{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"business","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/gareth-shaw-chancellor-thinks-outside-the-box-in-budget-1-4622097","id":"1.4622097","articleHeadline": "Gareth Shaw: Chancellor thinks outside the box in Budget","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511593258000 ,"articleLead": "

Budget day. For any personal finance journalist, it is the most exciting day on the financial calendar. There are oodles to analyse, translate and communicate to readers, videos to record, tools, graphics and calculators to create with bundles of new data for the coming tax year to play with.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622096.1511517744!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Hammond produced a steady crescendo of property initiatives on Budget day, building up to the big stamp duty reveal. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

This year, the Chancellor Philip Hammond seemed to take on some of the flourishes of his predecessor, producing some rabbit-out-the-hat theatrics at the end of his speech – the abolition of stamp duty for a genuine first-time buyer spending £300,000 or less on their dream home.

The build-up reminded me of the pre-Brexit George Osborne era – the steady crescendo of initiatives on property, from the reform of planning rules to the much-vaunted commitment to building 300,000 new homes a year. And, just as you thought it was going to end, the big reveal – some 95 per cent of new homeowners escaping stamp duty land tax altogether.

There is much to like about this policy. The accompanying government documentation that lays out the nuts and bolts of the deal categorically spells out that there’s no way for any previous homeowner to benefit from this stamp duty relief. If you’ve ever had a previous interest in a residential property, anywhere in the world, you won’t benefit from a stamp duty cut. If you’re buying a home with a partner that already, or had previously, owned a home, you don’t qualify. If you sell your current home, move back in with your parents and live like a monk for a year (as some readers have asked us, perhaps in the desperate hope of discovering a loophole in the new system), you still won’t be able to enjoy a stamp duty cut.

And this isn’t like Help to Buy – the incentive that allows people get a government loan to finance part of their purchase but is available for those who want to buy a home worth up to £600,000. If you can afford to buy a home worth more than half a million pounds, this new policy says, you don’t need stamp duty relief.

And there are quite significant savings to be had. The average first-time buyer home costs around £210,000, according to high-street lender Halifax. Under the old stamp duty rules, you’d pay nothing on the first £125,000, two percent stamp duty on the next £125,000, and then five per cent stamp duty on the remainder, leaving you with a total tax bill of £1,700. Under the new rules, you pay nothing.

Someone buying a £400,000 home, in London for example, will only pay five per cent tax on the excess above £300,000. That works out to a tax bill of £5,000 and a saving of £5,000. At this point I should state that these changes only apply to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, you don’t pay stamp duty - you pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. Rates are tiered in a different way; you pay no tax on the first £145,000, two per cent up to £250,000, five per cent on the next £125,000 and ten per cent on the amount between £325,001 and £750,000. Anything above that is subject to 12 per cent tax.

The Scottish Budget falls in December – we don’t currently know if there are plans to reform stamp duty in a similar way.

That’s the policy, but what about the reality? Yes, in the average home you may have an additional £1,700 you can put towards your first washing machine or sofa, but, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, you’re likely to see your prospective new home correspondingly rise in price. House prices will rise by 0.3 per cent, says the OBR.

That makes sense. If estate agents and sellers know that if you’ve got more cash (theoretically), you’re going to be charged more for your home. You may find that you need to save more for a deposit – if you’re going to save £2,000 in stamp duty which results in your new home being £2,000 more expensive, a first-time buyer with a ten per cent deposit will need to find another £200.

But it does mean that buying that dream home, while being more achievable, will be more expensive, and that the main beneficiaries of the policy are likely to be sellers, not buyers.

It’s important not to take the stamp duty cut in isolation. The chancellor proposed a total package worth £44bn to improve the housing stock in the UK and make more homes available to first time buyers. The stamp duty cut is a tactical but welcome part of this, but alone would not solve the problem that people have getting their foot on to the first rung of the property ladder.

A tax cut will always deliver a fizzy rush of goodwill, but the hard part will be whether there are more new, younger feet hitting welcome mats in the years to come.

Gareth Shaw is head of Which? Money Online

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622096.1511517744!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622096.1511517744!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Philip Hammond produced a steady crescendo of property initiatives on Budget day, building up to the big stamp duty reveal. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Hammond produced a steady crescendo of property initiatives on Budget day, building up to the big stamp duty reveal. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622096.1511517744!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-black-friday-s-saving-grace-1-4622727","id":"1.4622727","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Black Friday’s saving grace","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511589600000 ,"articleLead": "

In little more than four years, the Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday weekend has become the biggest display of consumerism in Britain.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622725.1511551737!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Black Friday shoppers in Glasgow (Picture: John Devlin)"} ,"articleBody": "

The aggressive sales tactics of global corporations have led to scuffles breaking out in some stores, such is the desperation to own products that would otherwise be unaffordable. The violence itself has acted as a marketing tool; after all, if people are prepared to fight for them, surely the bargains must be amazing?

READ MORE: Scots set to buck Black Friday trend by spending less

In reality, many shops use eye-catching price reductions as loss leaders to get people in the door or onto the website where other products with more modest reductions lie in wait.

It is the epitome of commercial sharp practice that now occurs virtually all year round, with various ‘special’ days designed to help us spend out money.

READ MORE: What is Black Friday and who has promotions in Edinburgh

Religious festivals like Christmas and Easter have been co-opted while shops have sought to increase spending associated with events like Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day and Hallowe’en.

If Black Friday has one saving grace, it is that it comes just before Christmas, perhaps helping people to afford a celebration that can put the poorest among us in debt for weeks.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622725.1511551737!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622725.1511551737!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Black Friday shoppers in Glasgow (Picture: John Devlin)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Black Friday shoppers in Glasgow (Picture: John Devlin)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622725.1511551737!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/stephen-jardine-the-country-where-all-roads-lead-to-alcohol-1-4622729","id":"1.4622729","articleHeadline": "Stephen Jardine: The country where all roads lead to alcohol","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511589600000 ,"articleLead": "

As Edinburgh’s Christmas market shows, alcohol seems to invade almost every aspect of life in Scotland, writes Stephen Jardine.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622728.1511551746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mulled wine is just one of a plethora of Christmas-themed alcoholic drinks (Picture: Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

What would you like for Christmas this year? How about some mead beer or a sloe gin hot apple toddy or maybe just a mulled wine? Right now in the centre of Edinburgh, you’d be spoiled for choice.

Light Night last weekend marked the start of Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations and for the next six weeks the city will be a winter wonderland for locals and visitors, young and old.

A quick look at the website gives you an idea of what to expect. Alongside Santa there are images of kids, ice skating, theatre performances and funfairs. However that is not quite the full picture.

What is not mentioned is the starring role booze plays in this great Christmas production.

I’m no prohibitionist. In fact I’m the man who always insisted a large whisky was left out for Santa on Christmas Eve “because he likes that”. But at a time when we are about to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol, we need to take a long, hard look at the role booze plays in everyday life.

READ MORE: Scots buying enough alcohol to push population over drinking guidelines

Edinburgh’s Christmas is operated by Underbelly and they’ve come under fire over this issue in the past and have always denied the positioning of alcohol is too prominent. But you don’t have to be Ebeneezer Scrooge to understand something has changed.

There was a time when Edinburgh’s Christmas consisted of a tree at The Mound and not very much else. Then came the ice rink and some stalls in Princes Street Gardens. Now it is a monster event at multiple locations but the mood is also different.

What was a family-based celebration has morphed into a chance for adults to get together and drink on the streets. With that comes anti-social behaviour, hence the increased security presence which again alters the atmosphere.

With half a million visitors now drawn to Edinburgh for the Christmas celebrations, the city council knows the value of the product and charge a hefty price to the operators. The easiest way for the organisers to recoup that is through alcohol sales. You have to sell an awful lot of Santa hats to kids to generate the same revenue as a few rounds of Gluhwein at The Mound.

READ MORE: Minimum alcohol pricing ‘biggest health boost since smoking ban’

Alcohol has its place. Christmas without mulled wine, Baileys and a bottle of port would be unimaginable – as well as unbearable – but to give it the place and space we have in Edinburgh is to endorse consumption to a degree that is unhealthy and unwise.

This time last year I was in Copenhagen and it was different. The Christmas street markets each had one stall selling Gluhwein but that was it and everything else was geared towards selling crafts or entertaining kids and the atmosphere reflected that.

No one wants to go back to the dark days when a string of fairy lights on Princes Street was seen as an affront to Presbyterian morals. But, at the same time, we need to look at the way alcohol seeps into every celebration, gathering and event because that lax attitude is killing us. In Scotland this year over 1,200 people won’t see Christmas because they died during the year from alcohol abuse. That figure has jumped 10 per cent in just 12 months and drink-fuelled hospital stays are also up two per cent.

We need to break the vice like grip alcohol has on this country and what better time to start than now. It may be a quick source of revenue but not everything has to be built around booze all the time. So let’s leave it where belongs it belongs in bars, clubs and restaurants and keep the streets and markets for the real spirit of Christmas.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Stephen Jardine"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622728.1511551746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622728.1511551746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mulled wine is just one of a plethora of Christmas-themed alcoholic drinks (Picture: Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mulled wine is just one of a plethora of Christmas-themed alcoholic drinks (Picture: Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622728.1511551746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/jane-bradley-give-me-santa-over-some-corporate-giant-any-day-1-4622730","id":"1.4622730","articleHeadline": "Jane Bradley: Give me Santa over some corporate giant any day","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511589600000 ,"articleLead": "

The magic of Santa is an antidote to the harsh realities of our globalised world, writes Jane Bradley.

" ,"articleBody": "

When I was three years old, I got my first front-page scoop.

I had been allowed to call a phone line every night in the few days before Christmas to hear the latest installment of a Santa bedtime story recorded by British Telecom. On December 23, I came off the phone with a confused look on my face.

“Mummy,” I (reportedly) said, “Santa says he’s coming tonight and we need to go to bed now so he can deliver our presents, but it’s not Christmas Eve until tomorrow, is it?”

[SPOILER ALERT] My mum, cursing the playgroup which had taught her precocious offspring to count well enough to know how many sleeps remained until the big day, sent me to bed with some desperate appeasement, hoping that the Santa Claus magic had not been cruelly blighted on what was only my fourth Christmas: “Oh, I’m sure you just heard him wrong, darling, just go to sleep and don’t worry about it.”

I wasn’t entirely satisfied, but off I went. I was an obedient little person in those days.

READ MORE: Exclusive interview with Lapland’s Santa Claus

And of course, I wasn’t wrong. Three-year-olds rarely are. As soon as I was in the land of nod, Mum phoned the line herself.

As I had claimed, Santa did say he was arriving later that night, 24 hours early. Chances are, some telephone operative at BT had accidentally popped the wrong tape in before leaving work – it was the 1980s when this kind of manual error could quite feasibly occur. Or maybe Scrooge had nabbed a seasonal job at the telephone exchange and had done it on purpose, desperate to ruin Christmas for thousands of young children the country over. We’ll never know.

What we do know is that my mum immediately phoned the local paper and it hit the front page the next evening.

“Christmas ruined!” the headline blazed. “Thousands of angry parents phone British Telecom to complain about tape which has blighted the festive season.”

READ MORE: Archaeologists ‘discover’ Santa Claus’s tomb in Turkey

Of course, my mum was one of those members of the public who are the bane of my life in my grown up existence as a news reporter. “If you want to know the story, just phone the line yourself,” she’d smugly told the journalist on the other end of the phone. “Oh, you don’t need my name. No, you can’t quote me and, of course, I’m not going to have my child pose for pictures.”

That, of course, dear reader, does not a top local news story make. I still feel bad for the reporter, who with such a great tale inches from his grasp, had it cruelly snatched away from him. To make this good story great, he would the full tale told from the perspective of the angry parents – ideally containing phrases such as “Christmas has been ruined” and a photograph of a cute but unhappy toddler, dolefully posing for the camera in front of a gaudily decorated Christmas tree. Thankfully, the local paper obviously had no such scruples and ran the scoop anyway – without the obligatory sad child picture and with only a slightly augmented number of affected families from one to “thousands” (BT had told my mum that she was the only one who complained).

I was reminded of this family fable earlier this week when B&M stores came under fire from angry parents after marketing their “Letter from Santa” in cellophane-covered packages by the till.

Mum Emma Mander from Manchester sent an angry message to the discount retailer, claiming the form reply, which parents could buy and fill in to send as a response to their child’s Santa letter, risked spoiling “the magic of Christmas” for her two oldest offspring, aged eight and six, who luckily weren’t with her on the shopping trip.

Meanwhile, Amazon came under fire for sending out parcels to online shoppers without packaging in a bid to cut down on unnecessary waste, giving away the surprise to many youngsters who happened to answer the door to the postie.

B&M has since pledged to review its placing policy of the product, angering another section of society who argued on social media that youngsters needed to face reality and that it is not a store’s problem to perpetuate a lie.

It is a difficult conundrum. As a society, we have, rightly or wrongly, created this myth which we desperately want our children to buy into. And in recent years, it seems we don’t want them to discover the truth until an increasingly older age.

While it seems that many children of my generation dismissed the existence of Santa at around the time they learned to read fluently – perhaps five or six – many parents of today want their seven, eight and nine-year-olds to keep on believing. According to a survey on parenting website Made for Mums, just over half of children now still believe in Father Christmas at the age of eight.

Yet, in a fast paced modern world, where children learn a lot of things far quicker than they would have done 30 years ago, is this really a bad thing?

Most children, according to research, naturally grow out of believing in Santa, the idea of a man climbing down every chimney across the globe to deliver presents in one evening eventually proving to be too fanciful.

But we really don’t need to give children who are barely out of nappies a short sharp shock of finding out that the treasured letter they received from the most benevolent of mythical creatures has actually been manufactured in China by a discount store – or discovering that the present they put on their Santa list has already been delivered by a global retail giant, rather than the man with the big white beard.

Let’s pull together to do what we can to keep the magic going a little longer.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/first-look-new-images-released-of-20m-hotel-planned-for-old-town-1-4622077","id":"1.4622077","articleHeadline": "First look: New images released of £20m hotel planned for Old Town","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511544459000 ,"articleLead": "

AS work continues brick by brick, floor by floor, this computer generated image shows how one of the Old Town’s last remaining gap sites will look after it undergoes a £20m regeneration.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622074.1511544468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new hotel will be placed in a gap site in the Old Town"} ,"articleBody": "

It will soon become home to a 98-roomed design boutique hotel being constructed in a partnership between Carlton Hotel Collection and developer EDI group.

Situated right in the heart of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage and Old Town Conservation Area, construction of the seven-storey hotel will transform the site on the northern boundary of the Old Town, between Edinburgh Castle and North Bridge.

The project construction, first begun in May 2016, has, they say, proven to be a huge design challenge with the site surrounded by historic buildings on three sides and by the busy Market Street and Waverley Station directly in front.

It has reached a major milestone with the steel “backbone” of the building now being put in place, which means work on the exterior and interior of the landmark building can now accelerate.

The hotel itself is now due for completion in late summer 2018.

Once it is open, guests at the four-star hotel will be able to enjoy a top-floor lounge with panoramic views across the Waverley Valley from Princes Street Gardens to Calton Hill from a specially-designed champagne bar roof terrace.

A ceremonial “topping out” earlier this week saw EDI Group’s operations director Eric Adair and the firm’s head of development Mark Harris, accompanied by Andy McLinden, managing director of main contractor ISG’s UK Construction North and Scotland businesses, tighten a last “golden” bolt on the frame witnessed by Carlton Hotel Collection’s director of operations Hans van der Heijden and sales director Christa van Camp.

Mr Adair said: “Today marks an important milestone in the ambitious project bringing life back to this well-known gap site.

“Creating and constructing a fitting design that works for Market Street has been a challenge for all of the team involved but it is a great example of what EDI can do. With steelwork complete we can now really see the hotel taking shape.

“While there is still much to be done, I have no doubt that the hotel will be a vital addition to the city’s hospitality offering for visitors and residents alike in what is a spectacular location.

Mr van der Heijden said: “We are excited about this project and can’t wait to open our doors. Market Street Hotel will be the first Design Hotel™ in Edinburgh, and will bring a new dimension to the city’s hotel supply. On the top floor we’ll be introducing Nor’loft, a uniquely designed lounge with a ‘champagne table’ where guests can enjoy their bubbles whilst gazing out across the spectacular skyline view. This will bring a new vibe.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622074.1511544468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622074.1511544468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new hotel will be placed in a gap site in the Old Town","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new hotel will be placed in a gap site in the Old Town","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622074.1511544468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622075.1511544470!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622075.1511544470!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "New �20m hotel in Edinburgh Old Town","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "New �20m hotel in Edinburgh Old Town","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622075.1511544470!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622076.1511544473!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622076.1511544473!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622076.1511544473!/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/social-enterprise-wise-group-appoints-new-ceo-1-4622271","id":"1.4622271","articleHeadline": "Social enterprise Wise Group appoints new CEO","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511525511000 ,"articleLead": "

Social enterprise the Wise Group has announced the appointment of Sean Duffy, commercial director at publisher Newsquest, as their new chief executive.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622269.1511525525!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Duffy. Picture: The Wise Group,"} ,"articleBody": "

The group, which offers employability and skills training, and targets regeneration and reducing re-offending as two of their main priorities, announced the decision earlier today.

Mr Duffy comes to the Wise Group from Newsquest after stints at high profile organisations like National Express, transport giant FirstGroup, and broadcaster STV.

He replaces long-serving CEO Laurie Russell, who is retiring from the Wise Group after 11 years.

Stuart Patrick, chairman of the Wise Group board of trustees, told Daily Business Group: “The Wise Group’s mission is to support and deliver for the most disadvantaged people positively transforming their lives.

“Laurie has achieved much during 11 years with us. He has been an inspirational leader, not only for the Wise Group, but for the social enterprise movement in Scotland.

“We had several very strong candidates for this post, but Sean stood out due to his excellent skills, knowledge and commitment to the values and culture of the Wise Group.

Laurie Russell added: “I am confident, having met Sean, that he will be a great addition to the Wise Group team. Although I’m retiring, I will continue to be available in an advisory capacity for as long as I’m needed.”

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622269.1511525525!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622269.1511525525!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Duffy. Picture: The Wise Group,","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Duffy. Picture: The Wise Group,","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622269.1511525525!/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/scots-businesses-offered-free-trial-to-fight-cyber-crime-1-4605942","id":"1.4605942","articleHeadline": "Scots businesses offered free trial to fight cyber crime","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511521506000 ,"articleLead": "

From the NHS, to the American election – compromised cyber security has loomed large in 2017. But with strict new protection laws on the horizon, how can small businesses keep things compliant, yet still efficient?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4605940.1509968979!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The cyber attack that brought the NHS to a halt earlier this year would have been remedied swiftly had an adequate backup system been in place"} ,"articleBody": "

Cyber-attacks have been prominent in the headlines this year – from prominent businesses, reaching all the way up to the highest echelons of international government. As such, there’s an intense media spotlight on business IT – a light that promises to only become harsher in 2018.

Stringent and far-reaching new data protection laws are on the horizon. And while it may be easy to rejoice in the protections these offer at a higher level, with an ever-increasing emphasis on cyber-security, how can any small business apply the resources needed to make their core business fly?

“The answer is, with a strategic IT partnership,” said Kevin Mitchell, Service Director at VectorCloud - a Scottish IT support company specialising in data security and backup. “It is a difficult time to run a small business and find your way through the IT maze without a guide.”

VectorCloud have 20 years of experience supporting local businesses in central Scotland – and while they are firmly of the opinion that there is no one-size-fits-all IT solution for small businesses, there are certainly tools that are becoming increasingly difficult to live without.

“The first is a managed backup system,” said Kevin. “VectorCloud provides solutions from industry leader Datto – a specialist backup provider which works through accredited partners. The recommendation could not be better timed either; experts suggest the cyber attack that brought the entire NHS to a halt earlier this year would have been remedied in a fraction of the time had an adequate backup system been in place.

“It’s not just security that VectorCloud is called upon to deliver, though. With increasing pressure on finances, reducing IT running costs is a high priority for small businesses – and outsourcing is an ideal answer.

“Microsoft Hosted Exchange is becoming another must for any size company,” said Kevin. “Email is essential for every business, Microsoft Hosted Exchange guarantees a 99.9 per cent uptime, so you can count on your email always being up and running.”

Although the appeal of an IT partnership is clear, especially when compared to the cost of keeping such a skillset in-house, Mitchell warns of rushing into a partnership. He said: “It’s important to find a company who fits with your organisation’s way of working.”

VectorCloud is currently offering a FREE three-month trial for all businesses in Glasgow and Edinburgh to showcase their network, backup and security capabilities. If IT is becoming a headache for your business, a relationship with a company like VectorCloud might be the ideal painkiller.

For more information call 01698 430111, email info@vectorcloud.co.uk or visit the website www.vectorcloud.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "voicelocal@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Judith Halliday"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4605940.1509968979!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4605940.1509968979!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The cyber attack that brought the NHS to a halt earlier this year would have been remedied swiftly had an adequate backup system been in place","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The cyber attack that brought the NHS to a halt earlier this year would have been remedied swiftly had an adequate backup system been in place","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4605940.1509968979!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4605941.1509968980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4605941.1509968980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Strict new protection laws are on the horizon, so it is crucial to ensure your business IT is compliant.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Strict new protection laws are on the horizon, so it is crucial to ensure your business IT is compliant.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4605941.1509968980!/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/news/opinion/leader-comment-how-london-prices-helped-scotland-s-first-time-buyers-1-4621860","id":"1.4621860","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: How London prices helped Scotland’s first-time buyers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511520427000 ,"articleLead": "

The Chancellor’s shock move to help people south of border get on property ladder may have bounced Nicola Sturgeon into action.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621858.1511468215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond poses for the media as he holds up the traditional red dispatch box, outside his official residence 11 Downing Street before delivering his annual budget speech to Parliament in London, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. While Hammond is promising to tackle a bleak economic outlook "head on," a slowing economy and stubborn deficit mean there is little money available to increase spending in the face of demands from teachers, firefighters, the National Health Service and the military. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)"} ,"articleBody": "

With first-time buyers in Scotland needing an average deposit of more than £21,000, it’s hardly surprising that many have turned to the “bank of mum and dad” for help.

But, until Philip Hammond’s surprise decision to abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000 south of the border, there appeared to be no sign of any extra help from the Scottish Government. Indeed, a family construction firm, Mactaggart and Mickel, was first to step into the breach yesterday, announcing it would essentially match the Chancellor’s largesse and pay the land and buildings transactions tax (LBTT) on Scottish houses sold for up to the same amount until April.

READ MORE: First-time Scottish house buyers face £21k hurdle

Some might see this as a media-savvy move designed to get publicity, but if so it was an expensive one, given it could cost the firm up to £4,600 for each home covered by its pledge. More likely, it was a sign of the widespread industry concern at a slow-down in the property market which some have attributed to problems with LBTT, designed to be a fairer alternative to stamp duty but which is in need of reform.

It now seems Nicola Sturgeon has been persuaded – some might say bounced – into helping people in Scotland get on the property ladder, with the First Minister revealing that she was going to “consider whether it is appropriate to give any further assistance”.

READ MORE: Scottish housing market in ‘serious slowdown’

Currently homes sold for up to £145,000 are exempt from paying LBTT but Ms Sturgeon suggested this might be increased to £175,000 when she pointed out a house worth that much in Scotland would sell for about £300,000 in England.

LBTT imposes a progressive tax, from two per cent on homes worth more than £145,000 to 12 per cent on those selling for more than £750,000. So Mr Hammond’s decision, which was effective immediately, opened up a considerable discrepancy between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Differences in taxation and policy are not necessarily bad. After all, the purpose of the Scottish Parliament is to make legislation that is more tailored to our needs and political views.

However, in this case, the slowdown in the housing market and the undoubted problems faced by first-time buyers mean it is a good thing that Mr Hammond – in responding partly to the plight of Londoners who need an average deposit of £100,000 – has forced Ms Sturgeon’s hand.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621858.1511468215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621858.1511468215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond poses for the media as he holds up the traditional red dispatch box, outside his official residence 11 Downing Street before delivering his annual budget speech to Parliament in London, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. While Hammond is promising to tackle a bleak economic outlook "head on," a slowing economy and stubborn deficit mean there is little money available to increase spending in the face of demands from teachers, firefighters, the National Health Service and the military. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond poses for the media as he holds up the traditional red dispatch box, outside his official residence 11 Downing Street before delivering his annual budget speech to Parliament in London, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. While Hammond is promising to tackle a bleak economic outlook "head on," a slowing economy and stubborn deficit mean there is little money available to increase spending in the face of demands from teachers, firefighters, the National Health Service and the military. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621858.1511468215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/hi-tech-transport-firm-secures-souter-investment-1-4622153","id":"1.4622153","articleHeadline": "Hi-tech transport firm secures Souter investment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511519948000 ,"articleLead": "

A company providing technology-enabled coach and minibus travel has secured multi-million-pound funding from the family investment office of Stagecoach co-founder and chairman Sir Brian Souter.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622152.1511519961!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Brian Souter. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

CoachHire.com has netted the £3.75 million sum from Souter Investments to accelerate the development and rollout of its technology, with a suite of apps for drivers, ­parents and school staff to safeguard pupils on their way to and from school.

It comes as the venture looks set to turn over more than £10m next year, after its ­education tech packages drove recent growth, with its annualised revenues exceeding £7m this year.

The firm also aims to add more than 60 schools to its customer base and create 50 jobs in 2018. The education tech transport specialist said its flagship SchoolSafe software uses tracking and travel technology to alert parents when their child boards their school coach and where they are while on board, receiving notifications in case of traffic disruptions and delays. It also stated that it saves parents time and schools money.

CoachHire.com managing director and founder Mathew Hassell said: “We’re pleased that Souter Investments shares our vision and sees the potential in CoachHire.com.

“We’re dedicated to improving the safety, usability and value for money of school transport services and we now have the backing to realise these ambitions for schools across the country.”

Founded in 2011, the firm ­provides technology-led ­passenger transport services, vehicle tracking and passenger safeguarding solutions to the education, corporate and leisure sectors nationwide through its software.

John Berthinussen, investment director at Souter Investments, said: “CoachHire.com represents an ­exciting opportunity for Souter Investments to support a fast-growing, dynamic and innovative ­business with a highly ­entrepreneurial and passionate management team. We look forward to supporting Mathew and his team for the next phase of growth.”

CoachHire.com is also a managed transport service provider for the corporate sector and an online broker of bus, coach, minibus and other travel and vehicle hire for the leisure sector.

Souter founded Stagecoach with sister Ann Gloag, ­starting in 1980 with two second-hand buses and now boasting about 35,000 employees.

Its JVs include Virgin Rail Group and Scottish Citylink, and it operates in North America.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622152.1511519961!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622152.1511519961!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir Brian Souter. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Brian Souter. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622152.1511519961!/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/mixed-news-from-pub-and-restaurant-giant-mitchells-butlers-1-4622134","id":"1.4622134","articleHeadline": "Mixed news from pub and restaurant giant Mitchells & Butlers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511519228000 ,"articleLead": "

Mitchells & Butlers, the restaurant and pubs giant behind a host of brands including All Bar One, Browns and Toby Carvery, has vowed to press on with its efficiency drive after booking a fall in profits.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622133.1511519240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture Alan Watson. Toby Carvery, Strathclyde Park"} ,"articleBody": "

Full-year results yesterday revealed a fall in pre-tax profits to £77 million for the year to the end of September, compared with £94m a year earlier. That was despite higher revenues of £2.18 billion, up from £2.09bn.

The group, whose other brands include Harvester, O’Neill’s and steak chain Miller & Carter, said full-year like-for-like sales rose by 1.8 per cent accelerating to a 2.3 per cent gain in the first seven weeks of the new financial year.

The board has recommended a final dividend of 5p per share, giving a full-year payout of 7.5p.

However, M&B added: “We do not expect to declare an interim dividend in the current financial year but will make an assessment of pay-out at the end of the year based on a full year of trading and development of the sector outlook.” Chief executive Phil Urban told investors: “This year, we have continued to make progress on our three priority areas: building a more balanced business; instilling a more commercial culture; and driving an innovation agenda.

“This has resulted in a period of strong operational achievement for Mitchells & Butlers with a sustained return to like-for-like sales growth driving market outperformance.”

He added: “Cost headwinds across the industry have adversely affected margins but we continue to work hard to mitigate as much of these as possible through our focus on efficiency and profitable sales growth.

“Overall, we believe that the progress we have made this year positions the company well to deliver long-term shareholder value.”

Shares in M&B came under pressure as investors reacted to the news that inflationary pressures were eating into margins.

Analysts at Numis Securities highlighted “solid trading” at the group but pointed to the doubts over the dividend and general trading outlook.

They noted: “We are cautious on the outlook for M&B as we do not expect life-for-like sales to cover mounting cost headwinds and believe the risk of a dividend cut underlines the challenges facing managed pub groups.”

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: “Even if Q4 was hurt by disappointing weather, and things have picked up since (sales +2.3 per pent), investors are clearly focusing on cost issues affecting the whole industry.

“These include the living wage, business rates, apprenticeship levy, sugar tax, restaurant discounting, changes in consumer habits (eating out less frequently, but spending more) and Brexit uncertainty.

“An early decision not to pay an interim dividend, pending a year-end assessment, also suggests a murky outlook that is sapping management confidence. All of which easily eclipses sales growth, improved cash flow and lower net debt as the pub group focuses on efficiency.”

M&B’s estate comprises more than 1,750 pubs and restaurants, of which more than 80 per cent are freehold or long-leasehold. It noted strong sales at Miller & Carter.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622133.1511519240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622133.1511519240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture Alan Watson. Toby Carvery, Strathclyde Park","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture Alan Watson. Toby Carvery, Strathclyde Park","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622133.1511519240!/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/murdo-maclean-keeping-electricity-flow-as-uk-leaves-eu-1-4622128","id":"1.4622128","articleHeadline": "Murdo Maclean: Keeping electricity flow as UK leaves EU","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511518788000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK has been at the forefront of promoting interconnectors as a reliable and resilient method of transporting and trading electricity to, from and with our European and Irish neighbours. While Brexit heralds a ­loosening of connections with Europe, we can take some comfort that the development of strategically important energy interconnectors is certain to continue, albeit at a more cautious pace.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622127.1511518800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Murdo Maclean, partner and energy sector specialist at legal firm Pinsent Masons"} ,"articleBody": "

Britain has four interconnector links – two to Europe via France and the Netherlands and two to Ireland – which have a total capacity of 4 gigawatts (GW). Net imports of electricity through the interconnectors represent around 5 per cent of Britain’s existing generation capacity. In the short term, interconnector capability is expected to almost double in the next four years as two new links to northern France and one to Belgium come on stream, while a number of other projects could add a further 10GW of capacity over the next decade or more.

As with most, if not all, business ­sectors, the post-Brexit arrangements that will apply to the energy sector are anything but clear. Given that the government’s clearly stated position is that the UK will be ­leaving the EU Single Market, it follows that it will also leave the Internal Electricity Market (IEM). It remains to be seen if some sort of bilateral agreement allows us to remain part of the wider internal energy market and ­enables electricity to continue to flow in both directions without trade barriers, ­tariffs or other restrictions.

Notwithstanding this lack of clarity, I would wager that shrewd equity investors will take the view that the requirement for interconnectors between the UK and the Continent as a vital element of our ­energy supply chain will remain unchanged. Indeed, statistics show that demand for electricity is increasing and it is recognised that in the winter months when wind power is variable, the UK runs very close to security of supply margins and becomes a net importer of electricity. It is very difficult to see how this ­fundamental dynamic is going to change because of Brexit, though given the uncertainty, it is likely that investors will find themselves in a stronger position to demand a higher return on their equity.

The value of sterling in recent months and its future performance will also have an impact on interconnector projects that rely on technologies and equipment ­manufactured in Europe. A weakened pound means start-up costs will be higher, while similarly importing electricity and gas into the UK will hit pockets harder.

In addition, there is concern about the continued availability of funding for strategic energy infrastructure projects from EU sources, such as the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB plays a central role in the part-financing of strategic infrastructure projects, including in the energy sector, and it would be a safe assumption that the levels of funding approved by the EIB for UK-centric projects will diminish.

On a more positive note, the “cap and floor” pricing mechanism introduced by regulator Ofgem in 2014 – which caps the revenues interconnector owners can earn from sales of transmission capacity and limits the losses they could suffer as a result of reduced ­revenues in years of low demand for capacity – provides a welcome safety net for developers and operators looking to invest in the sector.

It is accepted that the UK needs a more robust energy supply pipeline, and interconnectors are an important part of establishing an energy mix that is sustainable, reliable and fit for purpose. While Brexit may be partly responsible for a more cautious approach by investors, my sense is that fear of the unknown has not dented long-term enthusiasm for interconnector projects and we will continue to see greater networks established with Europe and, further down the line, Scandinavia.

l Murdo Maclean, partner and energy sector specialist at legal firm Pinsent Masons.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Murdo Maclean"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622127.1511518800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622127.1511518800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Murdo Maclean, partner and energy sector specialist at legal firm Pinsent Masons","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Murdo Maclean, partner and energy sector specialist at legal firm Pinsent Masons","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622127.1511518800!/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/nicola-sturgeon-considers-more-help-for-first-time-house-buyers-1-4621911","id":"1.4621911","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon considers more help for first-time house buyers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511518614000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon will consider more help for first-time buyers after a major Scottish housebuilder announced it will move to adopt the Chancellor’s Budget relief measures north of the Border.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621910.1511513585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Housebuilders move could save first-time buyers up to �4,600."} ,"articleBody": "

But the prospect of fresh help for house hunters in Scotland at next month’s Budget could be blocked by the Greens, who oppose the move and whose votes may be needed by an SNP government that is now a minority.

Philip Hammond’s flagship Budget announcement on Wednesday was the abolition of stamp duty for homes worth up to £300,000 in England and Wales, but it will not apply in Scotland where the Scottish Government has responsibility. Instead only homes up to £145,000 in value are exempt from the land and buildings transactions tax system (LBTT) that applies north of the Border.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs yesterday she will “consider whether it is appropriate to give any further assistance” to first-time buyers in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Budget.

She hinted that a figure of £175,000 would be the Scottish equivalent of a £300,000 home south of the Border, in terms of the proportion of buyers affected, because of the difference in house prices.

Scottish family housebuilder Mactaggart and Mickel announced it would pay LBTT for first-time buyers purchasing homes up to £300,000 until the end of April in response to the UK Budget.

Director Joanne Casey said: “Although the Scottish budget won’t be revealed until mid-December, we have taken the decision to act immediately.”

The firm said it could save first-time buyers up to £4,600.

Mr Hammond’s measures set out in Wednesday’s budget are aimed at exempting 80 per cent of first-time buyers from stamp duty.

But Ms Sturgeon said 65 per cent of first-time buyers in Scotland are already exempt from LBTT, while 80 per cent already pay nothing or less than £600.

The First Minister told MSPs: “As we finalise our Budget over the next couple of weeks, we will consider whether it is appropriate to give any further assistance to first-time buyers.

“In that respect, two points will be very much part of our consideration. First, house prices in Scotland are lower than those in the rest of the UK. For example, a house that costs £300,000 in the rest of the UK would cost around £175,000 in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government will also be taking into account the warning from the Office for Budget Responsibility yesterday that the policy announced by the Chancellor will “push up house prices” and result in first-time buyers paying more for their houses, Ms Sturgeon added.

“Even with the voodoo economics that we get from the Tories, I do not think that makes much sense,” she said.

The Scottish Government has previously lowered the threshold for paying LBTT in response to measures unveiled by former Chancellor George Osborne in a previous Budget to stave off the prospect of more lucrative terms south of the Border.

Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie last night slammed the tax break unveiled by Mr Hammond. He called on Ms Sturgeon to “refuse to follow a foolish decision by a UK government”.

Mr Hammond yesterday rejected claims that his measure on stamp duty will raise house prices and said abolishing the fee for first-time buyers would create an incentive to save a deposit.

“Hopefully by abolishing stamp duty, which will save the average first-time buyer about £1,700, that will be a help and an incentive to focus on getting the deposit together, getting the money together to get on the housing ladder and we hope that many more young people will be able to get on the housing ladder,” Mr Hammond told BBC Breakfast.

“The important thing is that over the next five years, over the life of this parliament, a million first-time buyers will make an average saving of just under £1,700 when they buy their first home. I think that’s a good news story.”

LBTT was introduced in 2015, but has proven controversial with industry concerns that sales of more expensive homes have suffered.

A report by RICS Scotland earlier this month found concerns among surveyors the tax was “prohibitively high” and “having an adverse effect”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621910.1511513585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621910.1511513585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Housebuilders move could save first-time buyers up to �4,600.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Housebuilders move could save first-time buyers up to �4,600.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621910.1511513585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/household-spend-helps-prop-up-gdp-amid-challenging-outlook-1-4622106","id":"1.4622106","articleHeadline": "Household spend helps prop up GDP amid challenging outlook","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511518473000 ,"articleLead": "

Britain’s economy continued to expand in the third quarter, official figures yesterday confirmed, thanks to a rebound in household spending and modest levels of business investment.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622105.1511518486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Retail sales rebounded to November. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Releasing its second estimate for the period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4 per cent between July and September. That compares with quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.3 per cent for both the first and second quarters.

The update comes after fiscal watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility served up gloomier forecasts for GDP growth and the UK public finances over the coming years in Wednesday’s Budget.

Consumer spending proved resilient over the third quarter, bouncing back to 0.6 per cent growth from 0.2 per cent in the second quarter despite the persistent squeeze on household finances from higher inflation and muted wage growth.

Business investment also grew in the third quarter, but could only tease out a 0.2 per cent rise to £45.8 billion compared with the preceding three months. The growth figure for Britain’s powerhouse services sector – more than two-thirds of the economy – eased to a four-year low of 1.4 per cent during the three months to September, compared to last year.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club think-tank, said: “The UK economy was confirmed picking up a little speed in the third quarter but it was still far from racing ahead.

“Despite the modest pick-up in growth and stronger consumer spending, the outlook for the UK economy currently remains challenging. Consumer purchasing power is still being squeezed appreciably while business concerns and uncertainties over Brexit and the economy are hampering investment.

“Hopefully, net trade can help growth as exports benefit from ongoing healthy global activity and a very competitive pound.”

Meanwhile, retail sales rebounded in the year to November but stores once again expect a deterioration over the next quarter, figures yesterday showed.

October saw the strongest growth in average selling prices in more than 26 years, with similar figures expected next month, according to the CBI quarterly distributive trades survey of 128 firms.

Orders placed with suppliers also rose at a solid rate over the year and are set to grow at a similar pace next month.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622105.1511518486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622105.1511518486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Retail sales rebounded to November. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Retail sales rebounded to November. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622105.1511518486!/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/profits-warning-at-centrica-sends-shares-into-tailspin-1-4622073","id":"1.4622073","articleHeadline": "Profits warning at Centrica sends shares into tailspin","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511517092000 ,"articleLead": "

A profit warning from Scottish Gas‑owning Centrica yesterday saw its shares dive 15 per cent as the energy utility also revealed a further exodus of customers since June.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622072.1511517105!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Centrica has issued a profits warnings. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Centrica reported a loss of 823,000 supply customers in the four months to end-October, as Britain’s big energy suppliers come under pressure from smaller rivals offering cheaper deals.

The company also said its full-year adjusted earnings per share this year were expected to be below market forecasts at about 12.5p “largely reflecting lower than expected adjusted operating profit in North America Business and UK Business”. The previous market consensus expectation had been for earnings of 14.9p a share.

Iain Conn, Centrica’s group chief executive, said: “Trading conditions continue to be highly competitive and performance delivery since mid-year within the Centrica Business energy supply businesses has been disappointing.”

Conn added: “In Centrica Business we have experienced significant market pressures in our North American Business retail power book, and in the UK business we are not yet seeing improved operational performance flowing through to the bottom line (earnings).”

Shares in the group initially slumped 22 per cent, before later paring back some of the losses to close at 138p.

“The question now is whether this weakness will persist into 2018, and the longer term potential impact on the dividend,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said.

George Salmon, an analyst with Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “After a dilutive share placing last year, and considering the challenges in the retail business, investor confidence in the Centrica turnaround story was already fairly brittle.

“That meant the group could ill-afford having to break more bad news, but unfortunately that’s exactly what it’s done. The real kick in the teeth is that few anticipated the source of the latest trouble.”

Centrica said it now expected an adjusted operating cashflow of more than £2 billion this year, down from £2.69bn last year. The group’s British Gas business had 14 million residential energy supply accounts in 2016.

But the energy sector has come under pressure since Prime Minister Theresa May said last month that she would impose controls to tackle what she branded “rip-off energy prices”.

Centrica hiked prices 12.5 per cent in September, and said it estimated that 150,000 of the accounts lost since June were solely down to market switching trends following the tariff rise.

The group indicated it will have cut £300m of costs in 2017 on top of savings of £384m last year.

Yesterday’s profit warning came just days after British Gas moved to scrap its standard variable tariffs (SVTs) for new customers ahead of government plans to impose a price cap on the costly energy products.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Martin Flanagan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622072.1511517105!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622072.1511517105!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Centrica has issued a profits warnings. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Centrica has issued a profits warnings. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622072.1511517105!/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/scots-set-to-buck-black-friday-trend-by-spending-less-1-4621899","id":"1.4621899","articleHeadline": "Scots set to buck Black Friday trend by spending less","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511515715000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland is set to scupper expectations of a bumper Black Friday as new figures show that shoppers north of the Border will aim to spend less than last year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621898.1511514826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scots are tipped to spend less than last year in the Black Friday sales. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The US retail phenomenon, which was set to hit today and sees shops slash the price of goods, has been growing year on year and was last year deemed to be the busiest shopping day of the year.

Data from PwC showed that this year, Scots will spend £181, down from £187.55 in 2016. However, the figure is still higher than in 2015, when the average shopper spent £57.73.

A separate report from Deloitte, however, claimed that UK-wide, online sales are “likely to easily exceed” last year’s £1.23 billion record, while predictions by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) said that Britons are expected to spend £2.6bn on Black Friday alone – an 8 per cent increase overall on last year – and £7.8bn over the four-day period from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, up 7 per cent on last year.

Black Friday, which has existed in the US since the 1950s, marks the start of the Christmas shopping period as it falls the day after Thanksgiving, when many people have the day off work.

Previous years have seen physical fights between shoppers trying to get their hands on bargains, particularly electrical goods.

However, this year, PwC said, almost three quarters of spending in Scotland is to be carried out on a traditional PC or mobile device – while only 18 per cent intend to purchase goods in store.

Claire Reid, head of assurance of PwC in Scotland, said: “One issue for Black Friday this year is that it does fall comparatively early this year, before pay day for many consumers.

“This may present a cashflow issue for some shoppers and could result in slightly more muted growth. This may also explain why the amount Scots want to spend is down a little on last year. Next year’s figures will show better if this is the start of a trend and Scots are no longer bothering with the perceived early bargains.”

The report found that shoppers said Black Friday is more about buying things for ourselves than presents for others, with 62 per cent of consumers saying they plan to treat themselves in the sales, while only a fifth of Black Friday spending is expected to be on Christmas presents.

Mark Addley, head of restructuring for PwC in Scotland, said: “Black Friday is not yet threatening the Christmas shopping period, with our survey showing the majority of purchases made over the weekend will not be gifts.

“Therefore, the first few weeks of Christmas shopping in December will still be vital for retailers, who will need to carefully manage their stock availability, IT systems and delivery infrastructure.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621898.1511514826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621898.1511514826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scots are tipped to spend less than last year in the Black Friday sales. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scots are tipped to spend less than last year in the Black Friday sales. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621898.1511514826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/anne-gray-no-brexit-deal-is-worst-scenario-for-our-farmers-1-4621146","id":"1.4621146","articleHeadline": "Anne Gray: No Brexit deal is worst scenario for our farmers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511508171000 ,"articleLead": "

It wasn’t long after last summer’s EU referendum that the phrase Brexit means Brexit swiftly entered the general lexicon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anne Gray, Senior Policy Officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates"} ,"articleBody": "

Whilst this sentiment received a mixed reaction from voters, in one sense it did provide a degree of impetus to business – including the Scottish farming sector – that it quickly needed to get ready for the realities of the post-EU world.

Now, just over 16 months from the Brexit vote and as talks continue on a departure deal, the term “no deal is better than a bad deal” is the one that circulates with more regularity – and makes food producers sit up and take notice.

Three different post-Brexit scenarios for agricultural commodity price and production have been highlighted in a recent report by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast and University of Missouri.

The report was commissioned by the four agriculture departments in the UK and it looked at consequences for everyday food items such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, bread, cereals, milk and other dairy products, and of course our beer and whisky trade which relies to a large extent on homegrown barley.

The three scenarios it ­considered were a free trade deal with the EU, World Trade Organisation Most Favoured Nation tariffs and trade liberalisation, so reducing import tariffs to a minimum.

It is clear from the research that, for stability’s sake, a deal is preferable. The UK consumer would be likely to see some increase in prices, but within a level that is probably tolerable for most households – between 0 and 3 per cent.

At Scottish Land & Estates we have said that farming needs to change, to be more focussed on the market and less so on public subsidy, but that it needs time and support to make this change. A deal we believe would be one of the things that would allow measured change to happen, rather than a cliff-edge.

The WTO tariff scenario, on the other hand, shows both price increases and decreases. The increases range between 15 and 30 per cent for products such as beef, pork and dairy. Since we know price is the key determinant in food choices, increases are very unlikely to be tolerated by the consumer. The items that come down in price include lamb, wheat and barley, and they do so because these are products we ­produce more of than we need for domestic consumption. It is believed that if tariffs are too high to make export sensible, then our own domestic market would be flooded with what would otherwise go abroad and the price would consequently be reduced.

In time it is likely that production would adjust where it can. For Scottish farmers ­however, with much of our land only suitable for sheep production, change within farming may not be possible and the harsh reality may be that our farmers are forced to do something else with their land – or go out of business.

The third scenario is that the UK government cuts tariffs substantially and allows cheap food imports. There are reasons why this may happen such as a wider trade deal that brings benefits overall to the economy but sees farming ­sacrificed, or because it is ­preferable for the consumer than price hikes under WTO rules. However, it is difficult to see how any farmer but the very specialist, high end ­producers could prosper.

Given the three structures outlined above, Scottish Land & Estates is urging the government to recognise that a deal offers stability and time for Scottish farming to evolve to the new post-EU landscape.

We recognise that talks in Brussels cannot be conducted of the needs of just one sector but it is vital for Scottish agriculture that the immediate and potentially harsher consequences of ‘no deal’ are recognised. Some may argue that no deal is ­better than a bad deal but for Scotland’s rural economy there will need to be significant work from government to cushion the change if such a scenario comes to pass.

Anne Gray, senior policy ­officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Anne Gray, Senior Policy Officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anne Gray, Senior Policy Officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/philip-gane-planting-the-seed-of-inner-city-farming-1-4621150","id":"1.4621150","articleHeadline": "Philip Gane: Planting the seed of inner-city farming","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511507118000 ,"articleLead": "

Our agricultural sector is under pressure like ­never before. Charged with meeting ever-growing demand, agriculture has had to diversify and adapt at an astonishing rate.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Gane is Capital Projects Manager at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee."} ,"articleBody": "

To achieve this, research and innovation must play a significant role in supporting the world’s most important industry. Countries successful in translating ­science excellence through to industrial application will not only secure food supply chains against climate change but also attract inward investment opportunities.

There is a prime example of this in Tayside in the Advanced Plant Growth Centre (APGC) being developed at the James Hutton Institute at Invergowrie, near Dundee. The investment required is £28 million and it is currently under consideration as part of the Tay Cities Deal – a partnership between local, ­Scottish and UK governments and the private, academic and voluntary sectors which seek to create a smarter, fairer and more prosperous Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth & Kinross.

With a return on investment of £11.70 for every £1 invested and £463 million in economic added value, APGC will have a significant economic impact and an estimated 800 full-time equivalent jobs to the entire UK food and drink supply chain.

With cutting-edge research facilities, the centre will also boost Tayside’s already world-leading reputation in plant and crop science.

One of the main reasons for hosting this highly specialised and unique development is the Institute’s partnership with Intelligent Growth Solutions, a Scottish-based company developing vertical farming technology. Intelligent Growth Solutions’ almost-complete demonstration facility at our site will showcase the benefits of vertical farming. With a fully-controlled environment using highly-efficient LED lighting it will have the ability for automated control and harvesting.

The technology will be taken one step further by the APGC, providing even more opportunities for UK growers to produce out of season crops, enable novel research, and deliver new plant varieties quickly and economically. It will have the ability to develop crops to cope with climate change, resist pests and ­diseases and reduce the need for agro-chemicals and energy-wasting heated glasshouses, bring down post-harvest crop losses, and improve the quality and range of food and drink available.

Investing in these innovative solutions presents a huge opportunity to address some of the major challenges that we face.

Today’s reality is that we live in a world with a growing population (estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050) increased demands on land use, climate change and, as a result, extreme weather conditions. The APGC, working with a range of industry stakeholders, national and international governments, as well as other academic research organisations, can begin to tackle some of these issues related to food security. The APGC will take advantage of new and emerging technologies to turn the most unlikely facility into an urban farm where fruit and veg can be grown without natural sunlight, very little water and be protected from extreme weather. Three-quarters of the world’s extremely poor populations base their livelihoods on agriculture. Improved crops developed at the APGC will make it possible for these people to move on from subsistence farming, creating jobs for young rural farmers, reducing conflict over natural resources and developing more resilient livelihoods.

The APGC will bring greater sustainability not only to Tayside but Scotland’s food and drink industry; its largest manufacturing sector with 47,000 people, equating to 19 per cent of all manufacturing jobs.

By combining its strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research, the James Hutton Institute makes a major contribution to the understanding of key global issues and developing effective technological and management solutions. APGC potentially offers a silver bullet against some of the increasing challenges facing agriculture and food production. For more information visit www.hutton.ac.uk.

Philip Gane is capital projects manager at the James Hutton Institute.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Philip Gane is Capital Projects Manager at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Gane is Capital Projects Manager at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621149.1511435318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621149.1511435318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Vertical farming under LED lights","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Vertical farming under LED lights","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621149.1511435318!/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/news/opinion/andrea-nicholas-tourism-businesses-giving-the-green-light-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint-1-4621155","id":"1.4621155","articleHeadline": "Andrea Nicholas: Tourism businesses giving the green light to reducing their carbon footprint","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511506822000 ,"articleLead": "

As consumers become more aware of ­environmental issues, demand for ‘green’ products and services is increasing, including within the tourism ­industry, and it is recognised as such by the United Nations, which has named 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Proctor and Andrea Nicholas"} ,"articleBody": "

The recent Stop, Think, Discuss, research results showed that 66 per cent of respondents said sustainability is an important factor when choosing a resort. This increased to 90 per cent for European consumers.

Tourism businesses recognise the need for change. In the last two decades, more than 5,000 businesses have been awarded a Green Tourism assessment and in the last five years there has been an increase of 30 per cent in UK businesses reducing environmental impacts.

So, what is perceived as sustainable? It isn’t simply carbon footprint, even though this is important. Consumers appreciate businesses that care for their staff and community. Our Green Tourism accreditation assures customers that our award holders take extra measures to invest in people and their area. This isn’t always financial; it can include actively encouraging guests to participate in local cultural and natural attractions. This can boast local economies but also ­protect traditions that would otherwise be at risk of dying out.

By having a symbol of accreditation, customers can have confidence in their chosen accommodation. It helps them make informed decisions based on their ethical beliefs. Carbon footprint is important to many, and we are seeing more and more ­interest from customers wanting to ‘do their bit’ for the planet. As much as 30 per cent of someone’s annual carbon footprint can come from a ­holiday – for example a family holiday to Majorca creates two tonnes of CO2. Staying in the UK is an easy and significant way to reduce your carbon footprint as well as supporting outstanding businesses and attractions.

Added together with a local resort that sources local produce and your contribution to lowering your own carbon footprint becomes even greater. If that property also, for example, uses alternative energy sources it gets even more beneficial for our environment. You really can make a difference! The more people that get behind this movement, the bigger the difference we can make – and we really don’t need to compromise our standards. There are many amazing Green Tourism properties in the UK and their numbers are growing.

With this increasing demand expected to continue we are encouraging tourism businesses to seek a review for our accreditation. We are offering a free Green Check with one of our assessors until the end of January and can offer guidance and discuss what we know about this industry – that consumers, particularly Generation Y, are motivated by ­ethical consumption. We can certainly back that up by the experiences of those who currently hold a Green Tourism award.

There really is a very positive future for this industry. Only this month, Green Tourism achieved a world first for an accreditation programme – being Highly Commended at the World Travel Market (WTM) Responsible Tourism Awards 2017. This surely illustrates how the sustainable market is leading the way. Find out more at www.green-tourism.com.

Andrea Nicholas from Green Tourism.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jon Proctor and Andrea Nicholas","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Proctor and Andrea Nicholas","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/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/trams-fiasco-compared-with-holocaust-by-ex-transport-chief-1-4621915","id":"1.4621915","articleHeadline": "Trams fiasco compared with Holocaust by ex-transport chief","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511503256000 ,"articleLead": "

The former boss of Lothian Buses has stunned the tram inquiry after saying he adopted a strategy inspired by Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler to ease his concerns over the project.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621914.1511473520!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Lothian Buses boss Neil Renilson was told he was no longer fit to give evidence at the inquiry."} ,"articleBody": "

Neil Renilson was yesterday appearing before Lord Hardie, who is chairing the inquiry.

Earlier in the day the inquiry heard Mr Renilson – under whose leadership Lothian Buses won several awards – explained he had rationalised his concerns over the project by adopting what he described as “the Schindler strategy”.

Oskar Schindler is known for his efforts to save more than 1,000 Jews from being sent to the gas chambers by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Mr Renilson, who started giving evidence in the morning, was due to continue after lunch, but upon resuming proceedings Lord Hardie announced he was “no longer fit” to continue and would instead do so at a future date.

Before lunch, counsel to the inquiry Jonathan Lake QC had asked Mr Renilson for his thoughts on the project’s final business case, which was approved by councillors in December 2007.

Mr Renilson told the inquiry the prospect of £500 million of government money being spent on the trams did not bother him at first.

However, he said that as time progressed he “started to have more qualms”.

“I rationalised it with myself and allowed myself to sleep at night by adopting the Schindler strategy,” he said.

“I could have done a Trudi Craggs or Rebecca Andrew – stood up, made my point and been moved – because that was inconvenient, not wanted – don’t want to hear that, out you go.

“I didn’t wish to be excluded. I thought I could do a lot more good by staying there and mitigating the effects as best I could …”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Florence Snead"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621914.1511473520!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621914.1511473520!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Lothian Buses boss Neil Renilson was told he was no longer fit to give evidence at the inquiry.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Lothian Buses boss Neil Renilson was told he was no longer fit to give evidence at the inquiry.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621914.1511473520!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/jim-duffy-a-thought-shower-on-the-history-of-bulls-bingo-1-4621851","id":"1.4621851","articleHeadline": "Jim Duffy: A ‘thought shower’ on the history of bulls*** bingo","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511503200000 ,"articleLead": "

The Chancellor’s joke about Michael Gove’s ‘long, economicky words’ strikes a chord with Jim Duffy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621849.1511466581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond joked about using 'long, economicky words' in his Budget speech (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)"} ,"articleBody": "

I’m a big fan of innovation and, as we know, innovation is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration. But, when I hear people innovating on new words, terms and phrases simply to appear smart or be in with the in-crowd, then I lose the will to live.

So does our Chancellor, Philip Hammond, it would appear. As he delivered his Autumn Budget, he also delivered a jibe at Cabinet colleague Michael Gove’s expense when he warned he would be using some “long, economicky” words. This was an apparent reference to the Environment Secretary’s tendency to use them in a way that has led to speculation he’s after the Chancellor’s job. Now it was time for Mr Hammond to “out” Mr Gove and have some fun at the dispatch box.

The world of business knows the perils of tortuous jargon all too well and this led an “innovative” form of resistance that our politicians might be well advised to study. Get ready to play “bulls*** bingo”.

So what is it and where does it all come from? And why is there such a need for some among us to create a bingo list of “bulls***” words?

This all stems from management consulting techniques that sprung up in the USA (where else?) from the 1980s onwards.

As big companies emerged from the Second World War, they wanted their staff, cultures and, ultimately, profits all to be so much better. Employees needed to be made to feel part of the firm with more accountability and responsibility for getting things right first time.

READ MORE: Leader comment: Biggest risk to UK economy hardly mentioned in Budget

New words entered the lexicon of business such as “alignment”, “intentionality” and the bold “end-state vision”. And so a whole new era of words began to emerge, created by consultants and money-hungry universities that would peddle these out to senior and middle managers.

Unfortunately, senior and middle managers scooped up these new terms, internalised them and made damn sure they regurgitated them when speaking to their staff, at conferences and during their appraisals.

The vocabulary was putatively designed to awaken employees from their bureaucratic and dull gaze and open their eyes and minds to a new higher stream of consciousness.

A whole new raft of words began to emerge as wordsmiths and consultants smashed them together, creating new terms that now sit in the bulls*** bingo scorecards. By this, I mean it literally got to the stage that employees would score each other on how many bingo words were used during a meeting or conference speech simply to amuse themselves and have some office banter afterwards.

Many of you will recognise these words as some are still in existence and are still used with much aplomb by the consultanty brigade. Words like “ideation”, “imagineering” and “creaction” all come into being. I’m guilty of using these myself to be honest.

As this business culture’s new lingo spread, public sector organisations joined in the fun as many of them paid huge sums to consultants to come in and re-invent how they operated. Out went the tea and sannies and in came the Americanos and croissants. It was here that I think the real damage was done, although it did lead to the creation of some of the best bingo words, many of which survive today.

My personal favourites include “braindump”, “drop the ball”, “tailwind”, “thought showers”, “date lake” and “iterative thinking”.

I recall working for a short time in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the east end of Glasgow. There was a new detective chief inspector in town and he wanted to make his mark. The first thing he did was institute a register, rather like a class register, where big hairy detectives would have to report for duty to his room and duly sign in.

The register was placed on his desk, so the detectives would have to lean over to sign it. Thus, the detective chief inspector would be able to smell their breath and ascertain if they had been drinking. You can imagine how that went down with Glasgow East End detectives in the 1990s.

He mustered them all together, like new recruits, and started to pontificate about the new policy using bulls*** bingo words. Having established that they were all sober, he then floated a new idea on how to handle murder evidence. As he finished, he stated “Good, then let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it!” This saying is now a classic. I watched as 20 hardened detectives sucked their cheeks in and went red in the face as they tried not to burst out laughing.

So, let’s “revisit” why Mr Gove is purportedly using “economicky” words at the Palace of Westminster. Is he showing that understands his own “core competencies” when it comes to numbers?

Or is he adopting a more “open source” approach to communication with his colleagues? After all, he does not want to end up “firefighting” if he gets it all wrong.

Maybe he is “empowering” his team as he strives for closer “orientation”. Perhaps, he could even create a “dashboard” of “stakeholders” as he develops his new bingo card and the “bandwidth” of his department. And so it could go on as we paint the “big picture”.

I just hope that maybe now we should get over our use of bingo words and start to talk normally to each other. And perhaps Mr Hammond shouting “house!” on Mr Gove, could be a good start for us all. Managers take note.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Duffy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621849.1511466581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621849.1511466581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond joked about using 'long, economicky words' in his Budget speech (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond joked about using 'long, economicky words' in his Budget speech (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621849.1511466581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-wilson-ill-wind-blows-for-scotland-s-2nd-industrial-revolution-1-4621767","id":"1.4621767","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: Ill wind blows for Scotland’s 2nd Industrial Revolution","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511503200000 ,"articleLead": "

For a few days, the ­problems of BiFab ­commanded public attention. It was almost back to the old days, with workers threatening to blockade the yards. The First Minister rushed home to take ­command. A few heads were knocked together to underwrite the work and laps of honour ensued.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621766.1511459038!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Workers at BiFab have not seen the benefits of proper investment, says Brian Wilson"} ,"articleBody": "

End of story? Well, it certainly should not be. What happened with BiFab is only the symptom of a far more serious problem which remains entirely unresolved. It might be called “Whatever happened to Scotland’s Second Industrial Revolution?”. In other words, how on earth have we ended up getting so little economic benefit out of renewable energy?

The sad sub-text to the BiFab story is as follows. Scotland, at present, has only one large offshore wind project under construction, though the Beatrice windfarm has a value of £2.6 billion. It has been in gestation for almost 20 years. Yet the only substantial part of that work being carried out in Scotland is a £100 million sub-contract, and we can’t even that get that right.

That is no reflection on the workforce who, quite rightly, fought tenaciously to carry on working. Unfortunately, the great majority of them are working in conditions that are far from custom-built. BiFab in Fife has been primarily an oil and gas business since 1990.

The 2015 downturn created additional pressure to put part of the Beatrice work into Fife. But investment was required to make them competitive. Eighty-six steel “jackets” were ordered for Beatrice – 30 from Bladt of Denmark, 30 from Smulders of Belgium (with completion at Wallsend) and 26 from BiFab.

READ MORE: BiFab nearly went into administration three times in a week

It would be fair to say their European counterparts are working in somewhat more advantageous conditions than the workforce at BiFab while their employers were running into none of the same cash flow problems.

There seemed to be some media awakening last week to the fact it was not meant to be like this. The bold promises of that “second industrial revolution” were dusted down. I heard the BBC’s Gordon Brewer on television asking Keith Brown, the industry minister, why Scotland has been so unsuccessful in attracting investment in renewables infrastructure with the vast majority of hardware imported.

I did not get the impression that Mr Brown understood the basis of the question, far less knew the answer. When in doubt, however, there is no doubt about the first place of refuge – blame Westminster, which Mr Brown duly did for failing to give certainty to the renewables industry. The problem with this is that it is completely untrue.

No project has had greater support from the UK Government right back to the time I was Energy Minister than Beatrice. There has been planning consent since 2009 and the guarantee of subsidy since 2014. What’s more, the lead player in its ownership is SSE. So why has there never been a plan to ensure a high proportion of the work stayed in Scotland, supported by state-of-the-art facilities?

The same question should have been asked long ago about onshore wind. While we were listening to endless political rhetoric about the “Saudi Arabia renewables” and world-beating targets, nobody seemed to care about the fact that thousands of turbines which appeared on our hillsides were being built in Spain, Denmark and Germany while every promise of investment in Scotland came to nothing. (Dundee no more, Leith no more, etc).

As I have written here before, the two main beneficiaries of privatization in Scotland, Spanish-owned Scottish Power and SSE, have a lot to answer for. Between them, they had more than enough fire-power to create and sustain a manufacturing centre of excellence in Scotland based on planning consents from the Scottish Government and the vast subsidies from UK consumers (with profits to match) which these generated.

I believe that political leverage could have been used to positive effect. Instead, we seemed to have a sweetheart deal between Scottish Power in particular and the Scottish Government, which involved lots of mutual congratulation but few tangible benefits – and certainly not a trace of that “second industrial revolution”.

READ MORE: Agreement reached to save BiFab after talks

As far as onshore wind is concerned, the stable door has slammed shut. Offshore wind, however, still has a future ahead and I hope the problems at BiFab have finally alerted Holyrood to the fact that this should be an ongoing political issue of the highest order. If there is anyone who still cares about Scottish manufacturing industry and the thousands of well-paid jobs it could support, this is the time to make that case.

There are another couple of large offshore windfarms in the offing, in the Moray Firth and off the Fife coast. It has taken the latter more than six years to finally obtain the go-ahead due to the planning processes for major projects still used by the Scottish Government. In the same time, Whitehall – which streamlined the process a decade ago – has approved 45 offshore windfarms.

This is not about whether one approves or disapproves of windfarms. That is for the planning process to determine in each case. But where they are going to happen, and particularly if it is in Scottish waters, then surely it makes sense for Scottish workers and the Scottish economy to get far more benefit. That will not happen until empty rhetoric gives way to sustained policy and actions.

There needs to be an urgent census of relevant capacity and what is needed to make it competitive with yards on the continent and also south of the border. By quietly going about its business, the east coast of England has been far more successful in creating the kind of facilities that have repeatedly eluded Scotland’s own efforts, whatever these may have been. Is it too late for this to change? If so, is there a case for public investment to fill the gap?

I’m sure efforts are now going on to ensure that BiFab, by one means or another, is not back in crisis next April when the current contract is due to be completed. However, this is not just about BiFab. It is about the whole Scottish manufacturing base and another huge opportunity which is in imminent danger of floating off into history.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621766.1511459038!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621766.1511459038!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Workers at BiFab have not seen the benefits of proper investment, says Brian Wilson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Workers at BiFab have not seen the benefits of proper investment, says Brian Wilson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621766.1511459038!/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/new-look-for-campbeltown-s-old-picture-house-unveiled-1-4621821","id":"1.4621821","articleHeadline": "New look for Campbeltown's old Picture House unveiled","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511465212650 ,"articleLead": "A new look for Scotland’s longest surviving purpose-built cinema has been revealed following a £3.5 million makeove","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621816.1511464562!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new-look Campbeltown Picture House is due to reopen within the next few weeks."} ,"articleBody": "

The Campbeltown Picture House, which dates back to 1913, has had its main auditorium and “art nouveau” exterior restored.

One of Scotland’s first purpose-built cinemas, it was closed down in 2014 while fundraising was still underway for a long-awaited overhaul. It is expected to reopen before the end of the year.

Work on a project to restore the main auditorium, create a second new screen and cafe-bar, and restore its historic facade finally began last year after backing was secured from Historic Environment Scotland, Creative Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Jane Mayo, Chairman of Campbeltown Community Business, which has led the restoration project, said: "We are incredibly proud to have such an historically significant building here in Campbeltown and delighted to have been able to restore it to its original glory.

"Campbeltown Picture House is unusual in that the original architect was also responsible for the later upgrade of the cinema creating a unique combination of art nouveau exterior and atmospheric interior.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621816.1511464562!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621816.1511464562!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new-look Campbeltown Picture House is due to reopen within the next few weeks.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new-look Campbeltown Picture House is due to reopen within the next few weeks.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621816.1511464562!/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/uk-no-longer-in-the-world-s-top-five-economies-says-chancellor-1-4621755","id":"1.4621755","articleHeadline": "UK no longer in the world’s top five economies, says Chancellor","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511458650000 ,"articleLead": "

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has admitted that the UK is no longer in the top five of a list of the world’s largest economies.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621753.1511458661!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond says the UK has dropped out of the world's top five economies. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Budget 2017: What does the budget mean for Scotland?

Philip Hammond admitted the fall during Wednesday’s budget, where he announced Scotland would receive an “extra” £2bn in funding.

He said: “Britain is the world’s sixth largest economy.”

France replaced the UK in fifth sport, meaning the UK are now also behind the US, China, Japan and Germany.

Measuring the economy is not set in stone, with a number of possible factors considered, such as gross domestic product.

For 2016, data from the World Bank had the UK well above France with a GDP of $2.618 trillion.

Yet, forecasts from IMF for 2017 had France above the UK, which fits in to the Treasury’s official forecasting. It delivered the work forecast for economic expansion for the country in its history.

The economy is expected to grow by 1.5 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively over the next two years. A significant fall from the previous estimate of 2 per cent and 1.6 per cent.

The Office for Budget Responsibility, which gave these estimations, had said earlier in the year that the UK’s economy would grow 7.5 per cent in the next five years. It has now amended its forecast to 5.7 per cent over the same time frame.

• READ MORE: Budget 2017: Call for income tax rise in Scotland to be ditched

Mr Hammond was in bullish mood however, expressing positivity.

“London is the number one international financial services centre,” he said. “We have some of the world’s best companies. And a commanding position in a raft of tech and digital industries that will form the backbone of the global economy of the future.

“Those who underestimate Britain, do so at their peril.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Angus Howarth"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621753.1511458661!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621753.1511458661!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond says the UK has dropped out of the world's top five economies. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond says the UK has dropped out of the world's top five economies. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621753.1511458661!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/future-scotland/tech/web-archive-to-preserve-official-scottish-sites-for-future-reference-1-4621703","id":"1.4621703","articleHeadline": "Web archive to preserve official Scottish sites for future reference","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511456396000 ,"articleLead": "

A new web archive from National Records of Scotland will preserve key official websites to make them available for future generations.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621702.1511456407!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Websites of the past will be preserved for future reference. Picture: Rob McDougall"} ,"articleBody": "

The aim of the project is to preserve information which could otherwise be lost, making it accessible for members of the public now and historians in the future.

The new Web Continuity Service from National Records of Scotland (NRS) will archive and make available snapshots of the websites of organisations who already deposit records with NRS, including the Scottish Government, courts, public inquiries, public authorities and some private organisations.

The free service will allow users to see fewer broken links on the live websites which have been archived. This will help to maintain long-term access to important online information.

Tim Ellis, chief executive at NRS, said: “In an era of fake news where the authenticity of information is scrutinised and challenged, the Web Continuity Service will allow users to access accurate historical information, and make it clear when they are reading archived content.

“This new service allows us to preserve information for the future and keep it available now to the people who need it, supporting open and transparent government.”

Gordon Hobbs, information manager at the Scottish Parliament, said: “The web archive is helping us to think differently about our online presence, and how our users can access the information they need, be this current or historic.”

The service is operated by National Records of Scotland working with a commercial supplier, Internet Memory Research with a strong track record in this area. It will capture information in the public domain, regularly “crawling” websites after agreement with their owners to ensure the correct handling of any sensitive information, and intellectual property rights.

The first Internet Archive was established in San Fransisco in 1996 - the same year The Scotsman launched its first website, making it among the first newspapers to appear online.

As of October 2016, the Internet Archive collection topped 15 petabytes. Its web archive, the Wayback Machine, contains over 308 billion web captures.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621702.1511456407!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621702.1511456407!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Websites of the past will be preserved for future reference. Picture: Rob McDougall","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Websites of the past will be preserved for future reference. Picture: Rob McDougall","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621702.1511456407!/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/controversial-housing-plan-for-govan-graving-docks-moves-forward-1-4621604","id":"1.4621604","articleHeadline": "Controversial housing plan for Govan Graving Docks moves forward","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511452670000 ,"articleLead": "

More than 700 homes could be built on a Grade A-listed dock complex described by heritage experts as “unique in Scotland” if councillors approve a controversial plan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621609.1511452515!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Govan Graving Docks, built in stages from 1869, was used for ship repairs when Glasgow was one of the worlds busiest ports. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Developers New City Vision this week applied for planning permission in principle to transform Govan Graving Docks, a huge site built to service ships when Glasgow was one of the world’s major ports.

Campaigners fear the development would radically alter one of the Clyde’s few remaining reminders of its shipping heritage, but owners say it would allow the public to return to a site that has lain derelict for more than 25 years.

An online poll has called for the docks - a short distance downstream from the city’s Riverside Museum - to be preserved as a maritime heritage park, but developers have promised to retain public access to the site if their plans win approval.

READ MORE: Campaign to preserve Glasgow’s maritime history heats up

Harry O’Donnell, chairman of New City Vision, said: “The rejuvenation of the proposed public space will embrace the proud shipbuilding history of the Graving Docks. The new spaces will extend the Clyde walkway for walkers and cyclists and open up the riverside in Govan after being inaccessible to the public and the local community for more than four decades.

“The plans also feature a heritage centre that will tell the story of the iconic docks, which was a key part of Clydeside shipbuilding from the 1860s right up until the late 1980s.”

A series of apartment blocks - ranging from five to 14 floors in height - would be built on the docks. They would stand on six individual podiums to mitigate the threat posed by flooding.

Peter Richardson, director of ZM Architecture, which drew up the plans, said: “It’s a real privilege to work on the development of one of the most historic and iconic sites on the River Clyde. The Graving Docks were once a thriving part of the Clydeside and our proposal builds on that heritage and will totally transform this into a great place to live, work and relax.”

The huge site, comprising three dry docks and associated piers, is lined with massive whinstone setts, topped by handcarved granite blocks.

It was ordered by the Clyde Navigation Trust to satisfy the then huge demand for ship repair services.

The term graving refers to the now obsolete process of coating the bottom of boats with pitch. At its peak, more than 500 men were employed to prepare ships for another gruelling season of crossing the oceans.

The Buildings at Risk Register describes it as an “outstanding complex, unique in Scotland,” but its future remains uncertain.

Although the Clyde remains a working river - with BAE operating two yards at nearby Fairfield and Scotstoun - there is concern that too much of the waterway’s heritage has already been lost.

A campaign group, the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative, was established in 2016. Its members believe the Govan site should be preserved as a maritime heritage park.

“It’s Glasgow’s last remaining historic dock complex, so to cover it with bland waterfront flats you see elsewhere would be unfortunate,” trust founder Iain McGillivray told The Scotsman.

He continued: “A prominent site that sticks out like a sore thumb on the city’s waterfront, the graving docks represents the perfect opportunity for Glasgow City Council to send out a clear message that it is committed to protecting the city’s heritage and demonstrate that it is prepared to make an example of owners and developers who do not comply with regulations on care of listed buildings.”

The plans will now go before Glasgow City Council.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621609.1511452515!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621609.1511452515!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Govan Graving Docks, built in stages from 1869, was used for ship repairs when Glasgow was one of the worlds busiest ports. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Govan Graving Docks, built in stages from 1869, was used for ship repairs when Glasgow was one of the worlds busiest ports. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621609.1511452515!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621603.1511452281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621603.1511452281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Image: New City Vision","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Image: New City Vision","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621603.1511452281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}