, project co-ordinator, said that the results represented a major step towards understanding how sheep’s genetic information influences physical traits.

“Sheep have more than 20,000 different genes but not all of these are expressed in each tissue type in the body,” she said.

“The findings also help shed light on the function of the hundreds of genes whose role was previously unknown.”

The work also looked at untangling some of the secrets of hybrid vigour which are often used in the commercial sheep sector, with cross and composite breeds playing a key role in many areas of the sheep industry.

• READ MORE: ‘Let’s go for a bright sheep industry in Scotland’

“And this could help us understand which breed types might offer the best crossing potential,” said Clark.

Archibald added that by improving the efficiency of feed utilisation and possibly reducing ruminants’ production of the greenhouse gas, methane, the important role played by sheep and cattle in converting poorer quality grasslands unsuitable for growing other crops into edible protein could help add to food security around the globe.

Organic producers demand extension to feed derogation

Organic pig and poultry producers face a major threat to their animal health and welfare unless the European Commission rolls over a derogation allowing the industries to use a small proportion of non-organic feed, it has been claimed.

And there was an industry-wide call yesterday for the current derogation, in place for a number of years, to continue to allow the feeding of organic pig and poultry with up to 5 per cent non-organic protein.

Without Commission intervention, these derogations will revert back at the end of the year to original regulation which requires a 100 per cent organic diet, a move which would threaten both sectors, especially organic egg production which had increased markedly in recent years.

National Pig Association chief executive Zoe Davies said: “It is vital for the organic pig sector that these derogations are extended to ensure that producers can continue to control the welfare and diet of their animals.

“Without these derogations, there are serious concerns that the pig and poultry sectors would not be able to source the right nutrition to give their animals the best possible diet.”

• READ MORE: Scots organic food producers hail surge in demand

And English NFU deputy president Minette Batters said: “Organic producers would like nothing more than to use 100 per cent organic feed but they don’t want to do this at the expense of their animals’ health and welfare, which is why an extension is so important.”

She added that, together with the NPA and industry experts, the NFU had met with government officials to stress these concerns and ensure the voice of the organic pig and poultry sector was heard.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Henderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563871.1505807259!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563871.1505807259!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Roslin Institute says its research could shed light on the role of hundreds of sheep genes. Picture: Lindsay Addison","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Roslin Institute says its research could shed light on the role of hundreds of sheep genes. Picture: Lindsay Addison","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563871.1505807259!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/alex-salmond-named-keynote-speaker-at-renewables-event-1-4563868","id":"1.4563868","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond named keynote speaker at renewables event","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505805274000 ,"articleLead": "

Former First Minister Alex Salmond has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at a major conference in Scotland looking at the impact on the renewable energy industry following Brexit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563867.1505805283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond will speak at the event, being run by the University of Dundee's Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The “Renewables After Brexit” event, being staged on 1 December, will see experts from the renewables, legal, financial and political sectors discuss the consequences for the industry when the UK leaves the European Union.

• READ MORE: Energy news

The event is being run by the University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy. Professor Peter Cameron, director of the centre, said: “Renewable energy was a key focus of Alex Salmond’s government and delegates will hear his views on how the industry may fare post-Brexit.”

• READ MORE: Who should pay for renewable energy subsidies in Scotland?

Speakers at the event will also include Dave Pearson, a director at Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy, which last week won a major global sustainability and innovation award for its system which harvests heat from rivers using heat pumps.

The company is currently behind a £3.5 million scheme to supply heat to buildings in the Gorbals by using its pioneering heat pump technology on the Clyde.

• READ MORE: Project generating heat from sewers given funding boost

The project will be the largest such system in the UK. It was one of a number of green initiatives to share £43m of funding from the Scottish Government under the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.

The Scottish Government has given the green light to German utility giant E.ON’s application to build an 18-turbine wind farm at Benbrack.

E.ON, one of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers, said the site will be capable of producing up to 59.4 megawatts of electricity.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PERRY GOURLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563867.1505805283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563867.1505805283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Salmond will speak at the event, being run by the University of Dundee's Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond will speak at the event, being run by the University of Dundee's Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563867.1505805283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/aberdeen-oil-and-gas-firm-tems-strikes-key-african-deal-1-4563863","id":"1.4563863","articleHeadline": "Aberdeen oil and gas firm Tems strikes key African deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505804336000 ,"articleLead": "

An independent Aberdeen-based oil and gas service firm that launched earlier this year has secured its first major contract, believed to be worth in excess of £1 million, as it targets further work overseas.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563862.1505820176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tems International MD Bill Walkingshaw, left, with international business development manager Colin Bruce. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Drilling fluid systems specialist Tems International has won a two-year deal covering environmental and regulatory compliance, as well as drilling waste processing and treatment work, at an onshore oil and gas waste processing facility in Tanzania.

• READ MORE: Energy news

The firm added that it has absorbed Aberdeen firm Team CB, which delivered solids control, water treatment and tank cleaning services. As a result, Tems International now has ­seven staff and three ­consultants, and has relocated to a site in Regent Quay in the Granite City.

• READ MORE: Oil and gas production in Scotland rises by 2.9%

Managing director Bill Walkingshaw said the Tanzanian deal could “open up projects in other industry sectors in the country and worldwide”. The firm, which been supported by the likes of Scottish Development International, is also eyeing the UK, US and Asia.

Aberdeen-based Eland Oil & Gas, which is focused on interests in West Africa, yesterday said a drilling rig has now started operations to develop a new sidetrack well in a field at its OML 40 asset in Nigeria.

The well should be completed next month with initial production forecasted at 5,900 barrels of oil a day.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563862.1505820176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563862.1505820176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tems International MD Bill Walkingshaw, left, with international business development manager Colin Bruce. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tems International MD Bill Walkingshaw, left, with international business development manager Colin Bruce. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563862.1505820176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/new-cycle-lane-schemes-across-scotland-win-22-5m-funding-1-4563725","id":"1.4563725","articleHeadline": "New cycle lane schemes across Scotland win £22.5m funding","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505804323000 ,"articleLead": "

A dedicated cycle path running through the historic centre of the Scottish capital is among a handful of projects that will share the multi-million-pound prize in a major design competition.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563860.1505804326!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Four of the innovative projects sharing �22m in support are include cycle routes in Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Five innovative active travel schemes from around Scotland have been picked to receive funding covering half of their costs as part of the Community Links Plus competition, run by the charity Sustrans Scotland.

This year for the first time all the shortlisted contenders will receive funding.

Two of the successful projects are based in Edinburgh, with others in Glasgow, Stirling and Inverness. Between them they will receive grants totalling £22,540,360 from government agency Transport Scotland.

“Funding all five final projects is a bold step towards a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant Scotland which designs places around the needs of people over vehicular access,” said Daisy Narayanan, deputy director for built environment at Sustrans Scotland.

“These five exemplar projects will demonstrate the wide ranging benefits that well designed places bring, such as boosting footfall for local business, improving the health of local people and creating safer environments that are more pleasant to live in and move through.”

Announcing the awards, Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “Through the Community Links Plus award people will be able to enjoy new active travel routes and, whether it is for commuting or leisure, more people across Scotland will be able to enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport.”

Edinburgh city councillors have welcomed the decision.

“We are absolutely delighted that not one but two City of Edinburgh Council active travel projects have been awarded this vitally important funding,” said transport convener Lesley Macinnes.

“As the fastest growing city in Scotland – and second fastest in the UK – it’s critical that we put people at the very heart of our transport infrastructure.

“Making Edinburgh as easy as possible to get around on foot, by bike and by public transport helps everyone in this city.

“It will greatly improve residents’ and visitors’ health and well-being, reduce frustrating traffic congestion and harmful pollution and send a clear signal to the world that the capital is a people-friendly place where all road users are equally as important.”

The successful projects are: City of Edinburgh Council’s West Edinburgh Active Travel Network, which proposes to create a 1.5km cycle and walking route connecting the university and some of the city’s most deprived communities, and the Meadows to George Street project, which will create a safe cycle link between the Old and New Towns; Glasgow City Council’s Woodside Mini-Holland, which takes inspiration from the Netherlands and proposes to deliver a cycle-friendly neighbourhood in the Woodside community; Highland Council’s Inverness City Active Travel Network, which aims to strengthen connections between all of the city’s communities and the centre and segregated cycle-friendly routes along key routes; and Stirling Council’s Walk, Cycle, Live, which aims to improve the environment and streetscape along the A811, including an expanded pedestrianised area.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563860.1505804326!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563860.1505804326!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Four of the innovative projects sharing �22m in support are include cycle routes in Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Four of the innovative projects sharing �22m in support are include cycle routes in Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563860.1505804326!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563861.1505804332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563861.1505804332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Artists impression of one of the cycleway projects in Glasgow. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Artists impression of one of the cycleway projects in Glasgow. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563861.1505804332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/media-leisure/john-mclellan-appetite-remains-for-print-based-news-1-4563841","id":"1.4563841","articleHeadline": "John McLellan: Appetite remains for print-based news","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505803295000 ,"articleLead": "

When the Oldham Evening Chronicle collapsed two weeks ago, I wrote here it was hard to believe a town of 230,000 people could not sustain a strong weekly publication. It seems I was not alone.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563840.1505803304!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'There is still an appetite for, and potential in, print-based news publishing,' writes John McLellan. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

Last week Newsquest, the UK subsidiary of American news giant Gannet and publishers of Glasgow’s Herald and the Dunfermline Free Press amongst many others, announced immediate plans to launch a new weekly, the Oldham Times.

• READ MORE: Media news

But no sooner had the plan been unveiled when the Oldham-based local radio station, Revolution 96.2, announced it was in “advanced talks” with administrators KPMG to buy the Chronicle.

Newsquest, headed by Henry Faure-Walker who cut his newspaper teeth in Edinburgh as assistant to Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler and then as general manager of The Scotsman Publications, has advantages of scale, as his firm publishes the Bolton News and Blackburn Telegraph.

The new weekly is out this Thursday, produced by four newly-recruited journalists and edited by Bolton News chief Ian Savage, compared to the 49 people laid off when the Chronicle folded. With a tenth of the staff costs, a fifth of the distribution and production costs and no pension liability, the business model could not be more different from that of the collapsed outfit.

• READ MORE: John McLellan: Oldham title latest victim of print pressures

It’s unlikely the radio station would want to saddle itself with the cost of continuing daily publication, and even in such a short space of time, the Chronicle’s 6,000 or so readers will have broken the daily habit. A weekly would make more sense and if Revolution goes ahead with the acquisition of the brand, Oldham could witness a short circulation battle.

Even with such a big population, the loss of the classified platforms and competition for remaining advertising from social media means two competing paid-for titles would not be sustainable for long. Having stolen a march, Newsquest is in the driving seat, even if its rival has the advantage of free radio marketing.

• READ MORE: Trinity Mirror in talks to buy Daily Express publisher

Trinity Mirror could have made a similar move from its Manchester base but is focussed on its takeover bid for the Daily Express and Richard Desmond’s other publishing interests, revealed shortly after the Chronicle announcement. A new national group of three dailies in different parts of the political, geographic and demographic market in the Daily Record, Daily Mirror and Daily Express, is workable, but a Sunday stable of the Mail, Mirror, People, Star and Express would surely result in amalgamations.

Whoever ends up publishing what, locally or nationally there is still an appetite for, and potential in, print–based news publishing.

• John McLellan is director of the Scottish Newspaper Society and a City of Edinburgh Conservative councillor

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOHN MCLELLAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563840.1505803304!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563840.1505803304!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'There is still an appetite for, and potential in, print-based news publishing,' writes John McLellan. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'There is still an appetite for, and potential in, print-based news publishing,' writes John McLellan. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563840.1505803304!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/overwhelming-support-for-auto-enrolment-pension-schemes-1-4563838","id":"1.4563838","articleHeadline": "‘Overwhelming support’ for auto-enrolment pension schemes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505802096000 ,"articleLead": "

The return of “paternalistic employers” has been hailed in a new report ahead of the fifth anniversary next month of pensions auto-enrolment.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563837.1505805754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Next month marks the fifth anniversary of the auto-enrolment pensions launch. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

A study from stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, covering more than 400 employers, shows “overwhelming support” to expand auto-enrolment to get more people saving more and for more purposes.

• READ MORE: Management news

Auto-enrolment began in October 2012, and the report says four out of five employers said they think minimum contributions under the process should rise. The majority also said they were happy to help shoulder the increased cost of retirement saving.

A total of 6 per cent believe they should cover all the cost of a contribution increase, whilst 31 per cent think they should bear a greater share of the cost increase.

• READ MORE: Pensions watchdog on hunt for rogue employers in Edinburgh

A total of 60 per cent said they backed using automatic enrolment through the workplace to nudge employees towards building an emergency cash fund and so improve financial resilience.

And more than half (53 per cent) think all earnings should count for a pension contribution, whereas currently there is no obligation to pay a contribution on the first £5,876 of pay “which penalises lower earners”.

• READ MORE: 1 in 4 Scots ‘saving nothing for retirement’

It comes as the government is currently reviewing where they go next with auto-enrolment, with a response expected by the end of 2017.

Nathan Long, senior pensions analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented: “Auto-enrolment was met originally with groans from employers who perceived further disruption to their staff and an increase to their staffing costs.

“Only five years on and employers are now calling for auto-enrolment to go further.”

Scottish job candidates are the most likely in the UK to haggle with potential employers over their salary, writes Perry Gourley.

A survey by jobs board CV-Library found that 84 per cent of job seekers in Scotland said pay was a key area that they negotiate on. The figure was as high as 93 per cent for workers in Aberdeen.

• READ MORE: How to ask your boss for a payrise and other hard questions

Lee Biggins, managing director of CV-Library, said: “The shift in power within the job market means that many candidates know their worth and will only move for a job that meets all of their criteria. Salary continues to be the main driver for job hunters, with many refusing to move jobs unless they’re receiving a significant pay increase.”

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "martin flanagan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563837.1505805754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563837.1505805754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Next month marks the fifth anniversary of the auto-enrolment pensions launch. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Next month marks the fifth anniversary of the auto-enrolment pensions launch. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563837.1505805754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/energy-innovation-in-spotlight-at-venturefest-pitch-event-1-4563836","id":"1.4563836","articleHeadline": "Energy innovation in spotlight at Venturefest pitch event","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1505801082000 ,"articleLead": "

An event looking to drive innovative solutions to future energy challenges is to take place tomorrow, with three teams of young people pitching in front of Scotland’s leading investors.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563835.1505801092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Venturefest Scotland winners will receive advice and an investment prize. Picture: Kieran Chambers"} ,"articleBody": "

The participants, aged 14 to 20, will put forward their ideas at Venturefest Scotland at Glasgow Science Centre.

• READ MORE: Future Scotland

The winners will receive an investment prize from Social Investment Scotland, and a unique face-to-face advice session with Minecraft entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl.

The teams pitching are Volts and Jolts, Girl Power, and Fishing for Fusion, the shortlisted finalists at August’s VentureJam 2017 focused on re-purposing existing products and technology.

• READ MORE: Young innovators battle it out against air pollution

Business, innovation and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “If we can capitalise on the ingenuity of our young people, Scotland can, and will, remain a world leader in renewable energy for many years to come, and I look forward to hearing more about the winner at the final of Venturefest.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4563835.1505801092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4563835.1505801092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Venturefest Scotland winners will receive advice and an investment prize. Picture: Kieran Chambers","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Venturefest Scotland winners will receive advice and an investment prize. Picture: Kieran Chambers","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4563835.1505801092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}