{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"business","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/outlander-helps-double-value-of-scotland-s-film-tv-productions-1-4312157","id":"1.4312157","articleHeadline": "Outlander helps double value of Scotland's film & TV productions","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481219694182 ,"articleLead": "The value of film and television production to Scotland has almost doubled in the space of four years - to more than £50 million for the first time.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312156.1481195196!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan have been filming Outlander in Scotland for more than three years."} ,"articleBody": "

Filming on the American TV series Outlander is thought to be largely responsible for the surge since it started shooting in the autumn of 2013.

However feature films like The BFG, Tommy’s Honour and Whisky Galore also helped boost the tally to a record £52.7 million for 2015, up 15 per cent on the previous 12 months.

That compares to the £27 million that was generated by film and television productions in 2012 - before the vast studio complex for Outlander was created in a former warehouse in Cumbernauld.

National arts agency Creative Scotland today said it expected “a further and significant increase” to be recorded for 2016 thanks to feature films like T2, the Trainspotting sequel, and Churchill, a new big-screen biopic starring Brian Cox.

Filming on the second series of Outlander, which has used locations across Scotland, began in April 2015 and production is already underway at the Lanarkshire site on a third.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This record spend shows that all eyes are on Scotland as the ideal place to base production. Our uniquely beautiful rural areas to bustling urban cityscapes provide excellent backdrops and our highly skilled crews are in hot demand.

“2015 has been a record year and I am determined to keep working with our agencies to support and grow Scotland’s screen sector.

Natalie Usher, director of screen at Creative Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to see that the production spend figures published today show a significant increase on previous years. This proves that Scotland’s talent, crews, facilities and award winning locations continue to be of huge attraction to major international productions.

“In the last year we have seen Sony Starz maintain their commitment to a large scale production base at Cumbernauld, we welcomed Jason Connery’s feature film Tommy’s Honour, and it was great to see our wonderful capital city double for Victorian London in the landmark BBC series, The Secret Agent.”

Rosie Ellison, manager of Film Edinburgh, said: “We saw a 50 per cent increase in the economic impact from film and TV productions in 2015 with £7 million invested in the local economy by productions.

“This came largely from a record-breaking number of high-value productions choosing to shoot in the region including The Secret Agent, One Of Us, Tommy’s Honour and Outlander.”


" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312156.1481195196!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312156.1481195196!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan have been filming Outlander in Scotland for more than three years.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan have been filming Outlander in Scotland for more than three years.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312156.1481195196!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312304.1481225510!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312304.1481225510!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Locations in Skye and Orkney were used for the filming of The BFG.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Locations in Skye and Orkney were used for the filming of The BFG.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312304.1481225510!/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/markets-economy/thursday-market-close-bookies-take-a-hammering-as-ftse-gains-1-4292657","id":"1.4292657","articleHeadline": "Thursday market close: Bookies take a hammering as FTSE gains","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481219253000 ,"articleLead": "

Bookmakers were left licking their wounds after a cross-party group of MPs called for a clampdown on betting machines.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4292656.1479409602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Trader monitoring market activity. Picture: AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The parliamentary group said the UK government should slash maximum stakes on fixed-odd betting terminals and slow down the speed at which they operate.

The intervention caused William Hill to sink more than 6 per cent, or 18.8p to 292.7p, while Ladbrokes Coral dropped 2 per cent, or 3.5p to 123.6p.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index paused for breath following a heady rise in the previous session, but still managed to put on 29.32 points to close at 6,931.55.

Sterling was slightly ahead versus the euro after the European Central Bank (ECB) poured another half-trillion euro in newly printed money into the eurozone economy to support its recovery.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Today’s decision proved to be a classic case of euro fudge as the bank extended its €80bn QE program beyond March next year, but cut the monthly amount to €60bn from April 2017 until the end of the year, in essence arguing that they have extended the program, but also reflecting the fact that deflation was no longer a major concern.”

Across Europe, Germany’s Dax was 1.8 per cent higher and the Cac 40 in France rose 0.9 per cent.

Sports Direct was the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 after profits took a hammering following the collapse in sterling. Shares dropped more than 8 per cent, or 26.1p, to 288.8p.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4292656.1479409602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4292656.1479409602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Trader monitoring market activity. Picture: AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Trader monitoring market activity. Picture: AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4292656.1479409602!/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/investor-bonanza-after-national-grid-sells-holding-1-4312383","id":"1.4312383","articleHeadline": "Investor bonanza after National Grid sells holding","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481203594000 ,"articleLead": "

National Grid has pledged to return £4 billion to shareholders after agreeing to sell a 61 per cent stake in a major gas pipe network to a team of global investors.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312382.1481203518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The National Grid deal centres on the gas pipe network division. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The deal will see a consortium led by Australian investment bank Macquarie, and including China’s sovereign wealth fund, take control of the network serving 11 million homes and businesses.

In addition to the bumper investor return, National Grid has pledged to hand out a £150 million payment to benefit UK energy customers.

It will receive £3.6bn in cash for the stake in its gas business, which is valued at about £13.8bn overall, as well as a further £1.8bn in debt financing.

While National Grid will retain a 39 per cent stake in the operation, it is also in talks with the consortium over the sale of a potential further 14 per cent holding.

It comes after the UK government launched a review in September of how overseas investment in UK infrastructure is scrutinised and whether ministers should have stronger powers to intervene.

John Pettigrew, chief executive of National Grid, said: “The consortium will have exactly the same obligations going forward in terms of security, reliability and safety as National Grid has had.

“It involves a group of investors who have a long track record of investing in critical infrastructure in the UK.”

National Grid has some 82,000 miles of pipeline, which delivers gas to regions including London and the east of England, the West Midlands and north-west England. It employs some 5,700 staff.

Pettigrew said the gas network management team will remain in place, while staff will see their terms, conditions and pension rights honoured.

The firm plans to return most of the £4bn to shareholders through a special dividend in the second quarter of 2017 and will work alongside industry regulator Ofgem to decide how best to use the £150m payout to benefit energy customers.

The auction for the gas network has been running for about a year and saw the Macquarie consortium fight off a raft of competitors.

For the bid, Macquarie teamed up with China Investment Corporation – a subsidiary of China’s sovereign wealth fund – as well as the Qatar Investment Authority, Allianz Capital Partners, Hermes Investment Management and fund managers Dalmore Capital and Amber Infrastructure Limited/International Public Partnerships.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "sreid@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SCOTT REID AND HOLLY WILLIAMS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312382.1481203518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312382.1481203518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The National Grid deal centres on the gas pipe network division. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The National Grid deal centres on the gas pipe network division. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312382.1481203518!/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/future-scotland/tech/scots-tech-firms-urged-to-join-defence-industry-push-1-4312579","id":"1.4312579","articleHeadline": "Scots tech firms urged to join defence industry push","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481213011000 ,"articleLead": "

Ministers have launched a drive to encourage small hi-tech businesses to join larger firms in creating an innovative future for the UK defence industry.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312578.1481212935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HMS Forth outside the BAE shipyard in Govan. Two more offshore patrol vessels will be built at the same complex. Picture: Bob Shaw/BAE"} ,"articleBody": "

Harriett Baldwin, minister for defence procurement, unveiled the Defence and Security Accelerator to encourage small firms, academics and defence experts to use the latest technology to give the UK the edge.

The Maritime Enterprise Innovation Scotland Conference asked 300 delegates at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow to help the UK save lives and money, and win battles in the information age.

Ms Baldwin said: “The defence innovation initiative and £800 million defence innovation fund aim to encourage imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship in pursuit of maintaining a military advantage in the future.

“This innovation challenge calls for innovators to develop new technologies to improve the UK’s ability to analyse and exploit data in order to inform decision-making.

“With a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, our commitment to collaboration will deliver a safer and more prosperous Britain.”

READ MORE: Clyde yards embrace virtual reality for latest navy ship

The £3 million Accelerator competition, backed by an £800 million Ministry of Defence innovation fund, hopes to use new technologies to improve the way the defence industry uses data and makes decisions.

The Royal Navy hopes innovative use of sensors and artificial intelligence created by new technology will give its commanders the edge on battlefield.

The conference was attended by firms including BAE Systems, Thales UK, Rolls Royce and Lockheed Martin.

It was keen to collaborate with smaller firms such as Vert Rotors in Edinburgh and Glasgow-based Amethyst Research which had already benefited from funding.

Rear Admiral John Weale, a career submariner and the Royal Navy’s flag officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “Scotland and the Royal Navy have been joined at the hip and Scotland is hugely influential to the Royal Navy.

“We are going through an era of technological change as we build sophisticated warships we need innovation to give us the technological and competitive advantage.”

Ms Baldwin later visited the Govan shipyard to cut steel on two of the Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vehicles (OPV).

The OPV programme provides about 800 Scottish shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde and hundreds of others in 113 companies in the UK supply chain.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Graeme Murray"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312578.1481212935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312578.1481212935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "HMS Forth outside the BAE shipyard in Govan. Two more offshore patrol vessels will be built at the same complex. Picture: Bob Shaw/BAE","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HMS Forth outside the BAE shipyard in Govan. Two more offshore patrol vessels will be built at the same complex. Picture: Bob Shaw/BAE","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312578.1481212935!/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/royal-college-of-surgeons-commercial-arm-cheers-milestone-1-4312023","id":"1.4312023","articleHeadline": "Royal College of Surgeons' commercial arm cheers milestone","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481191809077 ,"articleLead": "

The commercial arm of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is celebrating a decade of growth.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312022.1481192639!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The commercial arm of the Edinburgh institution is celebrating a highly successful first decade. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Formed following the 500th anniversary of the college, the commercial enterprises division was launched in 2006. It was tasked with making the most of the institution's buildings, with all the profits being invested back into running the college.

The commercial operation, which started out as just three people, is now celebrating its own landmark anniversary, having grown into a 90-strong team generating annual revenues of £4.5 million.

Neil Hamilton, business development manager and a founding member of the original team, said the work of commercial enterprises would help further the aims of the college for centuries to come.

\"There can't be many organisations founded with a distinct vision for the next 500 years - and if the first ten are anything to go by we are well on track to deliver our ultimate goal.

\"During the first discussions more than ten years ago, we were tasked with making the best possible use of the many impressive buildings owned by the college.

\"Given the rooms and spaces at our disposal it was a real opportunity, but the challenge was that we had to deliver quickly in order to support the important work of the college.\"

Closely following the launch of the operation was the transformation of the college residencies into the 77-room Ten Hill Place hotel in 2006. The success of the hotel culminated in takings of £2.7m last year, achieved thanks to an impressive 88 per cent occupancy rate, with discussions ongoing regarding a significant expansion. Further success has been achieved providing venues for conferences.

Moira Walker, marketing manager and a fellow founding member of the team, said: \"It is amazing just how busy we now are, considering that we started, effectively from scratch, just ten years ago.

\"The great thing here is the ambition. Not one year has passed with us sitting still and we have achieved a staggering amount over the past ten years - all driven by the charitable aims at the heart of everything we do.\"

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" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.reid@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312022.1481192639!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312022.1481192639!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The commercial arm of the Edinburgh institution is celebrating a highly successful first decade. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The commercial arm of the Edinburgh institution is celebrating a highly successful first decade. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312022.1481192639!/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/tennent-s-to-pour-1m-into-new-wellpark-visitor-centre-1-4312413","id":"1.4312413","articleHeadline": "Tennent’s to pour £1m into new Wellpark visitor centre","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481204748000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow’s oldest continuous commercial concern is set to tap into the power of cutting-edge 3D technology to bring nearly 500 years of history to life.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312411.1481205022!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tennent's said the visitor centre will be one of Scotland's 'premier tourist destinations'. Picture: Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

Tennent Caledonian will pour £1 million into a new visitor centre at its Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow’s east end, where beer has been made on the same site on the banks of the Molendinar Burn since 1556.

The planning application, currently with Glasgow City Council, will enhance existing visitor facilities with digitally-produced simulation and visualisation content showcasing “The Tennent’s Story”.

Owned by Ireland’s C&C, the brewery produces Scotland’s best-selling lager, which has also seen a jump in export sales in recent months.

READ MORE: Tennent’s owner targets China in latest overseas push

Tennent’s managing director Andrea Pozzi, who took over in September as an extension of his role as head C&C Brands, said the new five-star attraction is due to open in the autumn of 2017.

He said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Tennent’s and this announcement is another significant investment in the future of our business and the Wellpark site. The plans we’ve put in place will transform our current visitor centre into one of Scotland’s premier tourist destinations. We can’t wait to get started.

“Since 1556, Tennent’s has been part of Scotland’s cultural history and we have an incredible story to tell. The current visitor centre attracts over 15,000 local and international tourists every year, and we look forward to welcoming even more people through our doors when The Tennent’s Story opens next year.”

The project is being led by Glasgow-based agency The Creative Cell along with ZM Architecture and The School of Simulation and Visualisation at the Glasgow School of Art. It will focus on telling the story of Tennent’s place in Scottish history, culture and sport, while promoting Tennent’s reputation as a Master Brewer of lager and ale.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "KRISTY DORSEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312411.1481205022!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312411.1481205022!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tennent's said the visitor centre will be one of Scotland's 'premier tourist destinations'. Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tennent's said the visitor centre will be one of Scotland's 'premier tourist destinations'. Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312411.1481205022!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312412.1481205055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312412.1481205055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tennent's said it was 'part of Scotland's cultural history'. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tennent's said it was 'part of Scotland's cultural history'. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312412.1481205055!/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/ofcom-vows-to-break-from-old-regime-of-bbc-1-4312524","id":"1.4312524","articleHeadline": "Ofcom vows to ‘break from old regime’ of BBC","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481235672000 ,"articleLead": "

Ofcom has set out how it will take on regulation of the BBC from next April in the biggest reform of the governance and regulation of the national broadcaster since it was founded.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312523.1481235596!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ofcom will take on regulation of the BBC from April next year"} ,"articleBody": "

The regulator said it would utilise “robust enforcement powers” in a “clean break from the old regime” in a paper published ahead of the imminent publication of the final BBC Royal Charter, which details how the BBC will operate in the new Charter period from next year to 2027.

A white paper setting out the new Charter revealed plans to scrap the BBC Trust and proposed the creation of a new unitary board to run the BBC. The board will be made up of a majority of members chosen by the BBC, however, it is expected that UK Government ministers will also have the power to directly appoint members.

Ofcom said: “Ofcom’s new role is to set regulatory requirements that the BBC must meet in respect of programmes and services, to ensure that the BBC’s actions don’t have a disproportionate impact on fair and effective competition, and to hold the BBC to

account where it fails to comply with its obligations. In carrying out our role, we willhave robust enforcement powers. This will be a clean break with the old regime.

“The BBC Trust was responsible for both governance and regulation, Ofcom’s new role will be different – the regulatory system that we construct will reflect our position as external regulator and our experience of regulating the entire broadcasting sector.”

Ofcom added that it would recognise that the BBC is the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in the UK, but said it would not give it special treatment.

BBC complainants will also be able to obtain an independent opinion from Ofcom on whether the BBC has observed editorial guidelines on the content of online material in its UK Public Services, while the regulator said it is also developing a set of tools to regulate the BBC’s performance, including an Operating Licence for the BBC’s UK public services.

The new arrangement hands Ofcom regulatory responsibility for content standards on BBC broadcasting and on-demand programme services including, for the first time, for the accuracy and impartiality of BBC news and current affairs programmes.

The deadline of April next year for Ofcom to take over responsibility for the BBC was pushed back from the end of December after Ofcom reportedly said it was not ready to take on the new role in the timescale.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312523.1481235596!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312523.1481235596!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ofcom will take on regulation of the BBC from April next year","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ofcom will take on regulation of the BBC from April next year","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312523.1481235596!/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/mike-ashley-buys-new-jet-as-sports-direct-profits-slump-1-4311905","id":"1.4311905","articleHeadline": "Mike Ashley buys new jet as Sports Direct profits slump","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481195859000 ,"articleLead": "

Profits at scandal-hit Sports Direct have taken a hammering following the collapse in sterling – but it has not stopped billionaire owner Mike Ashley splashing out on a new corporate jet.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311904.1481182640!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley said the past six months had been 'tough'. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The retailer said that underlying earnings plunged 33.5 per cent to £145.3 million in the first half of the year, slumping even further on a pre-tax basis, by 57 per cent to £71.6m.

The group, which has endured a long list of controversies over the past months, compounded its problems by failing to hedge against the fall in the value of the pound in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum.

Ashley said: “The last six months have been tough for our people and performance. Our UK sports retail business continues to be the engine of Sports Direct, but our results have been affected by the significant deterioration in exchange rates, and our assessment of our risk relating to our stock levels and European stores performance.”

The company said revenue rose 14 per cent to £1.6 billion, but warned of a challenging environment, which the firm expects to continue into the “foreseeable future”.

Nevertheless, the half-year results also revealed that, in order to “facilitate efficiencies”, Sports Direct will be taking delivery of a corporate plane in the coming weeks at a cost of £40m. This adds to a helicopter which is already used by “senior management, employees and our business partners on a regular basis”.

READ MORE: Mike Ashley takes charge as Sports Direct chief quits

The news comes after a string of controversies for the firm which has seen Ashley hauled before MPs to be grilled over working conditions, the company host a tumultuous “open day” at its headquarters, and its chief executive Dave Forsey quit – only to be replaced by Ashley.

Ashley sought to address the shambolic year through the trading statement, claiming again that he would like Sports Direct to become the “Selfridges of sports retail”.

He said: “What matters most to me is how tough the last year has been for the people who work at Sports Direct. Our people have once again found themselves in the spotlight through no fault of their own, yet they remain hard-working and loyal.

“It is for this reason that my immediate priority will be to protect the people at Sports Direct.”

But chairman Keith Hellawell, a former police chief, lashed out at what he called an “extreme” campaign against the company and said it was affecting performance.

“I have no doubt that the extreme political, union and media campaign waged against this company has not only damaged its reputation and influenced our customers, it has impacted negatively on the morale of our people. I begin to question whether this intense scrutiny is all ethically motivated.”

Hellawell also made overtures to one of the firm’s tormentors, Labour MP Iain Wright, who is heading up a parliamentary inquiry into the retailer. Wright has been offered the “opportunity to attend Shirebrook to meet with a representative sample of 500 of our workforce in order to get a balanced view of life at the company”.

The invitation comes after MPs claimed last month that they had discovered an undercover recording device during an unannounced visit to the Derbyshire warehouse.

Despite the Financial Reporting Council announcing an investigation into Sports Direct over the retailer’s relationship with a firm owned by the tycoon’s brother, the company said it has entered into an agreement with Double Take Limited, in which Matilda Ashley, Mike Ashley’s daughter, is a director. Double Take will license Sports Direct exclusive rights to the cosmetic brand Sport.

Referring to the controversy over working practices at its warehouse in Shirebrook – where it was revealed that some employees were paid below the national minimum wage – the company said staff morale has suffered.

Sports Direct added that demand from workers to move from zero-hours contracts to full employment is “low”, but it is exploring arrangements which “may prove more attractive”.

The retailer has also been condemned by shareholders over its corporate governance practices. To this end, the company has announced the appointment of a new non-executive director, David Brayshaw. A former banker, Brayshaw has held jobs at the likes of Barclays, HSBC and Citigroup.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RAVENDER SEMBHY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311904.1481182640!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311904.1481182640!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley said the past six months had been 'tough'. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley said the past six months had been 'tough'. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311904.1481182640!/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/global-accolade-for-edinburgh-s-father-of-lifi-1-4312099","id":"1.4312099","articleHeadline": "Global accolade for Edinburgh’s ‘father of LiFi’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481194485000 ,"articleLead": "

The co-founder of an Edinburgh spin-out that uses light to transmit information has received a global award for his work on the technology.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312098.1481194467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harald Haas has been dubbed the 'father of LiFi'. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Professor Harald Haas, chief scientific officer at PureLiFi, was presented with the International Solid State Lighting Alliance (ISA) award for outstanding achievement by Shuji Nakamura, who won the Nobel prize for physics in 2014.

The accolade, handed out at the 13th International Forum on Solid State Lighting in Beijing, relates to Haas’s contribution to diversifying the applications of solid state lighting (SSL) technology.

Haas said: “It has been such a great honour to receive this prestigious award, which I would like to devote to everyone who supported me on this 14-year journey.

“LiFi is like an undiscovered beach full of pebble stones – under each stone there is something new and exciting to discover, and what is really thrilling is that these discoveries can change our lives and create massive commercial opportunities.”

READ MORE: Edinburgh tech firm PureLiFi runs trial in Singapore

PureLiFi, formed in 2012 as a spin-off from the University of Edinburgh, is now carrying out a major trial of its system in Singapore. The company’s tie-up with the city state’s Info-communications Development Media Authority marks the first time a city has embraced the technology on such a large scale.

The trial in Singapore comes after the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, led a funding round that took the total raised by PureLiFi to more than £7 million.

Haas has been described as the “father of LiFi” and is credited with coining the term, which stands for “light fidelity”. The technology has the potential to be significantly faster than current WiFi systems and can turn everday lamps into wireless internet access points.

The ISA jury said that Haas, who established the world’s first LiFi research and development centre at the University of Edinburgh in 2013, has “not only pioneered the novel concept of communication by lighting devices, but also publicised the technology earning him the recognition as the father of LiFi”.

“This is a considerable contribution to diversify the applications of SSL technology and open up new markets,” they added. “His scientific-technical achievement certainly deserves to be awarded.”

PureLiFi chief executive Alistair Banham said: “The honour Professor Harald Haas has received from this important organisation is a real indication of his contribution to science and technology as a whole. Harald is the global thought leader in LiFi and the path to innovation he has created for us will change the way the world connects in a high-speed wireless future.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312098.1481194467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312098.1481194467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Harald Haas has been dubbed the 'father of LiFi'. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harald Haas has been dubbed the 'father of LiFi'. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312098.1481194467!/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/slump-in-factory-output-likely-to-prove-a-blip-1-4312030","id":"1.4312030","articleHeadline": "Slump in factory output likely to prove a blip","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481192240000 ,"articleLead": "

Output in Britain’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly slumped in October, according to official figures that were described by economists as “disappointing” but likely to be a blip.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312029.1481192163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The textiles, pharmaceuticals and food sectors saw heavy falls in production. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that output from the sector fell 0.9 per cent in ­October, compared with a

0.6 per cent rise in September – economists had been eyeing growth of 0.2 per cent.

Overall industrial production also came in below expectations, dropping for the third month in a row to a decline of 1.3 per cent in October. Economists had been pencilling in total production output to nudge up by 0.4 per cent month-on-month.

Jack Coy, an economist at think-tank the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), said: “Failing emphatically to meet consensus expectations for a slight rise in output, this is disappointing news.

“The fall in output represents the sharpest monthly drop since 2012. Nonetheless, the news should not be overstated as a signal of a Brexit-related downturn, as other factors underpin the fall. The sharp fall was mainly due to temporary maintenance, including a shutdown of the Buzzard oil field in the North Sea.”

READ MORE: Manufacturers hit two-year exports high post-Brexit

The ONS said manufacturing output notched up its biggest fall since February, with the production of basic pharmaceutical products dropping 3.6 per cent. Oil and gas extraction plummeted 10.8 per cent after the Buzzard shutdown.

Year on year, total industrial output was down 1.1 per cent and manufacturing output fell by 0.4 per cent.

Manufacturing PMI figures for October had painted a brighter prospect for the sector, with output hitting 54.3, down from 55.5 in September. Any reading above 50 denotes growth.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at manufacturing organisation EEF, said the industry was on course to mount a comeback before the end of the year.

“This is not the start to the fourth quarter that we expected to see in the official statistics, given the rather more buoyant survey indicators over the past few months.

“Output falls appear fairly widespread across subsectors, but falls in pharmaceuticals, textiles and food were responsible for much of the drop over the month.

“While this is a disappointing set of figures, more upbeat commentary coming from across the sector … points to this trend reversing in the final months of the year.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "sreid@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312029.1481192163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312029.1481192163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The textiles, pharmaceuticals and food sectors saw heavy falls in production. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The textiles, pharmaceuticals and food sectors saw heavy falls in production. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312029.1481192163!/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/brexit-boost-a-chance-to-get-farming-s-house-in-order-1-4312004","id":"1.4312004","articleHeadline": "Brexit boost a chance to get farming’s house in order","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481190760000 ,"articleLead": "

UK farmers may be enjoying a Brexit bonus in the form of the improvement in farmgate prices brought about by a weaker pound.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312003.1481190774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Farmgate prices have improved thanks to the weaker pound. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

But producers should use this unexpected boost to ensure that balance sheets are stabilised, debts reduced and businesses put in a stronger position to withstand the next downturn.

That was the clear message given by the farm business consultancy Andersons yesterday when it launched its annual outlook report.

Speaking at a breakfast briefing for farm consultant and advisers in the Borders, director David Siddle said that on the surface of things, it appeared that the economy had coped reasonably well with the short-term Brexit surprise.

READ MORE: Brexit ‘won’t cut through red tape’ says farm consultant

“The exchange rate between the euro and sterling is the biggest single determinant of UK farm profitability,” said Siddle. “And in the short-term agriculture looks set to receive a boost in returns on the back of weakened sterling.”

He said that if the current rates remained in play, 2017 and 2018 could provide better returns for the industry. He said that the difference in exchange rates had improved returns for beef and cattle producers and had also seen grain growers achieve marginal improvements in prices while they had been falling elsewhere in Europe.

“And although a number of grain producers failed to benefit from the upturn in prices as they had sold forward before the Brexit vote, the futures markets have offered them the opportunity to sell some of their 2017 grain forward at prices approaching £140 a tonne.”

However, while the short-term might look better than many had feared, Brexit held huge potential to have a highly negative impact on the industry over the longer term.

Stressing that agriculture itself was likely to be a minor consideration for UK government negotiations, he said the industry had to make its voice heard – and working along with processors and retailers was crucial.

Rise of £107 a hectare expected

Figures produced for the organisation’s hypothetical Meadow Farm in the outlook report showed that, while it was calculated that Brexit was likely to boost both the value of farm output and support levels for 2017, by 2025 both these figures had dropped substantially.

And while business surplus was likely to rise to £107 a hectare in 2017, under the company’s prediction for a “soft” Brexit this was likely to fall to £6 a hectare in 2025 – while under the “hard” Brexit option, a substantial loss of £170 for each hectare was predicted.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "BRIAN HENDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312003.1481190774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312003.1481190774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Farmgate prices have improved thanks to the weaker pound. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Farmgate prices have improved thanks to the weaker pound. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312003.1481190774!/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/beef-scheme-tagging-kits-on-their-way-after-delays-1-4311990","id":"1.4311990","articleHeadline": "Beef scheme tagging kits on their way after delays","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481189709000 ,"articleLead": "

Cattle farmers who have signed up for the £45 million beef efficiency scheme are likely to receive their tissue sampling tags by the end of the year – and they should now be able to find out which animals need to be tagged by logging into their Scot EID accounts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311989.1481189718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Progress of the tagging scheme has been widely criticised. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Stating that the tagging kits – which will include the tags, associated applicators and instructions – will be sent directly from Neogen, the laboratory which will be processing the tissue samples, rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing also revealed that the “technical issues” which had delayed their delivery had led him to extend the return period for the tags up to 30 June 2017.

READ MORE: Fury over delays to tissue-sampling ear tags for calves

He also said that farmers should continue their normal management regimes and that there would be no penalties for those who had sold stock – although, as a result, some farmers could face a higher rate of sampling next year.

While the progress of the scheme has been widely criticised, NFU Scotland livestock chairman Charlie Adam said the union welcomed the fact that the tags would soon be delivered, adding: “This is not a fast process and we have a long journey ahead, nevertheless this is the first step on the road.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN HENDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311989.1481189718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311989.1481189718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Progress of the tagging scheme has been widely criticised. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Progress of the tagging scheme has been widely criticised. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311989.1481189718!/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/scotland-seen-as-a-hotspot-for-retail-expansion-1-4311967","id":"1.4311967","articleHeadline": "Scotland seen as a hotspot for retail expansion","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481188693000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland has been identified by the UK’s leading 100 retailers as one of just four regions having potential for more shops, alongside the south-west of England, the west Midlands and London.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311966.1481188796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The report said Scotland offers 'great potential' for retailers. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Travel hubs are seen as having the best retail growth prospects, said the report, compiled by UK law firm TLT and Conlumino, the global shopping research agency.

READ MORE: Scots retail sales overtake UK following Brexit vote

“Scotland continues to offer great potential for retailers,” said Perran Jervis, a partner at TLT. He cited railway developments like the £41 million Edinburgh Gateway and Dundee’s £38m Waterfront station as likely to attract retail investment.

However, the report cautioned that business rates still remained a “millstone” for the sector.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN FLANAGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311966.1481188796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311966.1481188796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The report said Scotland offers 'great potential' for retailers. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The report said Scotland offers 'great potential' for retailers. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311966.1481188796!/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/transport/martin-flanagan-stagecoach-resilient-despite-headwinds-1-4311957","id":"1.4311957","articleHeadline": "Martin Flanagan: Stagecoach resilient despite headwinds","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481186826000 ,"articleLead": "

You might say that for Scottish transport major Stagecoach and its industry peers everything that could go wrong has gone wrong in the past year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311956.1481186750!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Flanagan says Stagecoach can ride out the current disruption. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

A left-field Brexit vote that has sapped business and consumer confidence, an economic slowdown, car-friendly lower oil prices, terrorism and poor weather have all rained down from the ridge. But that is to underestimate the resilience of the better-run parts of the transport sector. Perhaps second only to food, transport has significant defensive characteristics in downturns, even one with the multiple negative facets outlined earlier.

People have to get around, both for work and leisure. As such, as at Stagecoach, revenue growth may slow and profits and profit margins may take a hit, but the underlying businesses remain sound, with the longer-term dynamics at its back.

These include population growth, the pressure to tackle road congestion and air quality, the general move to cities from the country as economic migrants, and increasing use of the internet to make public transport easier to access and to pay for.

READ MORE: Stagecoach wheels slow amid Brexit and terrorism fears

Despite taking a 20 per cent hit to its operating profit line, Stagecoach’s overall revenues lifted above £2 billion in its latest six trading months, and the dividend is raised 8 per cent partly because of the group’s strong cash flows and partly because of what it views as its positive medium-term prospects beyond the current flurry of headwinds.

The group is also the latest to seize on a silver lining in the bouffant political and economic cloud that is Donald Trump, the US president-elect. To wit: the incoming president’s voluble commitment to US infrastructure improvement.

Britain’s engineering and construction companies want some of this action, our component makers believe they can get in there, too, and transport companies with sizeable North American operations like Stagecoach see the revenue potential in transporting workers to overhaul the infrastructure and then moving around people more inclined to use public transit because the better roads, highways and bridges make it a smoother experience.

No industry is immune from macro-economic and political factors. But Stagecoach’s latest decent figures amid the storm show it to be pretty well-upholstered to ride out the short-term disruption.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "mflanagan@scotsman.com" ,"author": "MARTIN FLANAGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311956.1481186750!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311956.1481186750!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Flanagan says Stagecoach can ride out the current disruption. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Flanagan says Stagecoach can ride out the current disruption. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311956.1481186750!/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/two-finance-technology-tsars-for-scotland-unveiled-1-4311955","id":"1.4311955","articleHeadline": "Two finance technology ‘tsars’ for Scotland unveiled","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481185897000 ,"articleLead": "

Two envoys to spearhead the development of the financial technology, or “fintech”, sector in Scotland have been named by the UK government.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311954.1481185821!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nucleus chief David Ferguson has been named as UK government fintech envoy for Scotland. Picture: Ditte Solgaard/First Light Photography"} ,"articleBody": "

David Ferguson, chief executive of financial services platform business Nucleus, and Louise Smith, head of design in personal and business banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland, were unveiled by Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the Treasury, during a visit to Edinburgh today.

The envoys have been given the task of helping build regional and national fintech networks and fostering a “culture of collaboration” to help Scotland take advantage of the opportunities offered in the rapidly-evolving sector.

READ MORE: Is the finance sector set for a blockchain revolution?

Fintech, which includes e-banking, payment technologies, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and digital currencies, is one of the fastest-growing parts of the UK economy, contributing £6.6 billion to GDP in 2015 and employing more than 61,000 people.

Ferguson, who heads what is one of Scotland’s most high-profile fintech companies, said: “One of the hardest things to get right is balancing the responsibilities of looking after people’s money with the agility of the tech sector while also making money, and I’m very excited to see how we can help others strike the right balance over the coming years.”

Smith said that Scotland had a “vibrant and talented community who are working on the very latest ideas, games, apps, systems and design”.

After London, Scotland turns out the most fintech-related graduates in the UK, accounting for 12 per cent of the annual pool of 97,000 graduates.

Kirby said: “I’m delighted that David and Louise have agreed to become the government’s fintech envoys for Scotland. Their in-depth knowledge of the industry and excellent reputations makes them the right people to drive forward positive change and allow Scottish fintech to flourish.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PERRY GOURLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311954.1481185821!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311954.1481185821!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nucleus chief David Ferguson has been named as UK government fintech envoy for Scotland. Picture: Ditte Solgaard/First Light Photography","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nucleus chief David Ferguson has been named as UK government fintech envoy for Scotland. Picture: Ditte Solgaard/First Light Photography","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311954.1481185821!/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/politics/bbc-scotland-s-new-director-donalda-mackinnon-to-decide-on-scottish-six-1-4311420","id":"1.4311420","articleHeadline": "BBC Scotland's new director Donalda Mackinnon to decide on Scottish Six","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481184405000 ,"articleLead": "

BBC Scotland has appointed the first female figurehead in its history, with one of her first jobs set to be deciding on the so-called Scottish Six bulletin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311419.1481121767!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donalda MacKinnon has been appointed BBC Scotland's first female figurehead."} ,"articleBody": "

Former teacher Donalda Mackinnon has taken charge at Pacific Quay in Glasgow after being promoted to the post of director.

A former head of Gaelic and children’s services for the BBC in Scotland, she has most recently head of programmes.

Ms Mackinnon, 55, from the Isle of Harris, will take charge of all commissioning and production north of the border after being appointed to succeed Ken MacQuarrie. He was promoted to a new post of director of nations and regions in September, after seven years at the helm.

Ms MacKinnon, who regularly deputised for Mr MacQuarrie and has been acting director since his appointment, has been placed in charge in Scotland at a time of mounting political pressure for the BBC to allocate more resources north of the border.

BBC Scotland has also been exploring options for a so-called “Scottish Six” bulletin, which would see an-hour long show replacing the separate BBC News at Six and Reporting Scotland programmes.

Speaking at a BBC Scotland event in September, Ms MacKinnon admitted the portrayal of the country in network comedy and drama was “not where I would want it to be”.

She added: “That bedrock of activity that BBC Scotland should be supporting is hugely important. We can’t do it on our own, we need to work with others, but we shouldn’t under-estimate it.

“The holy grail is a consistent, constant, wide range of production and commissioning here in Scotland. Portrayal of Scotland to Scotland and the rest of the UK is hugely important. We probably don’t do enough of it, in fact, I know we don’t do enough of it.”

The Scottish Government was unhappy at the new BBC Charter plans, published in September, claiming they failed to deliver a fairer share of the licence fee money which is raised in Scotland and the creation of a separate Scottish board to ensure more “autonomous decision-making” north of the border

In the BBC announcement of her appointment, Ms MacKinnon said: “Being part of the huge team effort that brings so many different programmes to all our audiences is a real privilege and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help shape that even more in the future.

“The new BBC Charter offers great opportunities – and a few challenges – as we aim to make great content that reflects Scotland’s diversity and distinctiveness for audiences here, across the UK and the world.

“I know there’s a wealth of talent and creativity in BBC Scotland, in the wider sector and in partner organisations. I’m confident we can make compelling and enthralling programmes that entertain and inform all of our audiences.”

Tony Hall, the BBC’s director general, said: “I’m delighted that Donalda is going to take up this role. I’m confident BBC Scotland will continue its creative success under her leadership and will get even better at representing life in Scotland.”

Mr MacQuarrie added: “Donalda has an excellent track record in bringing a wide range of engaging programmes to our audiences and I know she’ll continue to work with BBC Scotland staff and the independent production community to build on that. She’s hugely respected throughout the creative sector and I know BBC Scotland will be in very good hands.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311419.1481121767!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311419.1481121767!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donalda MacKinnon has been appointed BBC Scotland's first female figurehead.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donalda MacKinnon has been appointed BBC Scotland's first female figurehead.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311419.1481121767!/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/gluten-free-brewer-toasts-deal-with-food-service-group-1-4311897","id":"1.4311897","articleHeadline": "Gluten-free brewer toasts deal with food service group","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481180552000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh-based Bellfield Brewery, the UK’s first dedicated gluten-free beer-maker, is cheering a “transformational” contract to supply a major food service business across the UK.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311896.1481180477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bellfield's Kieran Middleton toasts the 'transformational' deal with Bidvest. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The microbrewery will ­initially supply three Bidvest Foodservice depots – in ­Edinburgh, Reading and Wakefield – from next month. Bidvest will then look to extend the products to all 22 of its UK sites.

Bellfield is looking to tap into strong growth in the “free-from” food and drink sector. Its beers will complement the craft beer range that Bidvest already offers to thousands of pubs and restaurant customers across the UK.

The tie-up with the food service heavyweight follows a successful year for the fledgling brewery, which secured a number of UK-wide distributors over the summer.

READ MORE: Edinburgh brewery launches gluten-free beers

Kieran Middleton, Bellfield brewer and head of business development, said: “This is a huge coup for us, coming just seven months after we first launched our beers and a great vote of confidence in the quality and appeal of our beers from a major industry player.

“The partnership has the potential to literally transform our business and we’re looking forward to many more consumers across the UK being able to enjoy great tasting gluten-free beer that’s brewed with great passion and dedication.”

Bellfield is understood to be the first entirely gluten-free craft brewery to make all its products in the UK. Produced in small batches, the beers are accredited by Coeliac UK and carry the “crossed grain” symbol.

Speaking on behalf of Bidvest Foodservice, Katie Sillars, business development manager Scotland, said: “Being able to offer our customers something that is aligned to our industry trends and customer demands is really important to us.

“We are working hard to grow our Scottish food and drink range and we’ve observed a huge growth within Scottish craft beer as well as the market for gluten-free products. With that we are delighted to be able to offer Bellfield’s gluten-free, locally produced ales.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "sreid@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311896.1481180477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311896.1481180477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bellfield's Kieran Middleton toasts the 'transformational' deal with Bidvest. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bellfield's Kieran Middleton toasts the 'transformational' deal with Bidvest. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311896.1481180477!/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/transport/stagecoach-wheels-slow-amid-brexit-and-terrorism-fears-1-4310898","id":"1.4310898","articleHeadline": "Stagecoach wheels slow amid Brexit and terrorism fears","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481179579000 ,"articleLead": "

Slowing economic growth, the Brexit vote and lower oil prices prompting people to use their cars more have seen half-time profits at train and bus giant Stagecoach fall by a fifth.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4310897.1481179501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths. Picture: Fraser Band/Stagecoach/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Group chief executive Martin Griffiths said terrorism attacks in Europe and poor weather had also taken their toll as the Perth-based business posted a statutory operating profit of just under £109 million for the six months to 29 October. That was down from £137.2m in the same period of 2015.

“We are in the lowest growth environment I have seen for a long time,” Griffiths said.

Overall group revenues rose to £2 billion from £1.97bn last time. Griffiths said management was pleased with the resilient performance of the business, co-founded by executive chairman Sir Brian Souter, in a “challenging and uncertain political and economic environment”.

He added: “Brexit has not helped and the US [presidential] election has not helped. What may be positive is that he [Donald Trump] has made great play on investment in US infrastructure. And if you are building infrastructure that usually involves moving workers around.

“It is pluses and minuses. Megabus.com [the inter-city coach business] in North America is not going to be the growth engine it was three years ago.”

READ MORE: Stagecoach sells Megabus Europe arm as profits slide

Stagecoach’s North American arm saw profits fall 17.8 per cent to £23.5m, while megabus.com’s revenues fell 7.8 per cent. The interim dividend – to be paid on 8 March – is lifted 8 per cent to 3.8p.

Stagecoach’s results were largely down across the board, but the biggest hit was to its rail operations, where profits halved to £20.5m from £43.8m.

The group owns Britain’s largest commuter rail franchise, South West Trains (SWT) out of London Waterloo, and its other operations include a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Rail Group, which runs the West Coast mainline, and a 90 per cent holding in Virgin Trains East Coast.

At SWT, the group has pioneered trials of the joint working arrangements with Network Rail (the owner of the rail infrastructure) announced by transport secretary Chris Grayling on Monday.

Revenues in Stagecoach’s UK bus business, incorporating 8,500 buses, fell to £514m from £522.4m, while profits dropped 7 per cent to £66.6m, with a profit margin of 13 per cent.

Griffiths said: “The bus business could be bumpy for the next 18 months to two years.”

He said the firm would look at capacity and demand, but did not want to be “aggressive” on price rises with the danger of adversely affecting long-term positives for the business such as urbanisation and greater use of technology.

Griffiths said although the terrorist attacks in Europe, including multiple attacks in Paris in November, had a dramatic impact on all of Stagecoach’s long-distance business “including to major conurbations like London” that had since eased.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "mflanagan@scotsman.com" ,"author": "MARTIN FLANAGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4310897.1481179501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4310897.1481179501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths. Picture: Fraser Band/Stagecoach/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths. Picture: Fraser Band/Stagecoach/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4310897.1481179501!/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/bumper-year-for-rettie-co-s-development-team-1-4311889","id":"1.4311889","articleHeadline": "Bumper year for Rettie & Co’s development team","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481179209000 ,"articleLead": "

A string of contract wins has seen Scottish property specialist Rettie & Co’s development services arm report a record year of activity.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311888.1481179528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "From left: Nick Watson, John Boyle, Will Scarlett and Matthew Benson of Rettie & Co. Picture: Stewart Attwood"} ,"articleBody": "

The team’s 20-strong staff are currently advising on land and development deals worth more than £500 million. Some £70m of deals have been contracted in the last 12 months.

Rettie said it was now looking to take on new staff next year to add to the team based across its Edinburgh and Glasgow offices to help it meet demand.

Major developments being worked on include the Edinburgh St James Centre, New Waverley, the Playfair Building at Donaldson’s and Yorkhill in Glasgow.

READ MORE: Rettie & Co announces handover of homes at Harbour Point

Matthew Benson, Rettie & Co director and head of development services, said the firm has been at the “heart of many of the biggest property development deals taking place in 2016”. He added: “Our unique understanding of the market means we are regularly involved with many of Scotland’s big-ticket developments from their inception.”

The department’s land and development team, headed by Will Scarlett, has been involved in high profile projects this year including the 650,00 sq ft mixed use development on the site of the former Queen Mother’s Hospital in Yorkhill, Glasgow and acquiring the St Leonard’s Street Homebase site in Edinburgh for student housing group Unite.

The new homes unit led by Nick Watson has seen sales top £82m in the last 12 months with 24 active new home developments.

A research and consultancy team, headed by Dr John Boyle, has been involved in four of the largest proposed build-to-rent schemes in Scotland over the last year and is the retained residential adviser to TH Real Estate on the Edinburgh St James mixed use development.

The department’s structured finance team recently announced the completion and handover of 96 rental properties at Harbour Point, Leith, on behalf of Forth Ports.

The project, which saw more than 3,400 applications for flats were submitted, was led by Watson together with Stuart Montgomery from the group’s asset management team who will manage the portfolio on behalf of Forth Ports.

Harbour Point is the first building delivered via alternative funding structures in partnership with the National Housing Trust on the Western Harbour regeneration masterplan.

The contract took takes the total build-to-rent properties completed by Rettie on behalf of clients to 472 with a further 292 under construction. Rettie & Co now employs more than 130 staff across nine offices.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "PERRY GOURLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311888.1481179528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311888.1481179528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "From left: Nick Watson, John Boyle, Will Scarlett and Matthew Benson of Rettie & Co. Picture: Stewart Attwood","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "From left: Nick Watson, John Boyle, Will Scarlett and Matthew Benson of Rettie & Co. Picture: Stewart Attwood","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311888.1481179528!/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/lifestyle/world-heritage-sites-to-be-transformed-under-new-scottish-tourism-campaign-1-4311078","id":"1.4311078","articleHeadline": "World heritage sites to be transformed under new Scottish tourism campaign","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481152487040 ,"articleLead": "Scotland’s world heritage sites will be brought to life by spectacular sound and light projections, pop-up festivals and street musicians, dramatic Viking re-enactments, a “Great Roman Bake-Off” and a St Kilda version of Minecraft.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311823.1481152556!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The first year-long celebration of Scottish history and heritage was launched at Mary King's Close in Edinburgh."} ,"articleBody": "


Special events will be held in the heart of historic Edinburgh, in the shadow of the Forth Bridge, Neolithic Orkney, at the site of the Antonine Wall in Falkirk and at a former 18th century cotton mill in Lanarkshire as part of the first year-long celebration of Scotland’s history and heritage.

Other one-off events in a £1 million campaign, which will be at the heart of VisitScotland’s promotional efforts over the next 12 months, will be staged in Scotland’s most northerly inhabited island, Unst in Shetland, the birthplace of the Paisley Pattern, and at the home of the Kelpies horse head sculptures.

There are also special celebrations planned to mark the 250th anniversary of the beginnings of Edinburgh’s New Town, the 450th anniversary of Mary Queen of Scots being held captive at Lochleven Castle, in Kinross, and Scotland's historic links with India.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is the ninth annual themed campaign instigated by the Scottish Government, which is funding the events programme along with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Highlights are set to include include a bid to deploy “yarn-bombers and guerilla knitters” to transform New Lanark’s world heritage site with multi-coloured cotton, a new weaving festival in Paisley, and a two-day celebration of Shetland’s Viking heritage featuring the reconstruction of a long house, a camp, a banquet and beach raids.

A string of Georgian buildings in Edinburgh’s New Town and the garden at the heart of St Andrew Square will be transformed by special lighting effects, while groups of classical musicians and “wandering minstrels will take to the streets to celebrate the city’s world heritage status. Pop-up performances are also being lined up for North and South Queensferry, which are linked by the Forth Bridge.

Costumed runners dressed as Romans and Picts will descend on Callendar Park in Falkirk for a 5K race which will end in a Great Roman Bake-Off in honour of the area’s past as a frontier of Rome’s Northern Frontier, while a celebration of Scotland’s equine heritage will be staged at nearby Helix Park, where Andy Scott’s Kelpies sculptures can be found.

The Western Isles will play host to a special event allowing Minecraft players to explore and excavate its remote archipelago St Kilda. Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, will host a festival exploring Scotland’s historic ties with India.

A mix of new and established events will be promoted by VisitScotland under the banner of the campaign, which will also coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, who unveiled the first programme details at the Mary King’s Close attraction in Edinburgh’s Old Town, said: “We are so fortunate in Scotland to have the most fascinating and inspiring history and heritage on our doorsteps, bringing the spirit of Scotland alive.

“The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology will highlight and showcase our history and heritage to the world. As well as our history of many well-known stories and famous, indeed some infamous, historical characters, next year will also give us an excellent opportunity to focus on Scotland’s world-renowned archaeology, enticing visitors and locals alike to visit not only our known iconic landmarks with their thousands of years of history, but also our many hidden gems.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, added: “Scotland is the land where great legends were made throughout history, and so it is only apt that we should have such a unique line-up of events and activities.

“We know for a fact that visitors come to Scotland in their droves to experience its heritage whether that’s visiting a castle, exploring a battlefield or tracing ancestral roots.

“From world heritage sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends – the year-long programme will spotlight some of our greatest assets and icons as well as our hidden gems.

“We look forward to delving into Scotland’s past with visitors and locals alike and coming face to face with history, heritage and archaeology across the country.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4311823.1481152556!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4311823.1481152556!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The first year-long celebration of Scottish history and heritage was launched at Mary King's Close in Edinburgh.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The first year-long celebration of Scottish history and heritage was launched at Mary King's Close in Edinburgh.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4311823.1481152556!/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/pillars-of-the-community-1-4309206","id":"1.4309206","articleHeadline": "Pillars of the community","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481194800000 ,"articleLead": "

How organisations deliver corporate social responsibility has been evolving.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309205.1481189576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio poses with formerly homeless staff at Social Bite's restaurant Home in Edinburgh. Picture: Jeff Holmes/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The world of business is littered with three-letter acronyms. Are you an SME? What’s your USP? What’s the CBI or the FSB or the IOD saying today? But one abbreviation more than any other has struck fear into the hearts of employers and employees alike – CSR. Corporate social responsibility used to be seen by some as code for a day to get out of the office – members of staff would don their wellies and waterproofs for a day during which they’d be dispatched to the countryside to help plant trees, allowing the CSR officer to tick another box.

Now, all that has changed: CSR is no longer about holding a bake sale to raise money for a children’s charity or sponsoring a local youth football team’s away strip.

Instead, companies are recognising that being a responsible business is not only good for helping their communities but is also good for growing their bottom line.

“This is not the flim-flam and the CSR of old, but is actually rooted in the imperatives of the business,” explains Mark Bevan, deputy managing director at Business in the Community (BITC) Scotland.

“What we used to have in the past was a philanthropic approach to CSR. That’s changed over time because shareholders have focused businesses more on delivering profit.

“There were concerns this focus on profit could erode the opportunity for businesses to do good whilst they’re doing their day job.

“But profit is essential to deliver responsible behaviour and therefore we shouldn’t be worried about that.

“What we don’t want is businesses to be simply focusing on using their profits to deliver good, but instead to think about how they earn their profits while doing good.”

From its conversations with companies, BITC Scotland recognised the same subjects came up again and again when firms began discussing the ways in which they were trying to be responsible businesses.

“Those topics always broke down into the same five segments – education, employees, employment, enterprise and environment,” says Bevan.

This quintet of themes has become the “five pillars of responsible business”. Each of the pillars sheds a different light on the activities that businesses are undertaking to boost not just themselves but also wider society.

Education

Top of the list is education, with companies getting involved at all levels, from primary and secondary schools through to colleges and universities.

Firms aren’t just supporting traditional activities such as Young Enterprise Scotland; they’re engaging with educational institutions across the whole of the curriculum.

“Education is a good example of where there’s a solid business reason for getting involved, as well as a broader societal benefit,” Bevan points out.

“Businesses have an active interest in education because they want to ensure they get the best skilled workforce for the future.

“Businesses want to get people with the skills and talents that they need and, as a society, we want our young people to be educated in the best way they can be so they can have the best start for a positive future and socio-economic prosperity. It’s about growing the whole of the cake instead of just growing the size of your slice.”

Employees

The “employees” and “employment” pillars are very similar – Bevan explains that “employees” focuses on the potential employee and what can be done to help them.

“We know that, in Scotland, between now and 2040, we have a predicted 1 per cent increase in the size of the labour market – so practically no increase at all,” he says.

“At the same time, we have a significant number of people leaving the labour market through age.

“But we still hope the economy will grow – so there aren’t going to be enough people to fill the jobs that will be created in Scotland, even under the worst predictions for economic growth.

“So, every possible person who could potentially contribute to the economy needs to be gainfully employed.”

Employment

On the “employment” side, BITC Scotland has worked on programmes that cover social mobility and helping groups such as military veterans find work.

“We can look at less traditional routes for recruitment, for example, we’ve been working on recruiting directly from prisons,” adds Bevan.

“We ran a campaign called ‘ban the box’, which meant that job application forms were blind to criminal convictions during the first sift, looking more at the assets and abilities of individuals.

“We’ve done work around diversity in the workplace because businesses know that they have the best chance of selling their goods and services if their workforce is fully reflective of the diversity of their customer base.”

Enterprise

Support for small businesses and entrepreneurs is also high on the agenda, especially when it comes to recognising the connection between companies of all shapes and sizes.

“As we have seen in Scotland, the big increase in employment has been through small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – they make up the biggest section of growth in Scotland’s economy and employment,” Bevan says.

“We’ve been encouraging big businesses to support SMEs so that they have diversity in their supply chains.”

Environment

Bevan says that businesses have moved away from simply donating money to charities that will care for the environment and have instead started to look at how they manage the world’s resources so that they will go further.

“Our Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG) brings together large businesses to support small businesses to prepare for, respond to and recover from major events, like natural disasters,” he adds.

“We undertook a lot of work in both the North-east of Scotland and down in the Borders last winter.

“Large businesses are interested in the security of their supply chain – Sainsbury’s, for example, might have a contract with a facilities management company that is a global business but, chances are, it’s John from the local village who will actually be sent out to fix a broken freezer. “So, you need to make sure John can continue to work even in big floods, otherwise if your freezer goes down then you’re in big trouble.”

Mark Bevan highlights some great examples of the five pillars being put into practice:

Employment: Social Bite

This social enterprise uses all its profits to support social causes, its key focus being homelessness. It runs an academy that supports homeless people into employment, with the goal of having ten successful completions each year. Around 25 per cent of the staff in Social Bite’s sandwich shops and restaurant were formerly homeless.

Employees: Standard Life

Standard Life has a highly-developed, integrated approach to diversity and employee wellbeing. It is a living wage employer and has taken proactive steps over the past several years to increase diversity in its workforce, including a targeted new talent pipeline for school leavers and young people.

Education: Barclays’ LifeSkills

Barclays has developed LifeSkills, a substantial programme to support young people to develop the tools they need to succeed. From digital learning to classroom exercises to work experience, this programme operates throughout the UK. BITC Scotland has recently been awarded the contract to deliver LifeSkills north of the Border.

Environment: Changeworks

This charity works to inspire and enable action to reduce carbon, energy and waste. It works with volunteers to support individuals, businesses and local government and has received numerous awards for its waste management and recycling activities and energy efficiency initiatives.

Enterprise: Enterprise workshops

BITC Scotland has developed an innovative workshop that allows businesses of all sizes and sectors to work with children and young people to give them the skills needed to develop, run and work in a business. This workshop is run dozens of times each year by employee volunteers.

This article appears in the WINTER 2016 edition of Vision Scotland. An online version can be read here. Further information about Vision Scotland here.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Craig Johnson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4309205.1481189576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309205.1481189576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio poses with formerly homeless staff at Social Bite's restaurant Home in Edinburgh. Picture: Jeff Holmes/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio poses with formerly homeless staff at Social Bite's restaurant Home in Edinburgh. Picture: Jeff Holmes/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4309205.1481189576!/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/snap-rb-launch-of-a-plan-for-action-1-4309126","id":"1.4309126","articleHeadline": "SNAP-RB: Launch of a plan for action","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481194800000 ,"articleLead": "

The corporate sector and Scottish Government are working together for a better society, economy and future.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309125.1481190836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon launches the business pledge. Picture: Julie Bull"} ,"articleBody": "

A quiet revolution is taking place in Scotland. Throughout the country, companies are coming together to play a much fuller role in society. Today (8 December) that movement will publish the Scottish National Action Plan for Responsible Business (SNAP-RB), a landmark document that will commit businesses and government to work together to create “a fairer society, a stronger economy and a more sustainable future in Scotland”.

Under the strapline “created by business, with government, for society”, the action plan will invite companies to join this business-led, highly-ambitious and transformational campaign.

Eight regional hubs are being formed to ensure that the SNAP-RB has “national scope, local foundations and universal relevance and impact”.

The action plan has received strong support from the Scottish Government. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says: “I want Scotland to be the best place in the UK to do business. As part of that, we know that we need all businesses to flourish and thrive.

“This plan, which is led by business, sets out a shared ambition for ever more inclusive growth to build a stronger economy and society.

“Business in the Community (BITC) Scotland has created this platform to deliver better business for a better Scotland, which are ambitions which my government shares.

“The same goals are at the heart of the Scottish Business Pledge and our support for living wage accreditation and fair work.”

The leadership group, chaired by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has drawn up four key themes to kick-off its action plan. These will provide focus for companies that want to come together to produce a wider impact through their activities.

Chief among the group’s priorities is education and specifically the role that businesses can play in supporting both students and the education system.

For students, businesses will look at projects that involve employee volunteers visiting schools to inspire pupils and get them to think about work in the future.

When it comes to the education system, businesses are likely to work much more closely with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government on the development of the entire system and to see if there are opportunities to pool companies’ resources and interests to work as a collective. Secondly, the group wants to have a focused day of action – a campaign day that will bring together as many businesses as possible to open their doors to their communities and to send their staff out into those communities to undertake helpful activities.

The day of action could include senior pupils from secondary schools visiting companies to take part in mock interviews – pupils would dress up and sit in reception just like any other candidate and then receive feedback after their practice interview.

Mentoring was also on the leadership group’s hit list for its action plan. Businesses want to take a longer-term view of mentoring by providing mentors who will work with either young people or new recruits to help them fulfil their potential.

Instead of leaving new members of staff to fend for themselves on the bottom rung of the career ladder, companies want to invest in their staff so that they not only help to grow the company, but can also use their skills in the wider community.

The action plan also aims to use the management structures and internal communication channels in businesses to support members of staff on lower incomes and help them to access the government employment benefits to which they are entitled.

At present, only around 45 per cent of young people aged between 16 and 24 claim the benefits they are due, yet it is this group that struggles with sickness, stress and poorer attendance at work – all the indicators that signal lower productivity.

The leadership group is also looking at broader issues in society, such as the potential need for a “poverty premium”.

People with very low incomes find it hard to get credit, which prevents them from taking out direct debits to access cheaper tariffs for gas and electricity, for example.

Eventually it is hoped that the action plan will help to tackle some of the longer-term problems in society.

Experts can already predict by the ages of six or seven which children will fail when they leave the education system at 16 – simply down to the fact that they’ve not been given enough food to help them concentrate during their lessons.

Scotland’s ageing population means that the labour force will shrink over the coming years and so every person of working age will need to contribute if the economy is to continue to grow in order to support retired people or people who are too sick to work.

Over the years, many businesses have tried to tackle some of the issues identified in the action plan at a local level.

It is hoped the plan will now help them to pool their resources and create projects to have an effect at a national level.

“We’ve been involved in a lot of very worthwhile but relatively low-impact projects with businesses and communities throughout the country – great things that have been making a difference for, say, ten or 20 or 30 people in Dundee or Grangemouth,” says Jane Wood, managing director of BITC Scotland.

“The businesses that we were working with challenged us to be more ambitious and have a level of ambition that would reflect their own – some of them are global businesses like Barclays, Virgin, Asda-owner Walmart and so on.

“We brought these businesses together to identify what they have in common, what they could genuinely work on together to change the landscape and move away from the inefficiencies of individual programmes in particular locations so they can tackle some of the big stuff.

“What we do with businesses in specific locations on smaller issues is still important because often it’s the staff that get involved and they want to do something in their local community.

“But when you have 20 businesses delivering 20 education programmes then you put at risk having a single, quality-assured, landscape-changing education programme that ensures we’ve got the right skills for the future.

“We talked to several businesses about this and they said they completely agreed – it’s what they do as businesses, they look to test an idea and then deliver it at scale.

“They wanted to come together around the table with other businesses from other sectors and geographies from throughout Scotland to identify what they thought could be the set priorities.”

Being a responsible business isn’t simply about supporting the workforce of the future or increasing customer loyalty – it’s also about growing the bottom line too.

Accenture, BITC and Marks & Spencer compiled a report in 2013 that identified an opportunity to generate £100 billion for the British economy through sustainable growth and productivity gains.

The report, entitled Fortune Favours the Brave, highlighted five pieces of innovation that would trigger such growth:

– “Shared value” through which companies would focus on areas in which their own interests were aligned with society such as promoting community prosperity, improving skills and enhancing health, which in turn would lead to higher productivity through increased employee engagement, reduced churn and enhanced reputation and trust

– doing “more with less” to use resources efficiently and harness clean technologies

– using the “circular economy” to reduce, reuse and recycle to cut input costs and improve margins

– adopting “new consumption models” to deliver products as a service and thus generate recurring revenues

– “transparency and customer engagement” to drive brand loyalty.

A previous report – commissioned by BITC and compiled by Cranfield University’s school of management – found companies that consistently manage and measure their responsible business activities outperformed their FTSE 350 peers on total shareholder return (TSR) during seven out of the last eight years leading up to 2011.

The TSR of those companies also recovered more quickly in 2009 following the 2008 financial crash compared with that of their FTSE 350 and FTSE All-Share peers.

“It’s phenomenal – it’s not fluffy stuff, it’s about businesses understanding that they have an enlightened self-interest in making this stuff work because it will contribute to their business’s growth, it will contribute to loyalty and it will contribute to an improved society,” adds Wood.

“The success of businesses is inextricably linked to the success of society – one cannot survive as well as it could without the success of the other.”

Susan Fouquier, regional managing director for business banking at RBS, is the chair of the SNAP-RB leadership group.

She and Bevan began kicking around ideas for the action plan after they both attended a CSR seminar.

“We wanted to get businesses around the table in a non-competitive environment and try to get them to work together on some of the issues in Scotland’s society,” she explains.

“There are lots of really good individual programmes going on out there and if we can provide a framework for us all to work together then the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.

“From a personal perspective, I look after small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland for the Royal Bank. There are lots of sole traders and small limited companies out there that do really great small stuff in their local communities.

“They would love to engage in bigger CSR, but they have neither the time nor the resources to setup their own programmes.

“This is a way for the big corporates to lend SMEs their expertise to facilitate it and make it easier for them to get involved.”

Fouquier is particularly excited about the opportunities for businesses to work together to help with education.

“For me, one of the points with the most impact is helping SMEs to work with schools,” she says.

“We recognise that there are some communities and schools that receive less support from businesses than others.

“The schools that receive less support are often the ones that need the most support.

“Businesses would love to give people ‘in-work’ experience and the opportunity to see what’s out there, so it raises their aspirations to come into the workplace or go on to further education. It’s about giving them role models.

“But it’s hard for a small business to work with a school because there are quite a lot of hoops to get through at the different local councils.

“If we can build a programme that makes that easier for the businesses then we’re opening it up to the benefit of both the businesses and the schools.

“It can be anything from supporting opportunities for employees to volunteer in schools through to educational activities, such as mentoring, career labs or business classes. Or it could be work experience – it can be quite wide.”

The activities surrounding SNAP-RB fit in with RBS’s broader work on responsible business.

When it comes to enterprise, the bank focuses its attention on business support and business creation, including through its powering of Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator service.

The lender turned the former executive suite at its Gogaburn head office in Edinburgh into a “hatchery” – or incubation centre – for the fledgling companies or “chiclets” that receive support from Entrepreneurial Spark.

“In January, we will be launching Boost, which is a programme designed to drive small business growth,” Fouquier adds.

“It will work by helping to make the right connections between businesses and offering them access to the resources and expertise that they need.

“We’ve hired a team of 11 business growth enablers throughout Scotland to help connect businesses and give them what they need, from improving business resilience and dealing with fraud through to access to finance.”

This article appears in the WINTER 2016 edition of Vision Scotland. An online version can be read here. Further information about Vision Scotland here.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Clare Baillie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4309125.1481190836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309125.1481190836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon launches the business pledge. Picture: Julie Bull","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon launches the business pledge. Picture: Julie Bull","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4309125.1481190836!/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/let-s-talk-the-scotsman-conferences-1-4312076","id":"1.4312076","articleHeadline": "Let’s talk: The Scotsman Conferences","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481194800000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scotsman hosts lively discussions on the topics that matter in Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312075.1481195028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scotsman Conferences cover the issues that matter the most. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

Almost 600 delegates discussed, debated and engaged with the issues that really matter at The Scotsman’s six conferences and seminars held throughout 2016. “How can Scotland be a global leader in life sciences?” was the question tackled by the panel – chaired by chief executive of the Scottish Lifesciences Association Scott Johnstone – at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 1 March.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney was joined by speakers including Andrew Fowlie of the Health Innovation Partnership, Patrick Wiggins of the Irvine Bay enterprise area (the event sponsor) and Caroline Strain, head of life and chemical sciences at Scottish Enterprise for lively discussions on everything from attracting global investment to support the sector in Scotland to building world-class manufacturing facilities.

At The Scotsman’s breakfast seminar on the impact of the Land Reform Act, sponsored by Turcan Connell, SNP MSP for Argyll & Bute Mike Russell told delegates Scotland needs to be “more radical and determined” about land reform if it is to resolve the long-standing issue of communities not being able to access resources to improve their lives.

Russell also sat on the political panel at Forestry and Timber: Scotland’s hidden success story on 22 March as speakers and attendees looked at how better communication was vital to convey the positives in the sector.

Scotland’s £1 billion forestry and timber industry has been something of a hot topic in recent years and returned as the theme for The Scotsman’s seminar in November.

Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity, was among the speakers and outlined plans to complete the full devolution of forestry to Scotland with new legislation to replace the Forestry Act 1967.

At Community Pharmacy: Supporting Patients, Delivering for Scotland on 6 September, Professor Rose Marie Parr, chief pharmaceutical officer for Scotland, spoke about the role of pharmacy in a modern NHS.

The message to the 95 delegates in attendance was that community pharmacies are “hiding in plain sight” across Scotland and have significant potential to deliver a far wider range of services to take pressure off GPs and other health professionals.

The days of dry finger sandwiches are long gone and increasingly it’s the food and drink that lingers in the minds of attendees.

Delicious Scottish produce is always a feature of our annual food and drink conference, which generated healthy debate at Food and drink: a skilled innovative future on 20 September.

Sponsored by Bank of Scotland, discussions centred on how to take a successful £14.4 billion sector to the next level by harnessing skills and innovation – and making a positive long-term impact by teaching primary pupils about diet and nutrition.

“Scottish food and drink firms are ambassadors for our country,” says Jane Clark-Hutchison, regional director, mid markets, Central Scotland, at Bank of Scotland.

“The Scotsman’s food and drink conference, which we have sponsored for five successive years, is a fantastic opportunity to come together to share our experiences for the future benefit of the sector as a whole.”

Ahead of the event, Bank of Scotland publishes its annual market survey of the food and drink sector in Scotland, which gives a snapshot of the shape of the industry.

“The Scotsman’s food and drink conference gives us a great platform to share this insight with the industry, providing an indication of the key challenges and opportunities it faces.”

The Scotsman’s conferences offer:

Focused, half-day conferences

Networking and brand building opportunities

High-quality speakers and engaged, influential audiences

Insightful, topical subject matters, generating interesting debate

For details of how to sponsor our policy events, please contact Adam Fenech on 0788 598 2183, adam.fenech@jpress.co.uk or Lauren White on 0131 311 7233, lauren.white@jpress.co.uk

21 March, 2017: Inspiring Growth: alternative ways to take your business to the next level

Full 2017 conference programme will be on www.scotsmanconferences.com

This article appears in the WINTER 2016 edition of Vision Scotland. An online version can be read here. Further information about Vision Scotland here.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312075.1481195028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312075.1481195028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Scotsman Conferences cover the issues that matter the most. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scotsman Conferences cover the issues that matter the most. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312075.1481195028!/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/what-corporate-responsibility-means-to-me-1-4309201","id":"1.4309201","articleHeadline": "What corporate responsibility means to me","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481194800000 ,"articleLead": "

Twelve figures from the Scottish business community talk about what responsibility means to them.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309199.1481191057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "ScottishPower extended its partnership with Cancer Research last year. Picture: Chris James"} ,"articleBody": "

NEIL CLITHEROE

GLOBAL RETAIL DIRECTOR AT SCOTTISHPOWER

“We launched a three-year partnership with Cancer Research UK in 2012 with the aim of raising £5 million. Two years later it had smashed this fundraising goal and now, having extended the partnership last year, has reached a £10m milestone. The vital funds have been generated through a wide range of creative initiatives and events including sponsorship of the Race for Life, Shine and Stand up to Cancer campaigns, sales of a bespoke Help Beat Cancer energy tariff and everything from bake-offs to bikeathons. Our customers and employees have shown amazing support for Cancer Research UK and their willingness to get involved in the fight against cancer has been inspiring.”

SHEENAGH ADAMS

KEEPER OF THE REGISTERS OF SCOTLAND

“At RoS, we are in the midst of a three-year business transformation programme, based on the increased use of digitisation, which has placed the focus firmly on the customer. Our user experience panel has allowed customers to feed directly into our product development process, enabling us to build our services around their specific needs. This customer-focused and responsible approach allows us to identify and agree priorities, and to develop and road-test solutions.

Another area of responsibility for us is our commitment to the protection of the environment, and, to that end, we have cut paper usage by almost a quarter, while electricity consumption is down by around 10 per cent.”

STUART GOODALL

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF CONFOR

“For Confor, being a responsible business is second nature, both for staff and the people and businesses we deal with in the forestry sector.

In the 1980s, forestry experienced a backlash against government-driven policies to establish timber-growing plantations that paid little attention to wildlife and people.

In response, forestry businesses developed a world-leading sustainability standard which secured the support of UK and international environmental organisations.

Forestry is now an exemplar in sustainability, with the added opportunity to soak up significant amounts of carbon and mitigate climate change.

Confor also supports an industry health and safety initiative, promotes industry best practice and has Investors in People accreditation. For us, engaging and supporting people and marrying environmental impact and business is what defines the forestry sector. It is also what motivates the Confor team.”

GUY MARTIN

FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF EDEN SCOTT

“As business owners we have three areas of responsibility. Firstly, for our staff. We have a responsibility to create a truly inspiring, dynamic workplace and a profitable business that supports them, their families and their success. Secondly to our customers. We have a responsibility to operate in an ethical and professional way so our clients can be confident in the way we represent their brand and our candidates can be assured we will manage their career to the best of our ability.

And finally, to the economy. We have a responsibility to be successful; to offer employment in our local economies and to support other businesses to grow through programmes like Talent Spark, which offers advice and help to small and medium-sized enterprises across Scotland.”

LAURA MCCALL

HEAD OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT MARTIN CURRIE

“Our corporate responsibility programme helps connect us to the wider world and is, we believe, extensive for a company of our size.

Because of the substantial returns they bring, we view our community activities as an investment.

The benefits include the satisfaction of helping others, the opportunity to share new experiences, learn new skills, improve our health and wellbeing, and to have fun.

A proud achievement of ours has been the success of the Martin Currie Charitable Foundation and its flagship fundraising event – the Martin Currie Rob Roy Challenge, which has raised more than 
£3 million in aid of great causes and has been an inspirational event for all would-be adventurers out there.”

SHIRLEY SPEAR

FOUNDER OF THE THREE CHIMNEYS RESTAURANT, SKYE

“Integrity is my top priority in everything I represent in business. Being true to our ethos and maintaining high standards at all times, through thick and thin, is what I strive to maintain every day. This is not always easy and has been threatened at times of recession and business stress frequently over the past 32 years.

Our remote location goes hand in hand with difficult challenges. But our location is also integral to our business ethos. Staff retention and working hours is our greatest challenge. We strive continuously to improve in this aspect of our responsibility for our team, as they are also at the core of everything we exemplify.”

MALCOLM ROUGHEAD

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF VISITSCOTLAND

“Scotland is an inclusive, welcoming destination where barriers to visiting are broken down though our accessible and social tourism initiatives and communities in every corner of the country benefit from jobs and economic growth. As the national tourism organisation, we have a responsibility, not only to the millions of people who visit this country each year, but to our staff. VisitScotland is a living wage employer and believes that everyone working in the tourism industry should be rewarded fairly for their contribution to the visitor economy. We also aim to make Scotland a sustainable destination through promoting environmental accreditation to all tourism businesses.”

DAVID HORNE

MANAGING DIRECTOR OF VIRGIN TRAINS EAST COAST

“It’s about recognising the bigger role that business plays in society. As a business, Virgin Trains is about providing fantastic rail journeys.

But we also help people cut their carbon footprint by choosing a low-pollution form of travel; we help people who might be struggling to find work develop meaningful careers; we support local businesses up and down our routes who are part of our supply chain.

And we look after our people because we know they give great customer service when they’re enjoying the work they do.”

ANTHONY SCHOFIELD

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT CHIVAS BROTHERS
“We’ve found ​that making a positive contribution is a real passion for our employees, so we create ways for them to turn that motivation into action. In addition to our commitments ​on promoting responsible drinking and protecting the planet, we empower our employees to give back to their communities. By volunteering as part of our Chivas Spirit of Support programme and Pernod Ricard’s annual Responsib’ALL Day, they support community projects. On top of that, we encourage our employees to vote for their charity of the year, which we then support with both time and donations.”

JIMMY BUCHAN

SKIPPER AND OWNER OF PETERHEAD-BASED AMITY FISH COMPANY

“As a fisherman, responsibility comes with the job, whether it’s being responsible for your crew or for the way you fish. My passion for Scottish fish and seafood has been there all my life. Spending more than 40 years at sea has given me the knowledge of the best fishing grounds and technique, however it also now means I have a responsibility to teach new generations of crew and skippers. Two things motivate me to source the best for my customers; provenance and quality. Scottish waters boast some of the freshest, most-desirable seafood in the world and I am proud to be part of an industry which supplies the world with the best.”

EILIDH WISEMAN

PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND

“Responsible business in the legal sector means a well-managed, regulatory compliant and profitable practice. Its employees should have a clear understanding of the business goals and the individual roles they are expected to play in achieving those goals. The business will have a diverse workforce, reflecting the diversity of the local talent pool, and be managed by a partner group or board trained in modern management with regard to leadership styles, equality and sound financial practice. This responsible business will have a learning and development culture and clear guidance on conflict of interest, anti-money laundering and client engagement. The interests of its clients will be paramount and in turn it will have great client loyalty and good staff retention.”

ERICA MOORE

FOUNDER OF ETEAKET, EDINBURGH

“Being a responsible business means looking at the bigger picture, ensuring our tea comes from ethical and sustainable sources, treating our team with respect and working with integrity to ensure our customers get a fair deal. All of these things have to be in balance to create a truly good business that my team and I can be proud of and feel fulfilled and excited to work in. We’re proud of our Cuppas for Causes initiative where we work with Aberlour Children’s Trust, provide education support to disadvantaged children in Parijat Academy in Assam and give mentoring support to young people at Craigroyston High School in Edinburgh.

This article appears in the WINTER 2016 edition of Vision Scotland. An online version can be read here. Further information about Vision Scotland here.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4309199.1481191057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309199.1481191057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "ScottishPower extended its partnership with Cancer Research last year. Picture: Chris James","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "ScottishPower extended its partnership with Cancer Research last year. Picture: Chris James","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4309199.1481191057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4309200.1481191061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309200.1481191061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Responsibility comes with the job for Jimmy Buchan of Amity Fish Company. Pic: Duncan Brown.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Responsibility comes with the job for Jimmy Buchan of Amity Fish Company. Pic: Duncan Brown.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4309200.1481191061!/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/ian-stewart-responsible-business-is-at-the-heart-of-the-nation-1-4309094","id":"1.4309094","articleHeadline": "Ian Stewart: Responsible business is at the heart of the nation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481192972000 ,"articleLead": "

“You know, this is a business. I’m not doing this for an Esther Rantzen Heart of Gold, or if Esther’s handing out awards, then do it for my charity work. Five fun runs in two years.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4309071.1481189312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The latest edition of Vision Scotland."} ,"articleBody": "

The quote from Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office cuts to the heart of old-style corporate social responsibility, or CSR as those in the know loved to call it. Fun runs, bake sales, dress-down days; all very worthy, but all very much add-ons to the day job.

And while many of the firms who embraced CSR did so in a very genuine way, there was always a sense that some businesses liked to talk the talk, but not really walk the walk – sponsored, or otherwise.

Things have changed. Traditional charitable efforts are now part of a much broader approach to CSR, which has been largely re-cast as responsible business.

CSR was in many ways a restrictive term: “a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders.”

Responsible business is cut from the same sustainable cloth but is more of an attitude of mind than a dictionary definition – and very much focused on practical action which makes a real difference to society as a whole.

Take the contribution of Adler & Allan to the Business Emergency Resilience Group, which has taken real strides towards making sure communities are better prepared to cope in a crisis, ensuring all available support is managed and co-ordinated from a single hub. That could be the difference between life and death when a catastrophic event like a flood hits a community.

There is also clear evidence of a maturing of the mutually beneficial relationship between business and social enterprise – highlighted here by the work of Burness Paull and Street Soccer Scotland.

What David Duke, the energetic figurehead of Street Soccer Scotland highlights is crucial; football might well be the vehicle, but behind it lies a real opportunity to effect social change.

It’s no longer just about corporate Scotland donating money, or delivering support in kind, to charities and social enterprises.

It’s about businesses joining a movement for change and embedding that right across their business.

This makes real business sense as younger recruits in particular no longer want to work for a firm that puts its focus solely on making money. They want their business to have a heart and do good.

Social enterprises like Street Soccer Scotland and Social Bite have tapped into that – and shown that responsible business doesn’t have to be dour and worthy. It can be about football, fun and film stars, and it can achieve great things.

Perhaps David Brent was right after all, in a roundabout kind of way. Responsible business can be fun, but it can deliver for the bottom line too. In 2016, it’s fine to say, “You know, this is a business”.

Vision Scotland hopes SNAP-RB, the Scottish National Action Plan for Responsible Business, takes the discussions onto a new level and that companies heed the message from Scottish Business in the Community managing director Jane Wood – and rise to the challenge.

This article appears in the WINTER 2016 edition of Vision Scotland. An online version can be read here. Further information about Vision Scotland here.

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