{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"business","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/wednesday-market-close-market-nerves-worsened-by-terror-attacks-1-4292657","id":"1.4292657","articleHeadline": "Wednesday market close: Market nerves worsened by terror attacks","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490205974000 ,"articleLead": "

The market sank deeper into the red as investor enthusiasm for Donald Trump’s promised banking and tax reforms started to wane and the London attacks shook confidence.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4378589.1488309664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The London Stock Exchange headquarters. Picture: Sang Tan/AP"} ,"articleBody": "

The FTSE 100 index closed down 53.62 points to 7,324.72 with major fallers including B&Q owner KIngfisher which took a tumble after warning trading could be hit by political uncertainty triggered by Brexit and the French presidential elections.

Shares in Kingfisher were down more than 5 per cent, or 17.6p, to 328p despite hailing an “important year” as it revealed a 14.7 per cent hike in annual profits thanks to an overhaul of its DIY chain and surging sales at Screwfix.

US markets struggled to recover after Tuesday’s sell-off on Wall Street, which had seen the S&P 500 post its biggest one-day loss since October.

Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said it was “overly simplistic to lay the blame for the market decline at Donald Trump’s door”.

“The first US rate hike this year, a slump in oil prices, the future of quantitative easing under higher inflation and end-of-quarter portfolio manoeuvring have played a part in markets changing course,” he said.

Airline shares were trading lower amid plans in the UK to introduce security measures banning laptops and other large electronic devices from being carried in cabin luggage.

Low-cost carrier easyJet was off 24p at 985p while British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) dropped 15.5p to 545p.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4378589.1488309664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4378589.1488309664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The London Stock Exchange headquarters. Picture: Sang Tan/AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The London Stock Exchange headquarters. Picture: Sang Tan/AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4378589.1488309664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/future-scotland/tech/digital-strategy-could-lead-to-tech-jobs-boost-in-scotland-1-4400378","id":"1.4400378","articleHeadline": "Digital strategy could lead to tech jobs boost in Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490204650000 ,"articleLead": "

The digital technology workforce in Scotland could rise to 150,000 by 2021 as ministers place the sector at the centre of the country’s economic future.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400940.1490204643!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Skyscanner is a Scottish digital tech success story. The number of jobs in the wider sector could rise to 150,000 by 2021. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Finance Minister Derek Mackay pledged to ensure the whole of the country had superfast broadband within the next five years as he unveiled the Scottish Government’s new digital strategy yesterday.

Digital will be “at the heart of everything” Holyrood does, from reforming public services to delivering economic growth.

But official figures released as part of the report suggest bridging the connectivity gap between urban and rural areas remains a challenge, with the difference in internet speeds steadily widening.

Mackay visited Glasgow yesterday to confirm plans that every premises north of the border would be able to access broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps within four years.

There has been a steady increase in the percentage of premises where next generation broadband access is available, from 41 per cent in 2011 to 88 per cent in 2016.

4G coverage has steadily increased, with 92 per cent of premises having outdoor 4G mobile coverage from at least one national mobile network operator and 58 per cent having outdoor coverage from all four 4G networks.

But rural communities remain worse off. While average broadband speeds have increased in both urban and rural areas over time, but the gap between the areas has widened and stands at 24 Mbits/s in 2016.

The percentage of Scots using the internet for personal use has increased over time, from 63 per cent in 2007 to 82 per cent in 2015 - but use is strongly linked to age and income.

But less than a third of people aged 75 and older used the internet in 2015, compared to 97 per cent of 16-24 year-olds.

The gap in internet usage between the lowest and highest income brackets has decreased from 58 per cent in 2007 to 21 per cent in 2015.

“Digital is transforming the way we live. It is connecting us faster than ever before while putting more power into the hands of service users. There is a huge opportunity here and now to ensure that people, businesses and organisations across Scotland, are given the tools and skills they need to harness this potential.

“Our vision is for Scotland to become even more digitally competitive and attractive. By developing our existing workforce and increasing our digital capabilities across society and the business community, we will ensure that our citizens have the opportunity to improve their digital skills with everyone who wants to get connected able to do so, and public services designed by and for citizens that are secure. This will in turn will have a positive impact on growing our economy.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) urged the Government to back up the new strategy with quick action.

Andy Willox, FSB’s Scottish policy convener, said: “A Government strategy document rarely excites small firms. But little is more important to Scotland’s business community than enhancing our country’s digital capabilities. This wide-ranging publication must be matched with political and entrepreneurial drive to swiftly deliver change.

“Scottish Government figures show 75 per cent of Scottish businesses believe digital technology is essential or important to their plans for growth. To achieve these ambitions, firms need access to the right skills and modern digital infrastructure - specifically broadband and mobile coverage. Progress on these fronts cannot come quickly enough.”

The minister was speaking at The Tontine, a landmark Victorian building at Glasgow Cross that was converted last year into a acceleration and growth space for tech start-ups.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400940.1490204643!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400940.1490204643!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Skyscanner is a Scottish digital tech success story. The number of jobs in the wider sector could rise to 150,000 by 2021. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Skyscanner is a Scottish digital tech success story. The number of jobs in the wider sector could rise to 150,000 by 2021. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400940.1490204643!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400377.1490204647!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400377.1490204647!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mackay was speaking at The Tontine building in Glasgow, now a growth space for tech start-ups. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mackay was speaking at The Tontine building in Glasgow, now a growth space for tech start-ups. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400377.1490204647!/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/lifestyle/culture/film/t2-trainspotting-sets-and-props-up-for-charity-auction-1-4400871","id":"1.4400871","articleHeadline": "T2 Trainspotting sets and props up for charity auction","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490201469000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s a unique opportunity to own a part of one of the biggest films ever produced in Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400868.1490201461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Davie Bain, director of Calton Athletic, in Renton's bedroom. More than 300 items from T2 Trainspotting will go under the hammer to raise money for two charities, including Calton. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

More than 300 props from T2 Trainspotting will be auctioned off on Saturday to raise money for two charities with close links to the blockbuster production.

Items going under the hammer range from the iconic railway engine wallpaper in Renton’s bedroom to the interior of Sick Boy’s pub, the Port Sunshine.

There’s also a variety of Hibernian memorabilia belonging to the characters, including a picture of George Best during his spell at Easter Road, and a souvenir poster issued by the Evening News to commemorate the club’s 1972 League Cup triumph.

Everything in the auction was featured in the long-awaited sequel to Trainspotting. The film, directed by Danny Boyle, was released in January to critical acclaim and reunited the stars of the original film such as Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner and Robert Carlyle.

Proceeds from the event at Mulberry Bank Auctions in Glasgow will be split between The Junction, a Leith-based charity which works with vulnerable young people, and Calton Athletic, a Glasgow-based organisation which supports the recovery of drug addicts.

None of the items have a reserve price - meaning lucky fans could snap up a piece of cinematic history for just a few pounds.

“We’ve had interest from around the world,” said Kirsty Harris, director of Mulberry Bank Auctions, based at Hillington industrial estate in the south-west of the city. “All the items can be viewed and bid for online.

“To my knowledge, there has never been an auction like this in Scotland before. It’s very exciting.

“You might get the odd item from a film that comes up at auction - but not a full range like this, including complete sets.”

Irvine Welsh, the author whose works inspired the film, said: “The Trainspotting films have embedded themselves as integral to modern Scottish culture and UK cinematic history.

“This memorabilia sale gives people the chance to literally own part of those iconic movies, while helping out great charities that provide assistance and empowerment to the young, vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

“Get a piece of this action.”

Welsh is patron of The Junction, the Leith-based organisation which will benefit from the sale.

Founder Sam Anderson said it was a huge gesture of support.

“Irvine is very supportive of us and Leith in general,” she said. “We work with a lot of young people who are the children of the Trainspotting generation.”

Davie Main, director of Calton Athletic, was an extra in both Trainspotting films. His charity helps individuals to overcome their drug addictions via mentoring and outdoor activities.

“The makers of Trainspotting have kept in touch with us over the last 20 years,” he said. “Their support has helped save hundreds of lives.

“We heard shortly after the T2 premiere there would be an auction of the props, and we were asked if we would like to share the proceeds with The Junction.

“It’s an invaluable gift for us. We don’t have self-generated funds, we don’t get government funding. We rely on support from businesses and incredible gestures like this.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400868.1490201461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400868.1490201461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Davie Bain, director of Calton Athletic, in Renton's bedroom. More than 300 items from T2 Trainspotting will go under the hammer to raise money for two charities, including Calton. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Davie Bain, director of Calton Athletic, in Renton's bedroom. More than 300 items from T2 Trainspotting will go under the hammer to raise money for two charities, including Calton. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400868.1490201461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400869.1490201463!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400869.1490201463!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The horseshoe bar from Sick Boy's pub, the Port Sunshine, is among the larger items up for auction. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The horseshoe bar from Sick Boy's pub, the Port Sunshine, is among the larger items up for auction. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400869.1490201463!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400870.1490201466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400870.1490201466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Several Hibs match tickets are among the smaller items up for sale. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Several Hibs match tickets are among the smaller items up for sale. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400870.1490201466!/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/telecoms-firm-fined-after-continuing-to-bill-former-customers-1-4400548","id":"1.4400548","articleHeadline": "Telecoms firm fined after continuing to bill former customers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490188810515 ,"articleLead": "

Telecoms firm Plusnet has been fined £800,000 by the industry watchdog after it continued to bill more than 1,000 former customers for services they no longer used.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400547.1490188948!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Broadband customers who had cancelled their contracts were still being billed by Plusnet."} ,"articleBody": "

An investigation by Ofcom found that the broadband provider, which is owned by BT, broke a fundamental billing rule by continuing to charge a group of customers for landline or broadband after they had cancelled their service.

The company pocketed more than £500,000 before the breach came to light, Ofcom said. It added that Plusnet has now made “repeated attempts” to refund all affected ex-customers by letter and by phone.

It has since refunded 356 customers a total of £212,140, which included interest at a rate of four per cent for each customer.

Lindsey Fussell, consumer group director for Ofcom, said: “There can be no margin for error, and no excuses, when it comes to billing customers correctly.

“This fine should serve as a reminder to telecoms companies that they must adhere to Ofcom’s billing rules at all times, or face the consequences.”

Once a customer cancels his or her home phone or broadband service, providers’ billing systems must recognise that the line is ‘ceased’. An error in Plusnet’s system meant that cancelled lines were still recognised as “live”, Ofcom said.

As a result, 1,025 customers who had cancelled either their landline or broadband service continued to be billed, meaning they were overcharged by more than £500,000 in total.

Consumer groups welcomed the fine, saying that it sends a clear message to telecoms firms.

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, said: “Ofcom’s decision to hand an £880,000 fine to Plusnet is yet another reminder to providers that the regulator will not tolerate billing mistakes. Customers need to have confidence that providers are getting it right.

“For those that have ended their contract they need to be reassured that no further money will be taken for a service they have ceased to used.

Plusnet has donated the remaining funds to a dozen local charities, in lieu of payments owed to customers whom it could not contact. The firm has also made clear to Ofcom the steps it has taken to prevent any future billing errors of this kind.

The fine - which incorporates a 20 per cent reduction to reflect Plusnet’s willingness to enter into a formal settlement, saving public money and resources - will be passed on to the Treasury.

Plusnet apologised to customers and said it was an “isolated historic issue”.

A spokeswoman for the internet service provider said: \"We are very sorry and would like to apologise to the 1,025 customers affected. We reported this ourselves to Ofcom and made every effort to contact these customers to arrange a full refund before the investigation started.

" ,"byline": {"email": "jane.bradley@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400547.1490188948!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400547.1490188948!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Broadband customers who had cancelled their contracts were still being billed by Plusnet.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Broadband customers who had cancelled their contracts were still being billed by Plusnet.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400547.1490188948!/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/property-firm-bidwells-hails-substantial-growth-1-4400538","id":"1.4400538","articleHeadline": "Property firm Bidwells hails ‘substantial’ growth","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490188250000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish arm of property consultant Bidwells has racked up a 12 per cent increase in annual fee income.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400537.1490189121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bidwells forestry specialists Kate Sheppard and Ian Stewart. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The firm, which has offices in Aberdeen, Fort William, Inverness and Perth, said it enjoyed “substantial” growth across client accounting, estate management, forestry and planning during 2016, despite many markets “being in a post-Brexit state of flux and contending with the uncertainties surrounding Scottish land reform”.

• READ MORE: Women are branching out in forestry industry

Scotland managing partner Finlay Clark said: “Alongside our specialist services of planning and client accounting, our teams have worked hard to bring us into 2017 in a very healthy position.”

Bidwells, which wad founded in 1839 and employs 500 people across the UK, recently appointed Ian Stewart as its forestry consultant in Fort William, taking over from Kate Sheppard, who moves to Perth to strengthen the existing forestry team in the city.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Clark added: “These are busy and exciting times for the timber industry with increasing amounts of activity and government commitment to encouraging and expanding this important part of the rural economy.”

Meanwhile, Perth-based rural specialists Ralph Peters and Darren Hirst have been promoted to group partner and divisional partner respectively, with principal planner Corinne MacDougall promoted to associate.

In addition, banking and agri-business veteran Alan Chalmers has joined as head of client accounting services north of the Border, and Bidwells said it was in the process of recruiting an additional member of staff for its renewables team.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400537.1490189121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400537.1490189121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bidwells forestry specialists Kate Sheppard and Ian Stewart. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bidwells forestry specialists Kate Sheppard and Ian Stewart. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400537.1490189121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/media-leisure/travelodge-to-create-325-jobs-with-15-hotel-openings-1-4400466","id":"1.4400466","articleHeadline": "Travelodge to create 325 jobs with 15 hotel openings","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490186547000 ,"articleLead": "

Hotel chain Travelodge is to open 15 hotels this year, including in Inverness, Peterhead and Stirling, creating 325 jobs in the process.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400465.1490186543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Travelodge is creating jobs in Inverness, Peterhead and Stirling. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The openings, being developed by third-party investors and with an approximate equivalent investment value of £125 million, will take the group’s portfolio to more than 570.

• READ MORE: Travelodge to invest £100m on Scottish expansion

Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers said the firm’s growth was being fuelled by cost-conscious businesses and a “new generation of independent leisure travellers”, but added that the UK continues to lag behind the likes of the US when it comes to “good quality, low cost hotels”.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

He added: “With room to grow, we have identified 250 further locations where we believe we can take Travelodge over the years ahead.”

The group also announced that work has started on its largest-ever new-build hotel, a 395-room property in the City of London, expected to open next year in 2018.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400465.1490186543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400465.1490186543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Travelodge is creating jobs in Inverness, Peterhead and Stirling. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Travelodge is creating jobs in Inverness, Peterhead and Stirling. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400465.1490186543!/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/first-building-confirmed-for-magenta-business-park-1-4400433","id":"1.4400433","articleHeadline": "First building confirmed for Magenta business park","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490185130000 ,"articleLead": "

Work is set to get kick off at Magenta, Glasgow’s new satellite business district, after project costs for the development’s first building were approved by the board of Clyde Gateway.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400432.1490185128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Red Tree incubator is due for completion by summer 2018. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The £9.25 million Red Tree Shawfield business incubator, aimed at SMEs in sectors such as communications, IT, engineering and media, will offer 3,780 square metres of office space.

• READ MORE: Glasgow office park set to create thousands of jobs

Designed by architects Archial Norr and with completion planned for summer 2018, it will be the third Red Tree site in the Clyde Gateway area, joining existing facilities at Bridgeton and Rutherglen.

The largest office development with planning consent in Scotland, Magenta will comprise 1.2 million square feet of office space set on the 27-acre former Shawfield industrial estate, next to the River Clyde.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Clyde Gateway chief executive Ian Manson said: “Our Red Tree brand has proven to be very successful with the two existing office blocks operating at full capacity.

“The many companies who have already made Clyde Gateway their home are seeing first-hand why this area is such a fantastic location to do business and an attractive proposition for investment.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400432.1490185128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400432.1490185128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Red Tree incubator is due for completion by summer 2018. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Red Tree incubator is due for completion by summer 2018. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400432.1490185128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/media-leisure/pr-outfit-pinggo-takes-diy-approach-to-start-ups-1-4400325","id":"1.4400325","articleHeadline": "PR outfit PingGo takes DIY approach to start-ups","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490182393000 ,"articleLead": "

Public relations veteran Sarah Lee has launched a “do-it-yourself” service aimed at start-ups and small firms operating on a tight budget.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400324.1490182390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hot Tin Roof founder Sarah Lee has launched 'do-it-yourself' PR service PingGo. Picture: Chris Watt"} ,"articleBody": "

The founder of Edinburgh PR agency Hot Tin Roof said she aims to “democratise” the process of writing and distributing press releases “so that lack of budget and experience are not barriers to a company getting media attention”.

Lee added: “Media coverage cannot be bought. It has to be earned. When a company is just starting out it is critical that it establish credibility, but traditional PR is out of reach to most start-ups.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Her online PingGo service is the result of a 12-month research and development project co-funded by InnovateUK, the UK government’s innovation agency, and following a “soft launch” last month it has signed up customers from more than 50 countries. It now plans to expand its team over the next 12 months.

Matt Brown of InnovateUK said: “It’s just the kind of early-stage project that we are looking to co-fund. PingGo made it through a rigorous selection process designed to identify the most interesting digital media businesses in Edinburgh.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400324.1490182390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400324.1490182390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hot Tin Roof founder Sarah Lee has launched 'do-it-yourself' PR service PingGo. Picture: Chris Watt","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hot Tin Roof founder Sarah Lee has launched 'do-it-yourself' PR service PingGo. Picture: Chris Watt","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400324.1490182390!/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/brewdog-eyes-asia-brewery-as-annual-sales-near-72m-1-4400118","id":"1.4400118","articleHeadline": "BrewDog eyes Asia brewery as annual sales near £72m","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490176601000 ,"articleLead": "

Craft beer producer BrewDog is looking at opening a brewery in Asia to capitalise on surging demand in the Far East.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400117.1490176805!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BrewDog co-founders James Watt, left, and Martin Dickie. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The Ellon-based brewer, co-founded by “captain” James Watt and “beer pirate” Martin Dickie, revealed its overseas expansion plans as latest accounts showed a 60.6 per cent surge in revenues to £71.9 million for 2016.

• READ MORE: BrewDog announces plans for a craft beer hotel in the US

Pre-tax profits at the firm, which said its sales almost doubled in the UK last year, grew 8.2 per cent to £3.8m.

BrewDog said: “China is on course to be one of our biggest export markets in 2017 and we also have significant distribution in Japan and South Korea.

“Given the proximity from our Ellon brewery, we feel we can only really take advantage of the Asian opportunity by having a brewery in Asia and we are now actively looking at locations and opportunities in the regions.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Plans for a move into the Far East come as BrewDog prepares to start production next month at its new facility in Columbus, Ohio, where the firm has invested $30m (£24m) in a “state-of-the-art” brewery.

“We have our distribution networks all set up, and have started to build a great team in Columbus too,” the company said.

“We see significant growth potential from our US brewery over the next five years.”

BrewDog, which has 47 bars around the world, employs about 650 people. Its annual meeting for shareholders will be held at the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre on 8 April.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400117.1490176805!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400117.1490176805!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "BrewDog co-founders James Watt, left, and Martin Dickie. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BrewDog co-founders James Watt, left, and Martin Dickie. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400117.1490176805!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/vets-hope-lamb-disease-will-be-limited-to-few-cases-1-4400096","id":"1.4400096","articleHeadline": "Vets hope lamb disease will be limited to few cases","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490173682000 ,"articleLead": "

Two cases of Schmallenberg have been diagnosed in lambs from Scottish flocks close to the border with England – but vets hope the disease, which can result in birth deformities, will be limited to a few cases in the south of the country.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400095.1490174254!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Schmallenberg causes birth deformities in lambs. Picture: Kimberley Powell"} ,"articleBody": "

Confirming the cases, SAC Consulting Veterinary Services said the diagnoses followed an increase in the numbers of affected lambs identified in England and Wales during the winter of 2016-17.

Head of the vet services, George Caldow, said that while it was difficult to say just how widespread the disease might be, indications were that the number of cases should be small.

• READ MORE: In search of best practice to tackle worms in sheep

He said the virus which caused the disease was spread by midges, and if infection occurred around the second month of pregnancy in sheep and between three and five months in cows it could cause damage to the central nervous system of the developing foetus, resulting in deformities in lambs and calves “which are not compatible with life”.

Caldow said that with no diagnosis of Schmallenberg virus in either early lambing flocks or year-round calving dairy herds in Scotland, it looked unlikely that the virus had been widespread in the midge population when it had been at its peak.

He said that as the midge population declined as winter approached, the lower numbers around when the main Scottish spring lambing flock was at its most vulnerable – December and January – should have limited the spread of any infection.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

“Therefore it may be that only small number of ewes will have been infected with few affected lambs being born – and these are more likely to be in flocks in the southernmost part of the country.”

He said that the limited information available so far suggested that the midge population in some parts of southern Scotland became infected in late autumn, probably due to the gradual spread north of infected midges.

But he warned that there could be a higher risk to cattle mated in the summer of 2017, especially at the edge of the northward progression of infected midges.

“As in the previous epidemic it may be that only very limited spread of infected midges will occur in Scotland. Experience of the disease elsewhere has shown it to have a patchy distribution with some areas having very little evidence of infection despite the disease being present in adjacent locales,” said Caldow.

He said that farmers seeking advice on possible incidents of Schmallenberg in their animals were advised to speak to their vet, adding that they would put them in touch with SAC Consulting Veterinary Services which offered a full range of tests at their disease surveillance centres.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "BRIAN HENDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400095.1490174254!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400095.1490174254!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Schmallenberg causes birth deformities in lambs. Picture: Kimberley Powell","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Schmallenberg causes birth deformities in lambs. Picture: Kimberley Powell","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400095.1490174254!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/call-for-support-as-cattle-numbers-hit-50-year-low-1-4400085","id":"1.4400085","articleHeadline": "Call for support as cattle numbers hit 50-year low","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490172961000 ,"articleLead": "

Official figures from the December agricultural census showing that cattle numbers in Scotland have fallen to a 50-year low underscore the current precarious economics of beef production, it has been claimed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400084.1490173005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "NFU Scotland said efficiencies alone can't make beef production profitable. Picture: David Cheskin/PA"} ,"articleBody": "

NFU Scotland livestock committee chairman Charlie Adam said that there simply wasn’t enough profit being generated in the sector.

• READ MORE: Scots producers ‘missing out on export rewards’

Calling the continued decline in numbers extremely worrying, he said: “Higher costs, tighter carcase specifications and a reduction on the maximum value a carcase can achieve will be having an effect. Also, changes to support systems to area-based payments will have seen large reductions for many of the cattle breeders and finishers.

“There isn’t enough profit, if any, in beef production without support. At current levels of support, it will take a lot more than efficiency improvements to change the fortunes of beef production – it needs market prices to rise substantially.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Union vice-president Martin Kennedy said that the slide in cattle numbers – by 1.4 per cent, to 1.71 million – was a huge concern for the entire red meat sector and highlighted the overwhelming requirement for continued targeted support for the sector.

He added that while the official survey had also shown that there had been an increase in sheep numbers – up by 1.7 per cent to 5.04 million – this was the result of a better lambing in comparison to 2015.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN HENDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400084.1490173005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400084.1490173005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "NFU Scotland said efficiencies alone can't make beef production profitable. Picture: David Cheskin/PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "NFU Scotland said efficiencies alone can't make beef production profitable. Picture: David Cheskin/PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400084.1490173005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/shoppers-are-hit-in-the-pocket-as-sterling-slumps-1-4400072","id":"1.4400072","articleHeadline": "Shoppers are hit in the pocket as sterling slumps","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490171560000 ,"articleLead": "

As official figures reveal that inflation has leapt above the Bank of England’s target, Scott Reid takes a look at how much further it can rise and the economic impact.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400071.1490172200!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shoppers are being squeezed by rising prices, which are set to climb higher. Picture: Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

Yesterday’s news that consumer inflation had leapt to its highest level since September 2013 last month will have come as little surprise to the average shopper.

The slump in sterling has made itself felt through price hikes in everyday food items such as bread and vegetables, as well as non-essentials and “big-ticket” products including computer software, electrical goods and motor cars.

• READ MORE: Cost of living fears mount as inflation hits 2.3%

High Street price wars may have helped keep a lid on those increases, but food is now becoming more expensive as ­producers begin to pass down soaring import costs triggered by the pound’s weakness since June’s Brexit vote.

The latest official data revealed that overall food prices nudged up 0.8 per cent between January and February, in contrast to a smaller rise of 0.1 per cent a year earlier, after shock weather conditions in southern Europe ravaged crops and left supermarkets and restaurants grappling with a vegetable shortage.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the price of iceberg lettuce leapt 67.2 per cent between January and February after falling 0.8 per cent a year earlier.

A jump in transport costs also drove inflation higher, with motor fuels rising 1.2 per cent month-on-month in February. As a result, the price of petrol lifted by 1.6p per litre at the pumps to an average of 120.2p for February, while diesel increased by 1.3p to 123.2p over the period.

The net result is that the consumer price index (CPI) measure of inflation hit 2.3 per cent last month, higher than most economists had been expecting, and up from 1.8 per cent in January. As we close in on the end of March, there is every likelihood that figure will have headed further north by now.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at forecasting consultancy IHS Global Insight, said the latest statistics make “uncomfortable news” for consumers, as well as the Bank of England, which has a long-term 2 per cent target on CPI.

He warned: “We expect consumer price inflation to trend markedly higher over the coming months as sterling weakness increasingly feeds through and overall higher oil and commodity prices impact.

“Additionally, several utility companies have announced electricity and/or gas price hikes in March/April. Specifically, inflation is seen rising to 3 per cent in late-2017 and peaking around 3.3 per cent early on in 2018.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

If there is a silver lining, then Archer believes that retailers, manufacturers and service providers will find the upside to their pricing power limited, given that the previous protracted squeeze on households’ purchasing power has made ­consumers “very price conscious”.

Inflationary pressures will stoke fears that interest rates could be on the rise. Kristen Forbes, one of the nine rate-setters on the monetary policy committee, broke ranks to vote for a quarter-point hike to 0.5 per cent last week amid fears that inflation is “rising quickly and was likely to remain above target for at least three years”.

The central bank, which will continue to use CPI as its measure for setting interest rates, predicted inflation to lift to 2 per cent in February, peak at 2.8 per cent in the first half of next year, and fall back to 2.4 per cent in three years – what some would now argue look like pretty optimistic forecasts.

Business leaders are concerned that inflation has become a key risk to UK growth prospects. The Centre for Economics and Business Research think-tank expects the inflationary squeeze on ­consumer spending power to lead to a slowdown in UK GDP growth from 1.8 per cent in 2016 to 1.6 per cent this year.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, believes that inflation will remain “persistently above” the Bank of England’s 2 per cent ­target over the near term, peaking at close to 3 per cent in the second half of 2018.

“The decline in the value of sterling, together with rising oil and other commodity prices, is likely to maintain the upward pressure on consumer prices in the coming months,” he noted.

“Rising inflation is a key risk to the UK’s growth prospects. Businesses continue to report that the rising cost of raw materials are squeezing margins, forcing many firms to raise their prices. Higher inflation is also likely to materially squeeze consumer spending in the coming months as price growth increasingly outpaces earnings growth.”

That spending power crunch is also highlighted by Calum Bennie, savings specialist at Scottish Friendly, who said: “If proof was needed that a squeeze is underway, this is it.

“With prices expected to rise further this year as a result of the fall in sterling, things will only get tougher for consumers whose wages are not rising sufficiently to keep pace. Shopping smarter or even cutting back spending are some of the ways we will cope while still trying to put money aside for the future.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "sreid@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400071.1490172200!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400071.1490172200!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shoppers are being squeezed by rising prices, which are set to climb higher. Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shoppers are being squeezed by rising prices, which are set to climb higher. Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400071.1490172200!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/indyref2-and-brexit-could-slow-recovery-report-warns-1-4400068","id":"1.4400068","articleHeadline": "Indyref2 and Brexit could slow recovery, report warns","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490170924000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s economy is forecast to continue to recover this year but uncertainty caused by Brexit and a second independence referendum will slow growth, a new report has found.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400067.1490170990!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The North Sea downturn is also weighing on Scotland's growth prospects. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Researchers at Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute predict the Scottish economy will continue to lag behind the UK, largely due to the downturn in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

• READ MORE: Brexit will have ‘profound consequences’ for Scots economy

In the three months to September 2016, the Scottish economy grew by 0.2 per cent, well behind the UK growth rate of 0.6 per cent, while for the year Scotland’s GDP increased by 0.7 per cent compared to a UK increase of 2.2 per cent.

The institute’s latest forecasts for Scottish economic growth are 1.2 per cent in 2017, 1.3 per cent in 2018 and 1.4 per cent in 2019, broadly unchanged from the previous forecast figures from December.

The report found that in the ten years since the start of the financial crisis, the Scottish economy has grown by an average of just 0.7 per cent each year – less than a third of its long-term trend, squeezing household income despite unemployment rates at near record lows of 4.7 per cent.

Institute director Graeme Roy called on both the Scottish and UK governments to “provide clarity and reassurance” over independence and Brexit respectively.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

He said: “Growth in the Scottish economy continues to lag behind the rest of the UK, driven in part but not entirely, by the ongoing challenges in the oil and gas sector.

“The immediate outlook for 2017 is marginally more positive than for 2016, with some important business surveys suggesting an increase in new orders and demand.

“That being said, in the current climate sentiment can change quickly and there remains a high degree of margin for error in all economic forecasts at the current time.

“Irrespective of your views over the long-term benefits of Brexit or independence, the increase in uncertainty caused by the triggering of Article 50 and the prospects of a second independence referendum will act as a headwind for many businesses.

“Just as it is the responsibility of the UK Government to provide clarity and reassurance wherever possible through the Brexit process, it is incumbent on the Scottish Government to do likewise around independence and to re-double their efforts to support the Scottish economy through these unprecedented times.”

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LAURA PATERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400067.1490170990!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400067.1490170990!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The North Sea downturn is also weighing on Scotland's growth prospects. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The North Sea downturn is also weighing on Scotland's growth prospects. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400067.1490170990!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/jim-duffy-do-you-want-to-be-a-zebra-or-a-unicorn-1-4400050","id":"1.4400050","articleHeadline": "Jim Duffy: Do you want to be a zebra or a unicorn?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490168848000 ,"articleLead": "

I recently met two “younger than me” entrepreneurs who are part of a group of millennials eager to start and grow businesses, but who do not want to be classed as “unicorns”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400049.1490169849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Better to gain your stripes than chase chimeras, argues Jim Duffy. Picture: Ian Howarth"} ,"articleBody": "

Nor do they aspire to be “uniconic” and, moreover, feel that by not having that aspiration, others look down on them as starting “second class” businesses.

So, I did a bit of digging, as “scale”, “scaling-up” and “scale-up” are hot topics now in Scotland since Sherry Coutu CBE published her Scaleup report on UK economic growth in November 2014. So why is Scotland and its economic development ecosystem now switching on to this?

• READ MORE: Jim Duffy: More ‘Waldorf Salad’ attitude in workplace

Well, for sure an entrepreneur, a business or a team that wants to grow rapidly should mean more jobs created, more taxes paid and, consequently, more prosperity. Creating unicorn-type companies – mostly tech – appears to be the order of the day as a few chase this fabled status.

But, we must be very careful that we do not set up a scale-up policy and doctrine that makes a few at the top even richer, while at the same time excluding a generation of business builders from the party as they do not get an entry ticket.

I am involved with hundreds of businesses across the UK, all keen to grow and do well. But, when I suggest to them that if they are not interested in being a unicorn, they therefore lack ambition and worth, it gets their hackles up.

People start businesses for a variety of reasons. They do not all start out to be multi-millionaires and stand on stage telling everyone their story. To many who start businesses, creating ten jobs over a two-year period and a company doing well is classed as “success”. And I know many examples right now of business builders who are in this very position.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

So here is the question: would it not be better for Scotland to create 50 companies across our land that each create and sustain 50 jobs and work with each other, as opposed to creating one unicorn that has 500 jobs and sits alone and will probably be sold to the Qatari Royal Family?

And this is where my research became interesting. In the US, the scale-up mantra is now fading as investors and, more importantly, company builders move away from wanting to create unicorns to creating zebras.

This new movement of entrepreneurs and the eco‑systems that support them are turning away from unicorn status seeking. For them a unicorn is all about private individuals, investment houses and shareholders doing well with ridiculous valuations. For them, unicorn means being part of a hegemonic class that want more money and power and status. Is that what we want in Scotland?

I’m not so sure. The zebra company has a different focus. For one, zebras are real and not imagined. Zebras stick together and protect each other in times of crises. They are profitable and good for society as they are created around sustainability, not a ten times valuation on exit. Zebras look for mutualism in eco‑systems and not monopoly.

They create and regenerate jobs, and, while entrepreneurial, are not built to sell, albeit this opportunity is available. Imagine if we had a culture where zebras were celebrated. One or two may go on and grow and employ more people. But, the purpose of the zebra is to create profit with purpose and social impact as well as make money for investors.

To all the companies out there – start-ups , early stage ventures and business builders – do you want to be a zebra or a unicorn? And what does the answer mean for the Scottish economy? If the answer is a resounding “yes, we want to be unicorns”, then I don’t have the answer to that. I don’t think Silicon Valley will ever be created again in a European country.

If the answer is “yes, we want to create a country of zebra companies”, we have a better long term chance at prosperity coupled with the talent and capacity to make it happen.

• Agitator and disruptor Jim Duffy is head of #GoDo at Entrepreneurial Spark

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400049.1490169849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400049.1490169849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Better to gain your stripes than chase chimeras, argues Jim Duffy. Picture: Ian Howarth","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Better to gain your stripes than chase chimeras, argues Jim Duffy. Picture: Ian Howarth","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400049.1490169849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/martin-flanagan-dundee-s-game-for-the-digital-challenge-1-4400044","id":"1.4400044","articleHeadline": "Martin Flanagan: Dundee’s game for the digital challenge","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490168232000 ,"articleLead": "

More evidence today that down-with-the-kids Dundee continues to leave its historical roots of jam, jute and journalism firmly in the rear-view mirror.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400043.1490168557!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee is home to video game companies including Minecraft developer 4J Studios. Picture: Phil Wilkinson"} ,"articleBody": "

A new report from Tech City UK into the state of the homegrown digital sector says digital economic output in the city jumped 171 per cent to £97 million between 2011 and 2015 – the highest turnover growth in the UK.

• READ MORE: Dundee’s digital sector growth outpaces rest of UK

Driving the positive message home, the Tech Nation 2017 report says 86 per cent of tech workers in Dundee, which is essentially the heart of the Scottish gaming industry, are optimistic for the future of the sector. And nine out of ten say the ­quality of life in the city is good, indicating the gains are not at the expense of work/life balance.

Glasgow and Edinburgh have considerably bigger digital economic output, at £591m and £513m respectively, but it is the pace of growth from the Tayside city that shows it is on an almost exponential march in IT.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Today’s report emphasises just how important the digital tech sector is to fuel growth in the wider UK economy. Like India, but to a lesser extent, it is an industry where we have a competitive and scientific edge.

Tech Nation 2017 says that more than 1.6 million people now work in the UK digital-tech sector. Given the high profile of technology in virtually every area of life over the past couple of decades, that figure is unsurprising. What will surprise many, however, are that tech salaries are now on average 44 per cent higher than salaries in non-digital jobs.

From gaming to cutting edge fintech, we are looking at an economic success story. It deserves its champions from Dundee to Bristol and Bath, and its nurturing by government.

Meanwhile, it warms the cockles of the handheld device to see Google get an advertising kicking for virulently ­extremist content on its YouTube video channel.

For too long, such search engines have got away with the management-speak bunkum that they are platforms, not ­publishers. It is the cop-out to end most cop-outs.

However, money talks and bull walks. As major corporates now evidently consider it a badge of pride to withdraw their advertising, Google now says it must sharpen its act. Funny, that.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "martin.flanagan@scotsman.com" ,"author": "MARTIN FLANAGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400043.1490168557!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400043.1490168557!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dundee is home to video game companies including Minecraft developer 4J Studios. Picture: Phil Wilkinson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee is home to video game companies including Minecraft developer 4J Studios. Picture: Phil Wilkinson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400043.1490168557!/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/culture/edinburgh-festivals/new-meccano-style-venue-created-for-edinburgh-fringe-1-4400750","id":"1.4400750","articleHeadline": "New Meccano-style venue created for Edinburgh Fringe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490197237569 ,"articleLead": "

A new “flat-pack” pop-up theatre venue is to make its debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400749.1490197306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new pop-up Fringe venue will be unveiled at the Pleasance this summer."} ,"articleBody": "

A new “flat-pack” pop-up theatre venue is to make its debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer.

The Pleasance Theatre Trust has bought the new “Meccano-style” venue for its main courtyard site in the south side of the city.

It has joined forces with a leading theatre design firm, Triple E, to create the bespoke new venue, Project 33.

It will host up to eight shows a day in Edinburgh in August after being showcased for the first time at the Association of British Theatre Technicians trade fair in June.

The venue, which will be built up to a height of 14 ft, will also be used as a new rehearsal and performance space by the Pleasance at its base in London.

The new Pleasance venue has been announced 11 years after another promoter, Underbelly, created a venue shaped like an upside-down purple cow for the Fringe. It has returned every year since and has also hosted shows for Underbelly in London and Hong Kong.

Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, said: “For 33 years, we’ve crammed the most fun we could find into the maximum number of spaces.

“This year we’ve taken a plunge and invested in a brand new, state of the art modular theatre designed specifically for the courtyard venue and which we think provides really exciting opportunities for the work of the Pleasance Theatre Trust both in Edinburgh in August and in other places throughout the year.

“Eight shows each and every day will have a bigger and better space than we could previously offer them, and audiences will have a chance to experience not only the bright minds on stage but the bright minds that conjured up this modular theatre.

“The design and its possibilities are very exciting and will give us opportunities to expand our thinking for the venue and for the Pleasance generally.”

David Edelstein, managing director at Triple E, said: “The history of the Pleasance is all about making the most out of found spaces and exploiting available sites for performance with the tightest of budgets.

“The Pleasance has never commissioned a bespoke venue before, but Anthony Alderson was immediately enthusiastic when I explained Project 33, which we will build and hand over at the ABTT show.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400749.1490197306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400749.1490197306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new pop-up Fringe venue will be unveiled at the Pleasance this summer.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new pop-up Fringe venue will be unveiled at the Pleasance this summer.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400749.1490197306!/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/medieval-scots-castle-on-the-market-for-just-150-000-1-4400272","id":"1.4400272","articleHeadline": "Medieval Scots castle on the market - for just £150,000","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490185111000 ,"articleLead": "

A HISTORIC castle once vistited by King James VI and sitting near to US president Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course has gone on the market - for £150,000.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400271.1490185102!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Knockhall Castle"} ,"articleBody": "

Knockhall Castle in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, dates back to the 16th century and was used as a base by James VI, but was left gutted by an accidental fire in 1734.

The castle is close to the River Ythan and the famous Forvie Sands, a designated nature conservation area populated by seals.

The new owners would also become a neighbour to Donald Trump, whose Balmedie golf resort is just five miles away.

READ MORE: The origins of Scotland’s city nicknames explained

Sellers Savills said: “The lands of Newburgh were held by the Sinclair family from the 13th century, with a settlement established there in 1261.

“The castle was probably built for Henry, Master of Sinclair, the future 6th Lord Sinclair, and it is recorded that James VI stayed with him at Knockhall on 9 July 1589.

“The castle was sold in 1633 to a son of Udny of that Ilk and was damaged in 1639 when taken by the Earl Marischal for the Covenanters.”

They add: “Newburgh is a popular and picturesque, sheltered coastal village, ideally situated for easy commuting to Bridge of Don, Aberdeen and Dyce as well as Aberdeen International Airport which is a mere 15 miles away and offers daily services to London, Europe and various other destinations.

“The area is well served by local recreational facilities including an 18 hole golf course, salmon and sea trout fishing on the River Ythan, coastal walks and the famous Forvie Sands, a designated nature conservation area with long sandy beaches and large colonies of seals, Eider duck, Arctic terns and many other species.

The castle was built in 1565 as an L plan towerhouse of three stories and an attic with a projecting staircase tower on its northside.

The tower does not have a parapet and the gables have skews rather than crowsteps. To the south of the castle there was an enclosed courtyard, but all that now remains of this is a fragmentary round tower at the south east angle of the enclosure which incorporated a dovecot on its upper level.

The tower has undergone significant alteration, probably in the second quarter of the 17th century.

The entrance is in the re-entrant angle and the lintel of the door is inscribed with the date 1565.

Above this are two empty heraldic panels and at eaves level there is a projecting stone shelf which appears to have been intended to shed water away from the entrance doorway.

READ MORE: Highland tourism driving route project turns a corner

The doorway gives access to a corridor running the length of the building and leads to the main stair.

Entered off the corridor, on the left, is the kitchen, complete with fireplace, sink and drain. The main block contains a large cellar also with a sink and drain. Both spaces are vaulted although that over the kitchen has collapsed.

The selling agents say: “The circular stair is wide and provides access both to the principal upper floors in the main block and to those in the wing.

“The tower is externally complete and in there is often sufficient evidence for a tower to be restored for modern occupation without detracting from its historic significance.

“The planning of this tower, with a large stair serving the two wings, and with ample light through the large rectangular windows, would also make its adaptive re-use possible.

“It should be noted that there is significant potential for associated archaeology surrounding the tower. In schemes of adaptive re-use, archaeology is an important issue to be addressed.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400271.1490185102!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400271.1490185102!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Knockhall Castle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Knockhall Castle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400271.1490185102!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400422.1490185104!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400422.1490185104!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Knockhall Castle ruins.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Knockhall Castle ruins.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400422.1490185104!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400425.1490185105!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400425.1490185105!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Knockhall Castle in Aberdeenshire.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Knockhall Castle in Aberdeenshire.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400425.1490185105!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400427.1490185108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400427.1490185108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Knockhall Castle.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Knockhall Castle.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400427.1490185108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/waste-management-firm-augean-eyes-deals-as-profits-jump-1-4400040","id":"1.4400040","articleHeadline": "Waste management firm Augean eyes deals as profits jump","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490167338000 ,"articleLead": "

Specialist waste management business Augean, which has a base in Paisley, is mulling acquisitions in the North-east after revealing another year of double-digit profit growth.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400039.1490167404!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Augean has teamed up with Forth Ports to handle decommissioning waste at Dundee. Picture: Guthrie Photography"} ,"articleBody": "

The company, which was formed in 2004 and helps clients deal with waste and comply with necessary regulations, saw a 16 per cent jump in pre-tax profit to £7 million last year, with revenues up by a quarter to £76m. Including exceptional items of £5.7m, pre-tax profit was down by 50 per cent to £1.3m.

• READ MORE: New North Sea waste hub planned for port of Dundee

Chief executive Stewart Davies told The Scotsman that the firm was “very pleased” with the year’s performance, adding: “We’ve got strong cash generation, a robust balance sheet and are really confident in maintaining double-digit increases in profitability for 2017”.

The business said Augean North Sea Services traded well in the second half of 2016, “with further progress on its diversification objective including the partnership with Forth Ports Limited for the management of waste arising from the decommissioning of offshore equipment at the Port of Dundee”.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Davies said the Dundee site broadens the geographic reach of the company’s North Sea arm, which has sites from Lerwick and down through Aberdeen, and enables it to tackle hazardous waste arising from decommissioning.

“That gives the Port of Dundee an advantage in terms of bidding for decommissioning work and we’re collaborating with them right now on active bids,” he said.

He also said Augean was focused on expanding organically and has opportunities for growth and across all of its activities, particularly in oil and gas, where it has diversified.

In terms of potential M&A activity, finance director Mark Fryer, who is also taking charge of business development, said: “Obviously, while the rest of the market is in recession that’s sometimes one of the best times to look to acquire some of your competitors, so we are actively looking.”

As for where it is targeting, he said the focus is on industrial and waste service where its activities are growing, and with the North Sea arm having historically very Aberdeen-focused, “I think we would like to have more of a presence in Peterhead.”

Broker N+1 Singer said in a note on the results that Augean has “good prospects for continued growth in 2017 and beyond”.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "emma.newlands@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400039.1490167404!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400039.1490167404!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Augean has teamed up with Forth Ports to handle decommissioning waste at Dundee. Picture: Guthrie Photography","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Augean has teamed up with Forth Ports to handle decommissioning waste at Dundee. Picture: Guthrie Photography","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400039.1490167404!/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/ardgowan-distillery-seeks-17m-after-green-light-1-4400038","id":"1.4400038","articleHeadline": "Ardgowan Distillery seeks £17m after green light","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490166235000 ,"articleLead": "

A planned new distillery with historic links to ­Robert the Bruce has launched a bid to raise £17 million and appointed independent chartered accountants Campbell Dallas amid plans to be operational in 2019.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400036.1490166231!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plans for the distillery were recently approved by Inverclyde Council. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Construction is set to start later this year on the Ardgowan Distillery, near Inverkip, Renfrewshire, having recently obtained planning permission from Inverclyde Council.

• READ MORE: Plans for £12 million Ardgowan Distillery project given go ahead

It is now seeking investors to build a lowland malt whisky distillery and ­visitor attraction on the Ardgowan Estate – where Robert the Bruce was involved in two battles.

The project has already raised more than £500,000 in seed capital and is being advised by Campbell Dallas’s corporate finance team, led by Harro Leusink.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Ardgowan Distillery chairman and former Macallan managing director Willie Phillips said the venture is “a ­terrific commercial proposition and Campbell Dallas is the right firm to assist us with this fundraising”.

He added that the distillery will be “scalable”, with capacity to extend production with some further investment.

Murdoch McLennan, partner and head of brewing and distilling at Campbell Dallas, said: “Whisky distilleries are a well-recognised investment opportunity which can achieve strong capital returns and dividend distribution in the medium to long term.”

He also said the total funding requirement of about £17m will cover the construction, commissioning and first three years’ production costs, while the distillery is expecting a mix of equity, debt funding and public grant support.

It is also set to appeal to high-net-worth individuals, family offices, overseas investors and companies in the whisky ­supply chain, he believes.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400036.1490166231!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400036.1490166231!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Plans for the distillery were recently approved by Inverclyde Council. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plans for the distillery were recently approved by Inverclyde Council. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400036.1490166231!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1490165880796"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/rbs-and-investor-action-group-still-split-on-price-1-4400035","id":"1.4400035","articleHeadline": "RBS and investor action group still split on price","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490164836000 ,"articleLead": "

Doubts are growing over the prospects of an out-of-court settlement between a shareholder action group and ­Royal Bank of Scotland over legal claims investors were misled in the bank’s £12 billion rights issue in 2008.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400034.1490164832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "RBS is led by chief executive Ross Mcewan. Picture: Phil Wilkinson"} ,"articleBody": "

Talks between lawyers for the parties were understood to have taken place last weekend over compensation levels to stop a full-scale court action in London in May.

• READ MORE: RBS steps up settlement bid with Shareholder Action Group

Ahead of the talks one source put the odds of a successful deal at “no better than 50-50”. But another person familiar with the situation indicated that the parties were as far apart on price as ever.

“People are getting over-excited,” the source said. “Currently, the RBS offer is worth about 41.5p a share to investors. That is unlikely to be acceptable to investors, and yet the bank is simply not ­moving on the issue.

“The legal advice the shareholders have received is that the claim value should be somewhere between 97p and 245p a share.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

RBoS Shareholder Action Group, including about 100 institutional investors and thousands of private investors, claims shareholders were misled on the financial strength of the bank at the time of the cash call. RBS ­vigorously contests this.

The cash call came after RBS’s £10bn acquisition of much of ABN Amro in the autumn of 2007. Late in 2008 RBS collapsed into majority taxpayer ownership with a record UK corporate loss of £24bn.

RBS’s shares were at 600p in early 2007. They closed last night at 238.2p.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN FLANAGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400034.1490164832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400034.1490164832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "RBS is led by chief executive Ross Mcewan. Picture: Phil Wilkinson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "RBS is led by chief executive Ross Mcewan. Picture: Phil Wilkinson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400034.1490164832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/dundee-s-digital-sector-growth-outpaces-rest-of-uk-1-4400033","id":"1.4400033","articleHeadline": "Dundee’s digital sector growth outpaces rest of UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490164712000 ,"articleLead": "

Dundee’s pacy expansion as an IT and gaming hub is highlighted in a new report out today, showing the city’s digital economic output nearly trebled in the four years to 2015.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400032.1490164418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee's digital economic output surged 171% in the four years to 2015. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

The city’s digital economic output surged 171 per cent to £97 million in the period 2011-2015, the highest turnover growth in the sector in the UK, according to Tech City UK’s report, Tech Nation 2017.

• READ MORE: Dundee games firm Outplay expands with acquisition
Gillian Easson, director, Creative Dundee, said: “Dundee is a diverse and thriving creative hub, which has a rich heritage in new technologies and considerable future potential.

“We’re delighted that Dundee-based technology businesses have achieved highest turnover growth in the UK. However, it’s also reassuring to know that over 91 per cent of tech workers enjoy their quality of life here – this speaks real volumes of our city.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland
Tech Nation 2017 said the digital tech sector was vital to the UK’s economic growth, employing more than 1.6 million people.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN FLANAGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400032.1490164418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400032.1490164418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dundee's digital economic output surged 171% in the four years to 2015. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee's digital economic output surged 171% in the four years to 2015. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400032.1490164418!/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/leader-comment-inflation-pressures-are-only-going-to-get-worse-1-4399258","id":"1.4399258","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Inflation pressures are only going to get worse","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490162400000 ,"articleLead": "

Warning bells rang in many people’s minds on hearing that inflation had risen to its highest level for more than three years – the major culprits being identified as global price pressures and the weakness of the pound.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4399257.1490125164!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inflation in Britain has hit its highest level for three years."} ,"articleBody": "

Those who have lived through turbulent times or are well versed in economics know inflation can be a self-perpetuating problem – spiralling upwards as prices rise and people demand higher wages (or threaten to strike to get them), as household budgets are squeezed. Employers then have to put the price of goods up to meet increasing wage bills and so it goes on. Weakness in the pound adds to some employers costs for importing materials, and although it can boost exports by making them cheaper, it can also hit exporting companies revenues.

Once the inflation “genie” is out of the bottle it can be very difficult to control.

The fact is that we have lived with low inflation for years, in an era of fiscal austerity which now seems a long time ago.

Currently, if inflation rises above 2 per cent, the governor of the Bank of England has to write a letter to the Prime Minister with a good explanation of why it has risen so high.

It looks like the governor is at risk of writer’s cramp as we face the possibility of inflation reaching 3 per cent or even higher.

It is not just a homegrown problem – inflation is also on the rise in a host of countries including the United States and in many across the eurozone, with higher energy and food prices hitting consumers.

But this latest hike comes at a time when the UK is experiencing a tectonic shift in the political landscape,with Brexit delivering the biggest structural change in decades.

The question now is what can we do about rising inflation? What levers can we pull to mitigate the situation?

The first point to bear in mind is that the decision to leave the European Union has been made and that the major changes which Brexit will bring are still around two years away.

So although the pound has been re-set after the referendum, the chances are the result of the Brexit negotiations will see a further shift in sterling – and the trade deals which will also have a huge impact are even further away. The reality is we are going to have to face is that our pay packets will buy us less,

But for those who need to spend – whether it is on a car to get to work, necessary home improvements or even a well-deserved holiday – the temptation will be to put it on credit cards again.

Consumption rarely slows down, meaning that credit cards add to the problem and quickly plunging the unwary into a messy debt crisis which can be difficult to get out of.

There are no “quick fixes” for economies – the problem is a far bigger story than just piecemeal reform, although we need to put energy in to building exports.

But what is certain is that inflationary pressures are unlikely to ease in the near future. In fact they are almost certainly going to get worse.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4399257.1490125164!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4399257.1490125164!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Inflation in Britain has hit its highest level for three years.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inflation in Britain has hit its highest level for three years.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4399257.1490125164!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/glasgow-smart-meters-firm-hails-transformation-1-4398796","id":"1.4398796","articleHeadline": "Glasgow smart meters firm hails ‘transformation’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490099968000 ,"articleLead": "

Smart Metering Systems (SMS) today posted a 4 per cent rise in profits following a “year of transformation” for the Glasgow company.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398795.1490100059!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SMS chief executive Alan Foy said the Glasgow firm has enjoyed a 'strong start' to 2017. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The Aim-quoted firm has completed a trio of takeovers – meter suppliers CH4 and Trojan Utilities, along with IT company Qton Solutions – as it prepares for a UK-wide rollout of domestic smart energy meters.

• READ MORE: Meters firm SMS seals trio of deals as profits jump

Results today showed that the group’s pre-tax profits rose to £18.2 million for 2016, up from £17.5m a year earlier, with revenues jumping 25 per cent to £67.2m.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

SMS chief executive Alan Foy said: “2016 has been a year of transformation for the business as it grew to over 1.25 million utility metering and data assets under management, generating £41.3m in annually recurring index-linked income.

“We have seen a strong start to 2017 and are well positioned to continue making progress in our core markets.”

A final dividend of 2.73p a share was proposed, to be paid on 1 June, lifting the total payout for the year to 4.1p.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398795.1490100059!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398795.1490100059!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SMS chief executive Alan Foy said the Glasgow firm has enjoyed a 'strong start' to 2017. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SMS chief executive Alan Foy said the Glasgow firm has enjoyed a 'strong start' to 2017. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398795.1490100059!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/future-scotland/tech/hugh-aitken-eu-data-transfer-deal-crucial-to-scots-businesses-1-4398776","id":"1.4398776","articleHeadline": "Hugh Aitken: EU data transfer deal crucial to Scots businesses","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490098942000 ,"articleLead": "

An EU data transfer deal is essential to Scottish business success, writes Hugh Aitken

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398775.1490099676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Companies in every sector rely on data to sell their products and services. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

From getting the best flight deals, to tailored online shopping recommendations or getting the latest news on social media – it’s easy to forget the products and services we love are underpinned by businesses’ use of data.

Companies in every sector and across every part of Scotland rely on data to sell their products and services, interact with their customers and innovate. Indeed, as UK-based consumers we top the list when it comes to using technology in our daily lives.

So as the UK leaves the EU, being able to transfer data easily, safely and securely is going to be a priority for everyone.

The UK leads the world when it comes to cross border data flows. We’re responsible for 11.5% of all data transferred internationally, three quarters of which is between the UK and EU.

To ensure we remain a global leader there are two key ingredients for success. Firstly we need to get right how we protect data in the UK, in a way that consumers can be confident about. The fast approaching new General Data Protection Regulation will help towards that goal.

Secondly we need to think internationally and make it as easy as possible to share data with countries that meet the high standards that we have. With the EU negotiations on the horizon, it’s great that business and Government are already on the same page when it comes to getting a framework that secures the free flow of data.

There are various options on the table to ease concerns around the free flow of data, but the business community is clear that the best route for this is for the EU Commission to agree that UK data protection standards are adequate. An “adequacy decision” would mean that the UK would be formally recognised as having the same high data standards as other European countries. This provides legal certainty for firms of all sizes and helps smooth the way for data transfers across the world.

Without an adequacy decision, we risk throwing a spanner into the works of business competitiveness throughout the UK and this would affect people, as well as businesses. What could this look like practically here in Scotland?

Imagine you’re running a B&B in rural Scotland that wants to take bookings from a tourist in France. Without a no adequacy deal your business can’t store the tourist’s email address or send them personalised messages.

Likewise, multiplayer video games that allow people from all over the world to compete against each other are reliant on the transfer of information. Without an adequacy decision, our gamers wouldn’t be able to join in and the world-leading businesses in sector hubs like Dundee would stand to lose out.

Scotland shares in the UK’s success as an international leader when it comes to the digital economy, and data is the bedrock on which this success is built. Looking to the future, the CBI is ready to support the Government in its negotiations to achieve a deal that protects the enormous benefits that data transfer provides to consumers and companies.

Hugh Aitken is director of CBI Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hugh Aitken"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398775.1490099676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398775.1490099676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Companies in every sector rely on data to sell their products and services. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Companies in every sector rely on data to sell their products and services. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398775.1490099676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/media-leisure/goals-eyes-dozens-of-us-sites-as-sales-accelerate-1-4398430","id":"1.4398430","articleHeadline": "Goals eyes ‘dozens’ of US sites as sales accelerate","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490097844000 ,"articleLead": "

The new chief executive of five-a-side football firm Goals Soccer Centres is hopeful that the East Kilbride company could have “dozens” of sites across the US after seeing it move back into the black.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398428.1490081806!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "East Kilbride-based Goals Soccer Centres is expanding in California. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Mark Jones, the former Grosvenor Casinos managing director who succeeded previous Goals boss Keith Rogers in July, told The Scotsman that the group is focusing its expansion efforts on Los Angeles, where it currently has two centres.

“It took us seven years to open our second one, but we’ll have our third site open in the next six months,” Jones said.

• READ MORE: Former casinos boss named chief executive at Goals

“It’s a flagship site and we’ll build it at nearly half the cost of the first one. We’ll be cautious about how we expand in the States, but we see it as a growth area. We’ll start with Los Angeles but it’s a huge market – we could potentially have dozens of sites across southern California. We know that in the rest of the US, whether that be Florida or Texas, there’s a burgeoning soccer market, but our focus in the medium term is on Los Angeles.”

He added: “We’re going to do it cautiously – we’re not going to add ten a year – but we’re excited about that market.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

His comments came as Aim-quoted Goals, which has 46 centres across the UK, said it returned to sales growth in 2016, with takings up 1.6 per cent on a year earlier to £33.5 million. That helped the firm move back into the black with a statutory pre-tax profit of £3.7m, compared with a loss of £6.2m a year earlier.

On a like-for-like basis, stripping out the effect of new openings, sales were up 0.5 per cent compared with 2015, when Goals suffered a 4.9 per cent decline, and the recovery accelerated in the second half of the year, with sales growing by 2.9 per cent.

Edison Investment Research analyst Paul Hickman said the results showed “positive progress” for Goals, which has been revamping its pitches, but noted that the firm was facing “cost headwinds” arising from the introduction of the national living wage.

As well as upgrading its pitches, Goals is overhauling its food and drink offering as part of its “Clubhouse 2020” strategy, which will be introduced to three centres across Glasgow and London in the first half of this year at a total cost of £1.1m.

Jones said: “The plan is to take the learnings from those sites and roll that through the rest of the estate over the coming 18 months.”

Customers will see modernised check-in facilities and improvements to what Jones said was currently an “extremely limited” food and drink menu as the group seeks to generate more spending among its users.

He added: “It’s a very significant change to what people have been used to, because the vast majority of our customers just walk through the front door and out onto the pitches; we’re creating a facility where they can book a table after their game to share a pizza or a beer. We believe that will drive strong ancillary spend from customers.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398428.1490081806!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398428.1490081806!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "East Kilbride-based Goals Soccer Centres is expanding in California. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "East Kilbride-based Goals Soccer Centres is expanding in California. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398428.1490081806!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}