{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/management/richard-morris-cracking-the-productivity-puzzle-1-4346074","id":"1.4346074","articleHeadline": "Richard Morris: Cracking the productivity puzzle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485162444000 ,"articleLead": "

Birds of a feather flock together. Applying this idiom to the world of work may seem accurate at first glance – people of a similar mindset seeking out ­similar jobs and work settings.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346073.1485162646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Richard Morris says most workers reach peak levels of alertness when they're 'wrestling with their commutes'. Picture: Jane Barlow"} ,"articleBody": "

But even within these like-minded groups, individuals will function to very different patterns.

Humans have an internal body clock, a natural process that governs ­levels of energy and alertness throughout the day. This circadian process influences every individual, and ­disruption to the rhythm has a clear effect. Much research has been done on the topic, and put very ­simply, the ­average employee will take a few hours after arriving at work to reach a peak of alertness and energy at around noon.

Although this represents the average cycle, ­people deviate from this ­pattern, falling into the early ­morning achiever category (the “larks”) or those more productive in the evening (the “owls”).

Now, consider the typical working day. This was established in ­Victorian times – not an age one equates with worker welfare – and it is easy to see the conflict between this fixed structure and the modern science of productivity rhythms.

So can businesses adapt? Without a doubt – yes. Already, businesses of every size are rejecting this outdated notion of the fixed routine and thinking in a far more agile and expansive fashion about ­workplace routines and worker provision. This advance is as much down to changing mindsets as it is to do with reorganising business locations. Today’s managers are learning to measure on results rather than ‘presenteeism’ and workplace flexibility is no longer regarded as a ­­perk – rather, it is expected.

Research shows that peaks of alertness occur in the morning and again in the early evening – precisely when the majority of workers are wrestling with their commutes. What if this travelling was simply eliminated? It’s not a realistic proposition in every case but a large percentage of professionals travel unnecessarily to a fixed location.

The fact is, solutions are available. Businesses of every size, in every ­sector, are consuming ­flexible workspace, and a new ­pattern is emerging, aiming to fit the workplace around the worker rather than the other way around.

This provides a foundation to explore tailoring working programmes to individuals in a way that simply isn’t feasible under a fixed structure. Whether employers are ready to allow individuals to nap during the day during low-energy spells is a moot point.

But there is certainly receptiveness to improved workplace wellbeing and to trusting employees to maximise their output on their own terms.

Giving a ­little ­scientific thought to ­productivity – and allowing owls and larks to beat their wings to a different rhythm – could well help your ­business fly.

• Richard Morris is UK chief executive at Regus

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RICHARD MORRIS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346073.1485162646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346073.1485162646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Richard Morris says most workers reach peak levels of alertness when they're 'wrestling with their commutes'. Picture: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Richard Morris says most workers reach peak levels of alertness when they're 'wrestling with their commutes'. Picture: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346073.1485162646!/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/trump-win-and-lucky-punters-hit-paddy-power-s-takings-1-4346067","id":"1.4346067","articleHeadline": "Trump win and lucky punters hit Paddy Power’s takings","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485161449000 ,"articleLead": "

Donald Trump’s shock election victory and unfavourable sporting results dented takings at bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair to the tune of £40 million in the fourth quarter.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346066.1485161463!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump's victory in the race for the White House knocked earnings at Paddy Power Betfair. Picture: Andrew Harnik/AP"} ,"articleBody": "

The company, born out of a £7 billion merger between Paddy Power and Betfair, said the controversial businessman’s successful US presidential bid in November cost it £5m alone.

Like other bookmakers it also flagged a dire December when European football results, such as Chelsea’s string of victories – only ended by a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham earlier this month – saw punters cash in on bookmakers’ woes.

READ MORE: Ladbrokes to hit targets despite flurry of punter wins

In a trading update, Paddy Power Betfair said: “We estimate that the impact on group revenue from the customer-friendly results, before any benefit from the recycling of winnings, was approximately £40m in the quarter.

“The impact on profitability of these results was partially offset by lower than expected marketing and staff costs.”

Nevertheless, overall revenues in 2016 were up 18 per cent to £1.5bn, or 11 per cent on a constant currency basis, and the group said that underlying earnings are expected to come in at the “mid-point” of the £390m to £405m range of expectations.

Revenue rose 10 per cent to £388m in the last three months of the year, but was flat on a constant currency basis.

The adverse sporting results saw revenue down 3 per cent at Paddy Power Betfair’s online division in the fourth quarter, despite a 15 per cent rise in sporting stakes.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RAVENDER SEMBHY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346066.1485161463!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346066.1485161463!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Trump's victory in the race for the White House knocked earnings at Paddy Power Betfair. Picture: Andrew Harnik/AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump's victory in the race for the White House knocked earnings at Paddy Power Betfair. Picture: Andrew Harnik/AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346066.1485161463!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/possible-float-of-green-investment-bank-in-place-of-sale-1-4346039","id":"1.4346039","articleHeadline": "Possible float of Green Investment Bank in place of sale","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485157455000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK government is to ditch plans to sell the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank (GIB) in favour of a £3.8 billion flotation, according to a newspaper report yesterday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346038.1485157397!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank is chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin. Picture: Craig Borland"} ,"articleBody": "

The report, in the Sunday Times, came after calls from politicians north and south of the Border to halt the acquisition of the renewables-focused lender by Australian investment firm Macquarie, chosen in October as preferred bidder, with concerns including asset-stripping.

READ MORE: Green Investment Bank sell-off launched by UK government

Additionally, MSP Alison Johnstone said last week that in the ­current ­circumstances “it would be foolish for the GIB to be purged of its successful ­ventures in financing key environmental projects throughout Scotland and the UK”.

A separate report has cited a Whitehall official ­saying that while an initial public offering was a possibility, it was not set to take place in the short term.

The GIB was founded in 2012 by the UK government, backed by public funds, and has invested more than £2.7bn in environmental projects.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346038.1485157397!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346038.1485157397!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank is chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin. Picture: Craig Borland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank is chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin. Picture: Craig Borland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346038.1485157397!/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/investors-enjoy-record-fourth-quarter-for-uk-dividends-1-4346037","id":"1.4346037","articleHeadline": "Investors enjoy record fourth quarter for UK dividends","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485156858000 ,"articleLead": "

UK dividends last year experienced what was “comfortably” a record fourth quarter, lifted by the downturn in sterling and special dividends more than doubling, according to new data.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346036.1485156789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Capita Asset Services said 2016 proved to be a 'golden year' for shareholder payouts. Picture: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The latest monitoring of the ­sector by Capita Asset Services, the shareholder-services arm of outsourcing group Capita, found an 11.7 per cent year-on-year jump in headline dividends to £16.6 billion.

This led to the annual headline total coming in at £84.7bn, up 6.6 per cent from 2015, with the weak pound accounting for £4.8bn of the £5.2bn gain. At an underlying level, ­dividends climbed 2.6 per cent to £78.5bn, as firms struggled to boost profitability.

READ MORE: Time to cash in after the market surge?

Justin Cooper, chief executive of shareholder solutions, part of Capita Asset Services, said 2016 started “pessimistically”, hit by high-profile cuts.

Nonetheless, “the second-largest haul of special dividends on record, with the added alchemy of huge exchange-rate gains following the pound’s devaluation in the summer, ultimately turned a rather leaden year golden”.

For 2017, the Capita unit expects underlying dividends to rise to £84.4bn, a “healthy” year-on-year jump of 7.5 per cent, still benefiting from the weaker pound. Headline ­dividends are forecast to grow 3.3 per cent to £87.5bn.

Cooper said some factors give cause for optimism this year, but “investors will also be looking for improving profitability from companies, and for this to feed through into underlying dividends, so that improving payouts are more sustainable and less dependent on currency gains”.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346036.1485156789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346036.1485156789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Capita Asset Services said 2016 proved to be a 'golden year' for shareholder payouts. Picture: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Capita Asset Services said 2016 proved to be a 'golden year' for shareholder payouts. Picture: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346036.1485156789!/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/cautious-optimism-for-finance-sector-after-gloomy-2016-1-4346028","id":"1.4346028","articleHeadline": "Cautious optimism for finance sector after gloomy 2016","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485154963000 ,"articleLead": "

Confidence among Britain’s financial services firms dropped again in the last three months of 2016, although some sectors forecast an improvement in business conditions in the current quarter, according to research published today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346027.1485155171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The CBI said that 2016 was the 'gloomiest' period for the finance sector since the 2008 global downturn. Picture: Metropolitan Police/@MPSintheSky/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The latest survey of finance firms by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and PwC found that optimism regarding the overall business situation fell for the fourth quarter in a row, making 2016 the “gloomiest” period for the sector since the 2008 financial crisis as Brexit fears and global uncertainty took their toll.

Banks, general insurers and finance houses were the most pessimistic, as sector profit growth ground to a halt and business volumes fell flat in final quarter of the year.

READ MORE: Clydesdale reveals list of 40 Scottish branches set to close

About 45 per cent of firms were less optimistic generally compared to the previous three months, while only 10 per cent were more optimistic, giving a balance of minus 35 per cent. That is compared to minus 13 per cent in quarter to September.

However, the pace of hiring is expected to accelerate in the current quarter, and giving further cause for celebration was the expectation that profitability will take a turn for the better, although not for building societies, as cost pressures ease off.

CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said that despite uncertainties over the outlook, “it’s encouraging to see the financial services sector charting a steady course, with firms expecting to raise investment and step up the pace of hiring, while continuing to deliver improvements to the bottom line.

“As we head into the New Year, a mixed picture emerges from financial services firms about their hopes and fears.”

Looking ahead, the biggest challenges for financial-sector firms were identified as preparing for the UK leaving Europe, plus macroeconomic uncertainty and regulatory compliance.

Bearing in mind Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to rule out single-market membership,

Newton-Smith added: “Business stands ready to support the negotiations to get the best possible deal for the UK by ensuring that the economic case is heard loud and clear.”

READ MORE: Inflation soars to 1.6% as weak pound pushes up prices

Meanwhile, a separate study published today is challenging the Bank of England over its “unconventional” monetary policy, calling for ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing to end now.

Brian Sturgess argues in the report, published by the Centre for Policy Studies, that the central bank’s approach is having “severe” financial economic consequences, exposing the economy to great risk, and failed to stimulate economic growth or reduce deflationary pressures, for example.

Bank governor Mark Carney last week said household debt and rising consumer credit will be a crucial consideration for the bank’s monetary policy committee as it decides whether to raise interest rates in coming months.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "emma.newlands@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346027.1485155171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346027.1485155171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The CBI said that 2016 was the 'gloomiest' period for the finance sector since the 2008 global downturn. Picture: Metropolitan Police/@MPSintheSky/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The CBI said that 2016 was the 'gloomiest' period for the finance sector since the 2008 global downturn. Picture: Metropolitan Police/@MPSintheSky/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346027.1485155171!/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/theresa-may-faces-calls-to-come-clean-on-failed-trident-test-1-4345917","id":"1.4345917","articleHeadline": "Theresa May faces calls to come clean on failed Trident test","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485129420000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May is facing calls to come clean over a failed test of the Trident nuclear deterrent amid claims the government acted like North Korea in covering up the incident.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345916.1485120875!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "May refused to comment on the failed Trident test when quizzed by Andrew Marr. Picture: BBC"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister failed to answer several direct questions on her knowledge of the test, which took place weeks before MPs approved the £40 billion Trident renewal programme in July.

The launch of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile from a British submarine off the coast of Florida in June malfunctioned and veered towards the US instead of Africa.

Mrs May did not mention this test in a speech to MPs before the House of Commons vote, in which she urged them to back renewal, leading to allegations the malfunction has been covered up.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for “full disclosure” about who knew what and when, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the failed test as “a pretty catastrophic error”.

Labour peer and former senior ­Royal Navy officer Admiral Lord West added it was “bizarre and stupid” to not tell anyone.

Mrs May said she had “absolute faith” in the Trident missiles. However, she repeatedly failed to address whether she knew about the failed test before her speech to MPs.

She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “When I made that speech in the House of Commons, what we were talking about was whether or not we should renew our Trident, whether or not we should have Trident missiles, an independent nuclear deterrent in the future.

“I think we should defend our country, I think we should play our role in Nato with an independent nuclear deterrent.

“Jeremy Corbyn thinks differently, Jeremy Corbyn thinks we shouldn’t defend our country.”

Asked again about her knowledge of the test, Mrs May replied: “The issue we were talking about in the House of Commons was a very serious issue.

“It was about whether or not we should renew Trident, whether we should look to the future and have a replacement Trident. That’s what we were talking about in the House of Commons, that’s what the House of Commons voted for.”

When Mr Marr asked about her knowledge of the test for a final time, Mrs May said: “There were tests that take place all the time for our, regularly, for our nuclear deterrents.

“What we were talking about in that debate that took place was about the future.”

Previous tests have been publicised by the government.

Mr Corbyn seized on suggestions the missile veered from its intended target near Africa towards the US.

The Labour leader said: “I think this failure is something that ought to pause everyone for a moment and just think what happened.

“We understand the Prime Minister chose not to inform parliament about this and it’s come out through the media some months later.

“It’s a pretty catastrophic error when a missile goes in the wrong direction and whilst it wasn’t armed, goodness knows what the consequence of that could have been, I think we need a serious discussion about that.”

SNP leader Ms Sturgeon, meanwhile, tweeted: “This is a hugely serious issue.

“There should be full disclosure of what happened, who knew what/when, and why the House of Commons wasn’t told.”

Admiral Lord West told BBC Radio 4’s The World this Weekend that the government had “made a bit of a pageant” of previous missile tests.

He said: “From what the government says there was a minor glitch with the missile and they’re quite happy with the missile.

“In which case go ahead and let people know, otherwise we’re a bit rather like the Soviet Union used to be, or like North Korea or China, where they won’t admit to things going wrong when you’re actually testing them to see if they do or don’t go wrong.”

He added: “I think it is bizarre and stupid that they didn’t say that there had been a firing and that there had been a missile malfunction and that it was a minor fault.”

The cause of the failure remains top secret but questions could be asked over the government’s failure to publicise the failed test

Labour MP and former defence minister Kevan Jones said: “The UK’s independent nuclear deterrent is a vital cornerstone for the nation’s defence.

“If there are problems, they should not have been covered up in this ham-fisted way.

“Ministers should come clean if there are problems and there should be an urgent inquiry into what happened.”

A government spokesman said: “The capability and effectiveness of the Trident missile, should we ever need to employ it, is unquestionable.

“In June the Royal Navy conducted a routine unarmed Trident missile test launch from HMS Vengeance, as part of an operation which is designed to certify the submarine and its crew.

“Vengeance and her crew were successfully tested and certified, allowing Vengeance to return into service. We have absolute confidence in our independent nuclear deterrent.

“We do not provide further details on submarine operations for obvious national security reasons.”

Nia Griffith, Labour’s Shadow defence secretary, said: “This report of a Trident missile veering off course during a test is clearly a very serious matter indeed, and we need to know exactly what happened.

“Furthermore, it is completely unacceptable that today the Prime Minister chose to side-step questions on the test, and would not even tell us when she knew about the incident.

“I am demanding the Prime Minister come to parliament tomorrow to give a full explanation to MPs.”

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said the failed test “would have impacted on the debate in parliament on Trident replacement”.

“So the government’s motivation for holding back this vital information is clear,” she added.

“Instead this crucial information has been revealed by a senior naval figure rather than by government at the appropriate time to inform the parliamentary debate.

“This is shocking behaviour on the part of our government and it is profoundly to be hoped that parliamentary opposition forces will hold government to account for withholding information.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345916.1485120875!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345916.1485120875!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "May refused to comment on the failed Trident test when quizzed by Andrew Marr. Picture: BBC","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "May refused to comment on the failed Trident test when quizzed by Andrew Marr. Picture: BBC","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345916.1485120875!/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/labour-to-reject-snp-budget-as-pressure-builds-on-mackay-1-4345907","id":"1.4345907","articleHeadline": "Labour to reject SNP Budget as pressure builds on MacKay","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485129360000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Government is under growing pressure to water down its Budget ­proposals or face the prospect of it being rejected at Holyrood after Labour called for the opposition to “unite” against the spending plans.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345906.1485119756!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdale is calling on the opposition to send a message that the SNP can no longer �bulldoze through unpopular plans. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Proposals to axe £327 million from direct council budgets have angered left-wing ­opponents, while the Tories have warned that they will not support SNP plans to make Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.

If the government fails to secure a majority for its Budget, the first to include new income tax powers, it could result in an election.

Finance minister Derek Mackay will see his plans come under the microscope in a Holyrood debate this week. But he is running out of options to find support after the pro-independence Greens warned at the weekend they will not back the current ­proposals, while Liberal ­Democrats have also called on ministers to use the new tax powers to fight austerity.

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is now calling on the opposition to send out a message that the SNP can no longer ­“bulldoze” through unpopular plans at Holyrood.

She said: “Labour will oppose the SNP’s £327 million cut to public services in Scotland. We want to use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in our public services instead.

“The SNP has lost its majority in parliament; it can’t ­simply bulldoze its plans through Holyrood anymore. If the government wants to pass a budget, it needs to work with the other parties.

“Labour’s offer is simple – work with us to use the new powers and stop the cuts.

“The SNP cannot continue to cut local education budgets without our long term economy suffering. Nationalists ­cannot continue to cut the budgets of local authorities who deliver social care without piling pressure on our health service. SNP ministers cannot protect the poorest if they refuse to ask the richest to pay a little more.”

A spokeswoman for the ­Scottish Government said at the weekend that the budget proposals will deliver additional funding for the NHS and education in Scotland, as well as protecting low income households from tax hikes and support more and better jobs.

She added; “We are in active discussions with other political parties about the Scottish Budget.

“We are considering the detail of the propositions that we have received to date and will continue to take forward constructive discussions on our budget plans.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345906.1485119756!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345906.1485119756!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kezia Dugdale is calling on the opposition to send a message that the SNP can no longer �bulldoze through unpopular plans. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdale is calling on the opposition to send a message that the SNP can no longer �bulldoze through unpopular plans. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345906.1485119756!/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/snp-to-reject-commons-vote-on-brexit-as-indyref2-clock-ticks-1-4345915","id":"1.4345915","articleHeadline": "SNP to reject Commons vote on Brexit as Indyref2 clock ticks","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485129360000 ,"articleLead": "

SNP MPs at Westminster will vote against the Article 50 to trigger Brexit and the “clock is ticking” towards a second independence referendum, Scotland Brexit minister Michael Russell has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345914.1485120558!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mike Russell said SNP MPs would not back the inward-looking and isolationist vision of the UK"} ,"articleBody": "

He insisted the 54 Nationalist MPs would not back the “inward-looking and isolationist” vision of the UK which was set out by the Prime Minister last week as she unveiled plans for a “hard Brexit”.

It came as Labour deputy leader John McDonnell indicated that the party would back Article 50 if a “sensible compromise” position could be reached.

The UK Supreme Court will rule tomorrow whether parliament should be required to approve Article 50. The government is appealing a recent High Court ruling which said MPs and peers must have a say.

The Prime Minister has made clear her intention to take the UK out of the single market when it leaves the European Union – with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warning in response this “undoubtedly” makes a second independence referendum more likely.

And Mr Russell said yesterday: “Endorsing Article 50 is not just endorsing the vote in the United Kingdom – and of course the vote in Scotland was very different – it’s actually endorsing the type of position Theresa May has taken on the type of Brexit she wants, and that’s endorsing the type of country she wants.”

In the 2016 referendum 62 per cent of Scottish voters backed keeping the UK in the EU. Ms Sturgeon and Mrs May are due to hold face-to-face talks in London next month ahead of Article 50 being triggered which would start a two-year countdown to the UK leaving the EU.

Mr Russell said the “clock is ticking” on the prospect of talks with the UK government getting results.

And he added: “The clock is also ticking in terms of an independence referendum because the bill is coming forward – there is an alternative to the present situation.

“We have said we want to try and get a negotiated solution. We put everything into that and it doesn’t appear that has been treated with the respect it deserves or indeed with the consideration it merits because they were a well- worked out series of proposals. So quite clearly the clock is ticking.”

Tory chief whip John Lamont claimed Mr Russell’s approach shows the SNP is not interested in “working constructively” with the UK government on Brexit.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345914.1485120558!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345914.1485120558!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mike Russell said SNP MPs would not back the inward-looking and isolationist vision of the UK","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mike Russell said SNP MPs would not back the inward-looking and isolationist vision of the UK","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345914.1485120558!/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/livingston-is-scotland-s-top-performer-in-house-price-growth-1-4345902","id":"1.4345902","articleHeadline": "Livingston is Scotland’s top performer in house price growth","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485129300000 ,"articleLead": "

House price growth in Britain’s new towns has outperformed the national average, a report has found.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345901.1485119077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston is Scotlands best performer in terms of house price growth. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Livingston is Scotland’s best performer in terms of house price growth, the report found, with a 423 per cent rise over the past 30 years in the average property price to £161,184 – the 18th highest rise overall in the UK.

However, Milton Keynes which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, was identified as the best-performing new town for property price growth over the past three decades, with the average cost of a home rocketing by 601 per cent to reach £309,415 on average.

East Kilbride, Scotland’s oldest “new town”, experienced the next highest rise north of the Border, with a 406 per cent rise in the average price of a home to £150,785, according to the study from Halifax. Meanwhile, the cost of a property in Cumbernauld, has risen by 404 per cent to £127,764.

The cost of homes in Glenrothes in Fife rocketed by 351 per cent in the past 30 years, followed by Irvine, with a 339 per cent increase to £122,469.

New towns generally have seen house prices increase by nearly a third over the past decade, increasing by just over £55,500, from £173,337 in 2006 to £228,902 in 2016. House prices across Britain generally have increased by just over a quarter over the past ten years, from £200,059 to £251,679 – an increase of around £51,600.

Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: “Milton Keynes has been the best-performing of all the new towns created following the Second World War in terms of house price performance since 1986.”

Mr Ellis added that many of the new towns with the strongest house price growth over the past ten years are in the London commuter belt, with prices in Welwyn Garden City, Stevenage and Hemel Hempstead seeing particularly strong gains since 1986.

Scotland’s new towns have seen among the lowest levels of growth, UK-wide.

He said: “Many of these new towns are within easy commuting distance of major commercial centres, where property is typically more expensive, particularly in the south-e ast, where the average property price is well below that in London. This makes them a highly popular choice with home buyers, explaining their relatively good house price performance, and this popularity has been particularly notable during the last decade.”

New towns were created in waves after the Second World War, generally emerging between the 1940s-60s and helped to alleviate housing shortages following the war.

Scotland’s New Towns came into being after the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1947 with the construction of East Kilbride that year and Glenrothes a year later. Irvine was the last, built in 1966. They re-housed tens of thousands of people, attracted new industrial and commercial developments and were key sites for modern planning and architecture. A sixth new town was proposed for Stonehouse, in Lanarkshire, but was later abandoned.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JANE BRADLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345901.1485119077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345901.1485119077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Livingston is Scotlands best performer in terms of house price growth. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston is Scotlands best performer in terms of house price growth. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345901.1485119077!/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/health/agency-nurses-paid-1500-for-shifts-at-scottish-hospitals-1-4345897","id":"1.4345897","articleHeadline": "Agency nurses paid £1500 for shifts at Scottish hospitals","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485129060000 ,"articleLead": "

Agency nurses are being paid a “staggering” £1,500 a shift by Scottish hospitals as they struggle cover staffing shortages.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345896.1485118638!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three health boards have been paying �1,500 to cover staffing shortages. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The payouts have been branded a “slap in the face” to staff nurses who are working for a “fraction of the price”.

Figures uncovered through Freedom of Information by the Scottish Conservatives have revealed that three health boards have confirmed they paid more than that amount as managers struggle to find nurses to fill gaps across the country.

NHS Lanarkshire said the highest amount it paid was £1,565 for a single shift in 2015/16, followed by NHS Lothian, which paid £1,528 to an agency the previous year.

Tory health spokesman Donald Cameron said: “It is staggering that hard-pressed health boards could find themselves paying this much to an agency for a nursing shift.

“Not only is it an astonishing waste of taxpayers’ money, but it’s a slap in the face to staff nurses who can only dream of such remuneration.

“Bank and agency nurses play an important role when it comes to helping plug gaps in the NHS. But demands of more than £1,500 for a single shift are an abuse, and one health boards should not bow to.”

In NHS Ayrshire and Arran, bosses estimated the highest single payment for a shift – defined as more than eight hours but less than 14 – was between £1,300 and £1,600. And in NHS Tayside, an agency was paid £1,251 for a single shift last year.

The Scottish Government has been repeatedly criticised for its increasing use of bank and agency nurses, as well as high levels of vacancies, with hundreds of roles lying empty for months at a time. Last year, NHS boards spent £158 million paying for bank and agency nurses to cover shifts.

Mr Cameron added: “Ministers should examine these instances of extremely high payments to agencies, and act to ensure they don’t occur again.

Health secretary Shona Robison said bank and agency staff are only used when necessary to deal with “peaks in demand.”

She added: “Agency staff make up only 0.4 per cent of overall staffing numbers and the amount of money spent on agency nurses and midwives is 11.3 per cent lower today than it was a decade ago.

“We want to reduce agency use as much as possible and earlier this year we launched a new initiative, in partnership with NHS National Services Scotland, to drive down the cost and use of all temporary agency staff.”

More than 43,100 nurses and midwives now work in the NHS, up by 2,100 since this SNP took office, she added.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345896.1485118638!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345896.1485118638!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Three health boards have been paying �1,500 to cover staffing shortages. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three health boards have been paying �1,500 to cover staffing shortages. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345896.1485118638!/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/police-human-trafficking-cases-could-rise-with-new-laws-1-4345894","id":"1.4345894","articleHeadline": "Police: Human trafficking cases ‘could rise’ with new laws","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485128940000 ,"articleLead": "

Police have warned they expect to see a rise in human trafficking cases as a result of laws that put an onus on ­public bodies to raise concerns.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345893.1485118034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police launched a public awareness campaign against human trafficking in 2015. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act requires those working in the public sector to notify Police Scotland of anyone thought to be a victim.

Recent figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show both adults and children are being brought to Scotland from as far afield as Africa and south-east Asia for the ­purposes of labour exploitation and prostitution.

Police said recent cases have included domestic servitude, where a trafficked person has ended up working as a servant, or victims being trafficked to work in brothels.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Houston, of Police Scotland’s National Human Trafficking Unit, said: “The fact that sexual exploitation is often hidden, and people may not recognise labour exploitation, means we can’t know how many individuals have been trafficked.

“We need to build on the intelligence picture to try and gauge that the best we can. Recent increases show that first responders are recognising the signs – we should be positive about the fact we are rescuing people.”

He said more cases were likely to be reported as ­public awareness grows and the ­legislation, introduced in late 2015, begins to take effect.

He said: “There’s an analogy with the recent rise in the reporting of sexual crime. The rise in people reporting 
non-recent sexual crime shows there’s a trust and a ­confidence that allows people to come forward.

“The majority of what we see in Scotland in terms of human trafficking is labour exploitation, whether that’s in industries like fishing and farming or in cash businesses such as nail bars and car washes.

“The new legislation will bring increased public knowledge. The duty to notify will bring an increase in the ­numbers, but I take that as a positive. That’s an increase in the number of people coming forward and allows us to build a picture of who’s exploiting them, why and how we can stop it.”

The most recent figures from the NCA show children from as far away as Nigeria and Somalia have been ­trafficked to Scotland. ­Victims from ­Africa, Asia and eastern Europe were among those identified by authorities and reported using the UK National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Under the 2015 legislation, anyone found to be involved in human trafficking could face a life sentence.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS MARSHALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345893.1485118034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345893.1485118034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Police launched a public awareness campaign against human trafficking in 2015. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police launched a public awareness campaign against human trafficking in 2015. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345893.1485118034!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/lesley-riddoch-missile-misfire-in-more-ways-than-one-1-4346069","id":"1.4346069","articleHeadline": "Lesley Riddoch: Missile misfire in more ways than one","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485161679000 ,"articleLead": "

The Trident troubles and Trump presidency should trigger a complete re-think on our defence, writes Lesley Riddoch

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346068.1485161621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Test firing of a Trident missile. Picture: MoD Crown Copyright/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

“For many decades, we’ve … subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own.” In his 15-minute-long speech, Trump also made no mention of Nato, Britain, Europe or the European Union.

It was a shockingly clear statement of the new President’s foreign priorities. Apart from eliminating ISIS and cosying up to Israel -- there are none. And in case anyone still failed to catch his drift, the Donald spelled it out in two words.

“A new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital …. America first.”

Of course, this comes on top of Trump’s recent reference to Nato as “obsolete,” the praise heaped on Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the admission that he doesn’t really care if the European Union survives. If European politicians were nervous about President Trump’s intentions, Saturday’s speech must have pushed them close to the edge.

And then came the weekend news that a Trident missile misfired off the coast of America just before the Commons vote to renew the nuclear weapons system in July 2016 – a damaging revelation that was allegedly kept from the public and MPs by a Whitehall cover up.

Theresa May, grilled on the subject by Andrew Marr on BBC1, was supremely unconvincing. Asked four times if she knew about the test failure at the time of the Commons debate, the Prime Minister insisted the debate had focused on the weapons system’s renewal not its efficacy and then tried to change the subject onto Jeremy Corbyn’s repeated Trident flip-flops. Her answers were weak, evasive and surprising – why didn’t she just play the usual “confidentiality of national security” joker card and close the discussion down?

The story wasn’t gathering much traction until this unexpected Prime Ministerial wobble.

Now the SNP’s Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP has demanded that Theresa May comes to parliament this week and tell MPs exactly what - and when - she knew about the Trident malfunction and her government’s alleged cover up. Labour and the Lib Dems have echoed that call.

Angus Robertson said: “Trident is obscenely expensive and morally repugnant. If we now have to add that there is a real possibility it is unreliable and unsafe - then there must be massive question marks about its viability.”

So will Theresa May be forced to eat humble pie in the Commons before jetting off to assume the dubious title of being the first foreign Head of State to meet President Trump? Not likely. But at a time when the different political cultures of Scotland and Britain are laid bare over Brexit, she won’t want to hand the SNP another rod to beat her government with – especially when 58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs voted against Trident renewal, yet the project went ahead. Every opinion poll shows the Scottish public favours scrapping Trident, and in 2007 Holyrood voted by 71 to 16 (with 39 abstentions) against renewal.

The Scottish Government estimated the £350 million budget for preparatory work could have financed 8,333 nurses, 9,722 teachers, 43 primary schools, 18 secondary schools or 18 community hospitals.

And of course £350m is only a tiny fraction of the £200 billion total final spend.

Restarting arguments like this won’t help Theresa May as she approaches a likely rebuff by the Supreme Court this week forcing her to let the Scottish Parliament have a formal say in the conduct and content of Brexit negotiations.

She certainly won’t want the misfire incident to connect with Donald Trump’s snarling hostility towards Europe and force a rethink of national security.

Yet that is precisely what must happen after this explosive chain of events.

In future, America isn’t coming to the rescue of Europe and now a misfire suggests Trident may be unreliable. Does that make the weapons system more essential or highly expendable?

British voters may be heaving a sigh of relief that The Donald has nothing to do with our decision – the problem is, he does.

The UK doesn’t own its Trident missiles, but leases them from the United States. British submarines visit a US Navy base for repairs, maintenance and re-arming.

Indeed, the reason the misfire happened so close to American soil is that Britain has no test site of its own and must try out weapons under American supervision at Cape Canaveral.

Important Trident technology is provided directly by America, British technology is taken from US designs and Britain’s nuclear sites are partly run by the American companies Lockheed Martin and Halliburton.

Some argue this means nothing.

“Just because my car is made in Japan or Germany, doesn’t mean it’s not my car to drive,” says Thomas Karako, a senior fellow with the International Security Program and the Project on Nuclear Issues at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

But Ted Seay, a senior policy consultant at the London-based British American Security Information Council -- who spent three years as part of the US Mission to Nato -- thinks otherwise.

“If you’re thinking about launching nuclear weapons at Russia or perhaps Iran, it has to be fought out around the Nato table. To say that you could launch a unilateral attack over the heads of Nato and Washington might be theoretically true, but practically speaking it’s rubbish.”

Indeed, a White Paper by the Select Committee on Defence in 2006 seems to bear that out and expose the extent of Britain’s nuclear reliance on America.

“One way the USA could show its displeasure [with the UK} would be to cut off the technical support needed to send Trident to sea. The USA has the ability to deny access to GPS (as well as weather and gravitational data) at any time, rendering that form of navigation and targeting useless if the UK were to launch without US approval.”

Prophetic words penned a decade ago when Donald Trump was just managing real estate. Surely, any responsible and responsive government would now rethink the wisdom of backing Trident? Perhaps Mrs May can squeeze it in to discussions in Washington this week.

Or maybe not.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lesley Riddoch"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346068.1485161621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346068.1485161621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Test firing of a Trident missile. Picture: MoD Crown Copyright/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Test firing of a Trident missile. Picture: MoD Crown Copyright/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346068.1485161621!/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/world/theresa-may-and-donald-trump-will-hold-trade-talks-this-week-1-4346041","id":"1.4346041","articleHeadline": "Theresa May and Donald Trump ‘will hold trade talks this week’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485157543000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May and Donald Trump will hold talks this week on slashing tariffs on existing trade between Britain and the United States and making it easier for workers to move between the two countries, it has been reported.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346040.1485157485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump and Theresa May, who will hold talks this week on slashing tariffs on existing trade between Britain and the United States. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister will be the first foreign leader to meet the US president on Friday and is likely to press the case for a post-Brexit free trade agreement between the two countries.

Moves could be made to cut tariffs on existing imports and exports and on easing restrictions on Britons who want to work in the US and vice-versa, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Mrs May has already said the pair could look at removing barriers to trade before striking a formal agreement once the UK becomes free to do so after Brexit.

The PM has also insisted Mr Trump was looking for “early” talks on a free trade deal despite concerns over his “America first” strategy.

She told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “He and people around him have also spoken of the importance of a trade arrangement with the United Kingdom and that is something they are looking to talk to us about at an early stage, and I would expect to be able to talk to him about that alongside the other issues I will be discussing with him when I am in Washington.”

READ MORE - Donald Trump reveals opinion of Scotland through Twitter

The Oval Office summit will also examine global issues like tackling terrorism, the Syrian civil war, relations with Russia and the role of Nato.

Mrs May told Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday that during the meeting she would emphasise the importance of the military alliance for collective defence and highlight the need for it to respond to modern threats like terrorism and cyber security.

The PM and Mr Trump could also make the case for other Nato countries to match their commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.

Downing Street said the talks would mainly be an opportunity to “get to know one another” and “establish the basis for a productive working relationship”.

Mrs May has stressed she will tell Mr Trump when she finds his behaviour “unacceptable” - a criticism she has already levelled at him over his suggestion that his fame allowed him to grab women “by the pussy”.

The president’s numerous highly controversial remarks about women inspired more than a million people to join anti-Trump women’s marches in Britain, the US and around the world on Saturday.

Mrs May said being the first world leader to hold talks with Mr Trump is the “biggest statement” she can make about the global role of women.

The Prime Minister will travel to the US on Thursday when she will become the first foreign serving head of state or government to address the annual congressional Republican retreat, when it gathers for its 30th anniversary in Philadelphia.

Her early meeting with the president will be seen as a major coup following an uneasy start to relations with Mr Trump following November’s election.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346040.1485157485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346040.1485157485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Trump and Theresa May, who will hold talks this week on slashing tariffs on existing trade between Britain and the United States. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump and Theresa May, who will hold talks this week on slashing tariffs on existing trade between Britain and the United States. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346040.1485157485!/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/ex-snp-spin-doctor-kevin-pringle-yes-vote-would-win-in-2018-1-4346026","id":"1.4346026","articleHeadline": "Ex-SNP spin doctor Kevin Pringle: Yes vote would win in 2018","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485154835000 ,"articleLead": "

ALEX Salmond’s former spin doctor has predicted a Yes vote would triumph if a referendum for Scottish independence was held in 2018.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346025.1485154774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kevin Pringle. Picture: Toby Williams/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Kevin Pringle said he believed the Yes side would be successful next year due to the “Brexit situation”.

Speaking on BBC Sunday Politics Scotland Pringle, now partner at PR firm CharlotteStPartners, said support for Yes was already at 45 per cent, a more advantageous starting point than the first indyref vote, where support started at 30 per cent.

READ MORE - Nicola Sturgeon: I’m not bluffing about indyref2

Pringle said: “My own view is that it will be much easier to get people back again - if you like, the straight Yessers - and even if that is all that happened then the referendum, if there’s to be another, would be a Yes.

“I think the framing of the referendum would be the Brexit situation, but what Nicola Sturgeon would be keen to do it put Brexit in the context of the democratic deficit which Scotland faces.

“What Brexit is is an extreme example of the democratic deficit. Since 2010 there has been a UK government with the support of just one Member of Parliament in Scotland.

“The English equivalent of that would be England being governed by a party which has the support of nine MPs out of 533 - obviously ridiculous and could never happen,” he added.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Sarah Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346025.1485154774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346025.1485154774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kevin Pringle. Picture: Toby Williams/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kevin Pringle. Picture: Toby Williams/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346025.1485154774!/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/uk/brian-monteith-nicola-sturgeon-caught-in-her-own-groundhog-day-1-4346024","id":"1.4346024","articleHeadline": "Brian Monteith: Nicola Sturgeon caught in her own Groundhog Day","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485153800000 ,"articleLead": "

The First Minister is caught in her own Groundhog Day. She goes to bed every night hoping that tomorrow will be different, but every morning she wakens up to find we are still leaving the European Union.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346023.1485153739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

How often does the First Minister have to set her alarm clock before she realises that the only way to be released from her nightmare is to seek redemption by accepting the truth; more of the Scottish electorate voted to stay in the UK than voted to stay in the EU?

Only then will she find she is released from the curse of her own intemperate and Pavlovian responses and at last free to spend time on her day job of saving education and helping Scotland’s stagnating economy to grow.

The Prime Minister had told us on Tuesday that the UK will not seek to remain in the EU’s single market or its customs union but will instead look to agree a new trade deal that goes as far as possible to ensure there is little lost by our departure from them. The price? Only the saving of over £10 billion a year, control over our laws, taxes and borders together with the ability to strike free trade deals with the rest of the world where the real economic growth is.

The question for the increasingly marginalised and irrelevant First Minister is what does she do now? Does she just demand a second independence referendum irrespective of the dire consequences to her party and the independence movement? Theresa May might just agree to one under the condition it is held after the Brexit negotiations are completed, which would be a reasonable caveat that Scots could be expected to see the sense in.

Or does she continue the wholly negative murmuring campaign that a second referendum is still on the table when she can see it is undermining business confidence and damaging the Scottish economy?

If, as she says, it is not right to hold a referendum in 2017 then why should it become right in 2018 – as Alex Salmond claims – when the Brexit negotiations will only be half completed at best? It is not as if the EU’s single market is worth the constant political humiliation. Without trying too hard I can think of at least a dozen reasons Scotland would be better off outside the single market and instead simply trading with it like normal countries around the world.

Firstly, there is no EU single market in Scotland’s most important industry, financial services. Regulatory and tax threats to financial services emanating from the EU will not just hit the City but Scottish financial services too.

Secondly, the EU single market is not complete, it is a sham. One manufacturer pointed out to me how it was easier to export to the United States through only its Federal 
Drug Administration but it faced 27 such bureaus when exporting to the EU.

Next, you do not have to be in the single market to trade with it, which is what the US, China and Japan do – but being outside it allows you to trade on better terms with the rest of the world – where the real growth is.

Research by banking consultant Bob Lyddon has demonstrated that the UK loses £10bn in Corporation Tax revenues to Ireland and Luxembourg because of legal tax avoidance schemes that are only possible from inside the single market. Scotland’s share is that lost revenue is £1.0bn.

Furthermore, the same single market dodges mean the UK loses business turnover, investment and high value jobs also worth £10bn – meaning a lower GDP, lower output per capita and less personal and consumption taxes which Scotland would also share in.

Then there’s the Netherlands model of tax dodging within the single market whereby shell companies fly under a Dutch flag of convenience to ship their profits out of the EU to places such as the Dutch Antilles where taxes are negligible.

The branch offices of multinationals are located in Dutch cities using well-rewarded local lawyers, bringing investment, conspicuous consumption and tax revenues to the cost of the UK, and Scotland. Only being outside the single market can end this scam.

Did you know the UK has liabilities to EU financial institutions of £1.1 trillion and can only be released from these if it leaves all EU institutions including the Single Market? Scotland’s share of those liabilities is £110bn – how would Nicola Sturgeon propose to underwrite those, whether Scotland is inside or outside the UK but inside the single market? Do you want to reduce red tape? Fewer than 10 per cent of Scotland’s 362,000 businesses export to the EU single market but all 100 per cent are subject to its laws and regulations. That too would end.

Customs Duties paid on imports from the rest of the world accounted for £3.1bn last year but are sent directly to the EU less a 25 per cent agency fee the Treasury keeps. After leaving the single market the whole £3.1bn would come to the UK with the nominal Scottish share being £310m.

Without leaving the single market Scotland cannot plan an immigration policy that attracts the best skilled people by treating everyone equally irrespective of which country they come from; nor be accountable for its own laws through being outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; or share in the saving of £10bn in net payments to the EU.

The UK and Scotland’s future is with the growing markets – by 2050 UN demographic projections show behind the EU’s tariff barrier there will be 54 million fewer working age people while beyond it the Commonwealth alone will have 825 million more. Go figure.

Then there’s the world’s poorest African and Asian countries we could now trade with, ending their poverty caused by EU customs duties. That’s a moral as well as an economic reason, making fourteen for starters.

Last week a YouGov poll showed that following her speech a majority of Scots backed Theresa May’s approach to leave the single market and Customs union, control immigration and keep the Irish common travel area. Nicola sturgeon should take note, or tomorrow and forever she will be trapped in her Groundhog Day from being unable to accept reality.

l Brian Monteith is director of 
Global Britain

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4346023.1485153739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4346023.1485153739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4346023.1485153739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-trump-starts-picking-fights-1-4345890","id":"1.4345890","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Trump starts picking fights","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485151200000 ,"articleLead": "

Barely a day into his presidency and Donald Trump has fired a ­broadside – another one – at the US media. That his grievance is over the ­numbers of people who attended his inauguration ­compared with the attendance at Barack Obama’s inauguration borders on the absurd when viewing photographs of the crowds at both events. But issue has been taken, despite photo evidence appearing to show many more people at the Obama event.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345889.1485117549!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told assembled reporters that Trump's had been the best attended inauguration ever, although his figures did not add up to that, and said the press would be held to account. Picture: Alex Wong/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Now the US president has accused the media of dishonesty, while also belittling – by ­Twitter of course – the massive turnout in protest marches and gatherings on Saturday over women’s rights.

It is nothing other than worrying when the most powerful man in the Western world is arguing about how many attended his ­inauguration, and then claiming that his own estimate is right, without offering any ­evidence to support his contention. Indeed, all independent evidence and estimates of the numbers who attended strongly suggest that he is heavily in the wrong.

After the many provocative, and at times contradictory, statements made by Trump in his hugely controversial election ­campaign, there had been hope, albeit slim, that proximity to the highest office would see a moderation in his rhetoric and some attempt to strike a placatory, unifying note in his inaugural address. Quite the opposite proved the case.

Now come ominous signs that a siege ­mentality may already be setting in. That in turn suggests a presidency that from the very first is set to be at war against all and any – the Press, his own party, Congress and the ­governments of other nations, who fail to bow before him. It’s not a promising start.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345889.1485117549!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345889.1485117549!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told assembled reporters that Trump's had been the best attended inauguration ever, although his figures did not add up to that, and said the press would be held to account. Picture: Alex Wong/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told assembled reporters that Trump's had been the best attended inauguration ever, although his figures did not add up to that, and said the press would be held to account. Picture: Alex Wong/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345889.1485117549!/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/pro-independence-campaigners-to-march-again-in-glasgow-1-4345751","id":"1.4345751","articleHeadline": "Pro-independence campaigners to march again in Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485109051000 ,"articleLead": "

Pro-independence campaigners are to stage another march through Glasgow in protest against “perpetual Tory Government and London rule”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345749.1485108992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pro-independence campaigners are to stage another march through Glasgow city centre in April. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

The All Under One Banner group, which describes its core aim as staging marches “at periodical intervals until Scotland is free”, is inviting the public to gather in Kelvingrove Park on Saturday, April 29 before marching to Glasgow Green.

A rally will be held at the city centre park following the march’s end.

The organisers held a similar event in George Square in June last year, which Police Scotland said attracted around 3000 marchers.

In a statement posted online, All Under One Banner said: “Together we will once again say loud and proud that Scotland is ours and ours alone, that independence has been inevitable from the moment the Union was ramshackled upon us 310 years ago (sic) by those ‘bought and sold for English Gold’ who were enthralled by their imperial masters; that independence has been imminently guaranteed by theaAwakening of the Scottish electorate during 2013-2014 at Indyref1; that there is nothing that can be done to stop this runaway-train reaching its destination.”

READ MORE: Could a second Scottish independence referendum be called?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345749.1485108992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345749.1485108992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Pro-independence campaigners are to stage another march through Glasgow city centre in April. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pro-independence campaigners are to stage another march through Glasgow city centre in April. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345749.1485108992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345750.1485108994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345750.1485108994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The All Under One Banner group held its last march in June 2016. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The All Under One Banner group held its last march in June 2016. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345750.1485108994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/queen-s-chaplain-quits-over-glasgow-qur-an-reading-row-1-4345703","id":"1.4345703","articleHeadline": "Queen’s chaplain quits over Glasgow Qur’an reading row","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485106498000 ,"articleLead": "

A royal chaplain to the Queen has resigned his position to allow himself free reign to criticise the decision to allow a reading of Muslim Holy book the Qur’an in a Glasgow Church.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345786.1485106441!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow's West End belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church. Picture: Wikicommons"} ,"articleBody": "

The Reverend Dr Gavin Ashenden spoke out in national media after a passage from the Qur’an was read during an Epiphany service at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow earlier this month, describing the decision as an “assault on Jesus” and saying it had caused “serious offence” to Christians attending the service.

The Cathedral, which has received a number of offensive online messages since the service, has stood by its decision, which its says was aimed at promoting understanding between the two faiths.

The row came over the fact that the reading, by Muslim law student Madinah Javed, from the chapter of Maryam (Mary) described the birth of Christ but also made reference to the Islamic belief that Jesus is not the son of God and should not be worshipped.

The Muslim faith regards Jesus as a prophet, but he is not considered to have the divine nature prescribed by the Christian faith.

Rev Dr Ashenden, who had held the post for nine years, said he felt it was more important to be able to speak out than to retain his role, adding that the Queen needed to be “above positions”.

He said: “It is sometimes assumed, wrongly by under-informed people, that if a chaplain to the Queen speaks out on an issue of public importance, that he does so because he has the Queen’s ear. But of course none of the chaplains do have the Queen’s ear, and if they did, they would never say so.

“But, it does the Queen no good at all for it to be assumed by any of the public, or the fourth estate, that she does have a view that is being expressed by someone connected with her.”

He added: “Because I think it a higher and more compelling duty to speak out on behalf of the faith, than to retain a public honour which precludes me doing so at this time, I resigned my post.”

The cathedral’s provost, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, has previously defended the decision to allow the reading, saying attempts for the two faiths to work together have “led to deepening friendships locally, to greater awareness of the things we hold in common and to dialogue about the ways in which we differ”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "jane.bradley@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345786.1485106441!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345786.1485106441!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow's West End belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church. Picture: Wikicommons","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow's West End belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church. Picture: Wikicommons","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345786.1485106441!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/scotrail-boss-denies-exit-is-linked-to-poor-performance-1-4345740","id":"1.4345740","articleHeadline": "ScotRail boss denies exit is linked to poor performance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485118336000 ,"articleLead": "

ScotRail Alliance chief Phil Verster has condemned the linking of his surprise departure with poor train performance as “totally wrong”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345739.1485100052!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Transport minister Humza Yousaf and ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster inspecting a new ScotRail Class 385 electric train last month. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

It came as transport minister Humza Yousaf accused Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale of a “bare-faced lie” in claiming punctuality had got worse since he ordered improvements.

ScotRail parent firm Abellio announced on Friday that Mr Verster was stepping down to lead a new rail project in England.

The news followed months of intense scrutiny for the train operator since it was ordered to implement an improvement plan after performance fell below acceptable levels.

The official measure of punctuality, the “moving annual average” [MAA] has improved to 90 per cent since then, but is still 1.1 percentage points below par.

Mr Verster is to become managing director of East West Rail - a new line between Oxford and Cambridge - after being approached last year.

Mr Verster told The Scotsman that media coverage linking his decision to quit with ScotRail’s performance was incorrect.

He said: “It’s totally wrong and looking to sensationalise my decision to take on a new challenge”.

Mr Verster said on Friday his new job was “great for me and my family”, which is understood to refer to his wife being keen to move back south.

They moved from York to Edinburgh after he becoming managing director of the ScotRail Alliance with Network Rail in 2015.

Nigel Harris, managing editor of RAIL magazine, said: “He’s not a quitter. I do not believe for a second he’s off with his tail between his legs.”

Mr Harris said Mr Verster would have been attracted by the rare and “genuinely exciting” new role at East West, where control of trains and tracks will be more integrated anywhere than since privatisation 20 years ago.

Scottish Conservatives transport spokesman Liam Kerr said: “Phil Verster may well be seeking a fresh challenge but events of the past week would strongly suggest there was friction between ScotRail management and the SNP Government.

“Humza Yousaf now needs to ensure this upheaval at the top level does not impact further on service delivery.

“Rail users will care little for who is at the helm of ScotRail - they simply want to see improvements and they want the trains to run on time.”

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby said: “Passengers will make up their own mind.

“The reality is the man ultimately in charge of the performance on Scotland’s railways is Humza Yousaf - who frequently tried to talk tough about ScotRail to deflect attention away from himself, and then produced a back of a fag packet fares plan which ScotRail admitted they had not costed.

“The buck clearly stops with the transport minister.

“With uncosted fares plans, poor performance, and the ScotRail boss moving on, Humza Yousaf must be feeling the pressure.”

Mr Yousaf tweeted that a claim by Ms Dugdale that “things have got even worse” since the improvement plan was a “bare-faced lie”.

He said: “Last period saw 6 per cent improvement on PPM [public performance measure] & improvement on contractual MAA + reduction in skip-stopping.”

However, Labour demanded an apology.

A spokesman said: “He agreed a ScotRail improvement plan when PPM was 90.7 per cent. The figure for the last four weeks is 89.7 per cent.

“It is simply unacceptable for a minister to falsely accuse an opposition leader of lying.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALASTAIR DALTON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345739.1485100052!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345739.1485100052!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Transport minister Humza Yousaf and ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster inspecting a new ScotRail Class 385 electric train last month. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Transport minister Humza Yousaf and ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster inspecting a new ScotRail Class 385 electric train last month. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345739.1485100052!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-row-over-nuclear-missile-is-more-heat-than-light-1-4345888","id":"1.4345888","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Row over nuclear missile is more heat than light","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485128700000 ,"articleLead": "

Reports that a Trident missile, a critical component of the UK’s defence system, veered off course during a test last June cannot but be of ­concern. That the incident took place before a crucial Commons vote on renewal of the ­Trident system and that Prime Minister Theresa May declined under questioning yesterday to say whether she knew about the reported misfire has provided further ammunition to opponents of the project.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345887.1485117290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May refused to answer the BBC's Andrew Marr when asked when she was told about a problem with a Trident missile launch. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

An assurance that measures have been taken to rectify any faults that may have been found in the missile’s firing system is certainly due. But it is one thing to seek clarification. It is quite another for those fundamentally opposed to the UK’s nuclear defence to seize upon the possible failure of one unarmed ­missile to relaunch their opposition to all nuclear weapons in principle.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, a long standing opponent of Trident, has called for a “full disclosure” of what happened while the ­Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament described reports of a misfire as a “very ­serious failure”. Its general secretary Kate Hudson declared: “There’s absolutely no doubt that this would have impacted on the debate in Parliament.” Others have called for “full disclosure” – a relatively anodyne response were not the detailed workings of our nuclear capability a matter of obvious and compelling national security.

These responses are little more than facile opportunism. The House of Commons voted decisively – by 472 votes to 117 – to back nuclear weapons. Does anyone really think that this one incident casts doubt over our ability to safely own and effectively deploy a nuclear deterrent? Of course not. Will this one ­incident change many people’s minds about the morality of weapons of mass destruction? Of course not.

The cause of the reported malfunction remains secret. Such secrecy is fully understandable and this incident does not merit the risks to national security that any inquiry would bring.

The Trident system was acquired in the early 1980s as a replacement for the Polaris missile system, which the UK had possessed since the 1960s. It came into use in the 1990s. The ­system has so far operated without incident but the current generation of four submarines will begin to end their working lives some time in the late 2020s. To the extent that there was any serious malfunction, the impact of such a fault on a Commons vote for renewal could well have cut both ways, with the argument for renewal if anything strengthened.

Any detailed discussion would be likely to prove awkward for Labour. Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith says the party is committed to renewing the Trident system but its leader Jeremy Corbyn - a longstanding CND campaigner - wants to change the party’s position and has launched a defence review to examine the issue.

In the meantime further comment should surely await a statement from Defence ­Secretary Michael Fallon, who will be asked for a further comment on the matter.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345887.1485117290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345887.1485117290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prime Minister Theresa May refused to answer the BBC's Andrew Marr when asked when she was told about a problem with a Trident missile launch. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May refused to answer the BBC's Andrew Marr when asked when she was told about a problem with a Trident missile launch. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345887.1485117290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/dani-garavelli-women-on-the-march-nurse-their-wrath-1-4345363","id":"1.4345363","articleHeadline": "Dani Garavelli: Women on the march nurse their wrath","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485100588000 ,"articleLead": "

Those tempted to despair after Trump’s inauguration should follow the example of demonstrators across the globe, writes Dani Garavelli

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345362.1485034478!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters gather outside the US Consulate General in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

In the darkest of times, you take your comfort where you find it. Waking up on Friday morning to see images of #bridgesnotwalls banners draped on river crossings from London to Nepal provided the tiniest glimmer of light; enough to help me overcome the urge to courie under the duvet and pretend that, on the other side of the Atlantic, the worst was not happening. Enough to help me face the Trump inauguration head-on.

Because that’s the temptation, isn’t it? To withdraw from the bleakness of it all. To blank out what you can’t control. Over the past year, the alt-right has ridden the crest of an almighty populist wave that neither righteous passion nor hard-headed reason could prevent from crashing on to the shore. Now, Trump – a man not fit to shine Obama’s shoes – is taking his place in the White House, and shows no sign of moderating his views. Why not just pull the shutters down on the outside world until his four years are up? In various cartoons, even the presidential heads at Mount Rushmore shield their eyes from a future they cannot bear to witness, while the marble Lincoln buries his head in his hands in despair.

Yet – as David Remnick wrote in his brilliant post-election essay, An American Tragedy – “despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honourably and fiercely in the name of American ideals – that is what is left to do.” To give up that struggle – to slink off to a corner and lick our wounds – is to hand Trump control not only of a global superpower, but of our very souls.

Hillary Clinton understands that. How much easier would it have been for her to join the Democrats’ boycott and rail about the injustice of it all: the hacked emails, the health smears, the fact she won the popular vote by almost three million? How tough must it have been to sit and listen to Trump deliver a speech every bit as combative as he gave on the campaign trail? But she turned out, in suffragette white and with her head held high, proving that all the hatred he could muster hadn’t crushed her. Ditto Michelle Obama, who managed to do all that was required as a outgoing First Lady without, for one second, concealing her seditious heart.

This is why yesterday’s women’s marches – and particularly the march on Washington – were so very important. Yes, they were a rallying cry to protect racial, gender and LGBT equality, affordable healthcare, abortion rights, voting rights. But they were also simply a display of strength and solidarity; a defiant refusal to be swept out of our depth on the rip tide of history.

Not everybody got it; some commentators complained that, with no defined aims, the protests were evidence of the “pointlessness of modern feminism”. For a while too it looked as if though they might be sabotaged by internal wrangling. There was the perennial problem of white activists dominating the event – particularly contentious given that Trump attracted 53% of the white female vote. But there were other faultlines too – divisions over sex worker and transgender rights, for example – which were seized on by anti-feminists as proof they couldn’t organise themselves without a cat fight.

But then the 1963 March on Washington – from which this event took its inspiration – was beset by similar controversies. Malcolm X called it the Farce on Washington; Stokely Carmichael of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee said it was “a sanitised, middle-class version of the real black movement”. There were disagreements over its purpose and the extent to which it should criticise the Kennedy administration.

Like their forebears, the organisers of the women’s marches worked together to keep competing factions on board: they made sure white women weren’t taking over, took care to welcome anyone who supported their cause and drew up policy agendas.

In the US, the context for the marches was clear: Trump’s contemptuous attitude towards women – the leaked “grab them by the pussy” videotape, the allegations of sexual assault, the suggestion women should be punished for having abortions – have all raised fears about the impact of his presidency.

But there are also battles to be fought elsewhere; in Kenya, they are preoccupied by women’s land and inheritance rights, FGM and the trafficking of women and children; in France, by the threat the rise of their own right-wing poses to women’s reproductive rights. Even in Scotland, there are issues to be addressed; just last week, the inadequacy of the criminal justice system was laid bare when a judge ruled a woman had indeed been raped by two footballers back in 2011. A victory for sure, but why was the victim forced to pursue her case through the civil courts after the Crown dropped the criminal charges?

More pressing than the specific priorities of individual countries, however, is the desire to come together to show that we will not be swayed by dangerous demagoguery; that we will keep on opposing an ideology we abhor.

The original March on Washington brought a direct political dividend in the shape of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. It is unlikely the women’s marches will have as tangible a legacy. But the thought of hundreds of thousands descending on the National Mall, where hours earlier Trump pledged to put “America First”, 
is nevertheless empowering. Protest keeps progressive values visible. It says: “We are still here and we are still fighting.”

In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton urged her followers not to surrender to despondency. “Let us not grow weary, let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come. And there is more work to do,” she said. We need to nurse our wrath, now, not allow it to ebb away because we have lost faith in our power to change the world. Continuing to call out Trump’s lies and proto-facism may make a difference; it may not. But fighting back is the only way to keep our own identity intact. It’s how we save ourselves.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dani Garavelli"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345362.1485034478!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345362.1485034478!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Protesters gather outside the US Consulate General in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters gather outside the US Consulate General in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345362.1485034478!/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/scottish-fishermen-fear-brexit-bonanza-will-slip-through-the-net-1-4345464","id":"1.4345464","articleHeadline": "Scottish fishermen fear Brexit bonanza will slip through the net","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485098419000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s been like a noose tightening around our necks for years,” says John Buchan, “and now we’re going to be free of it.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345730.1485098356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Trawler men unload their catch at Peterhead fish market.. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Government’s version of events may be that the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union spells economic catastrophe, but Buchan believes otherwise. For him, and others in Scotland’s fishing industry, Brexit means the opportunity to breathe new life into a business that generates sales of half a billion pounds a year but has been under constant pressure since Britain’s entrance into the European Economic Community in 1973.

Buchan, the skipper of the Atlantic Challenger based in Peterhead, first went to sea in 1972, and says European regulations have been a source of problems for the Scottish fishing industry throughout his career.

“We lost control over who could fish our waters and how much they could take. It’s been tough for the industry. My whole life in fishing has been dictated by the Common Fisheries Policy,” says the 62-year-old. He is unequivocal in his view of the CFP, which regulates the fishing of the UK’s coastal waters, including much of the North Sea. “I detest it,” he says.

Buchan, whose son, John Alexander, has taken over the day-to-day running of the Atlantic Challenger, is far from a unique voice on this matter. While others may have issued dire warnings about the impact of Brexit on the economy, Scotland’s fishermen believe that the result of last June’s referendum will help them sustain and grow their industry. Industry leaders speak enthusiastically about the future for the 5,000 Scots whose livelihoods depend on fishing the North Sea.

After Brexit, international law will fundamentally change maritime governance of the waters around the UK. It will become a Coastal State with rights and responsibilities for harvesting the sea in an Exclusive Economic Zone, just as Norway now does.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, says this return of control to the UK is “no small matter”.

“When we joined the EEC, our waters were turned over to everybody, reflecting the reality of membership. Brexit will change that.”

At present, 58 per cent of EU catches in UK waters is taken by non-UK EU nations under the CFP arrangement of common access. The Federation’s position is clear that the rebalancing of fishing rights in favour of the UK must follow Brexit.

To Armstrong and his members, the CFP is “a remote and flawed system characterised by unacceptable compromises”. Brexit, he says, will mean a new fisheries management system tailored for the needs of UK boats working in the North Sea.

Armstrong says the industry has been squeezed by the CFP. It’s not, he says, that the industry is opposed to rules or regulation but that the policy has become so unwieldy as to be unworkable and that it severely limits the amount of fishing UK crews can do.

Armstrong points to Norway – outside the EU and responsible for its own fishing policies – as a model to aspire to. “Like Norway, we could become a world leader. With Brexit, the governance of the ocean will change at a stroke and prevent a completely unbalanced amount of this natural resource being given away.”

Armstrong doesn’t envisage a Klondike-style free-for-all, but a new fit-for-purpose system for the management of the seas around the UK. Brexit presents, he says, “an incredible opportunity”.

The additional resources that can be generated by striking deals for access to UK waters will, says the Federation, mean great investment in fishing fleets, with subsequent returns for the communities that support them.

“These fundamentally beneficial changes, if handled well, have the potential to put the UK once again at the centre of world sustainable seafood production,” says Armstrong,

Mike Park, chief executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, shares Armstrong’s optimism.

Park says: “There was unanimous support for Brexit across the industry. We have lived under the tyranny of bad legislation for a long time.”

But not only has Brexit created a sense of liberation, it has focused the minds of industry leaders on what they are certain will be a brighter future for fishing. Central to that more prosperous era will be a rise in the weight of fish skippers are permitted to catch.

Park points out that last year, French boats landed almost 25,000 tons of fish in UK waters and German vessels took more than 10,000 tons, while Scottish boats landed just 8,000 tons.

“Once we come out of the CFP, we will have control of access. We’ll have a bigger share of the catch and we’ll create the potential for growth. We’ll be in a strong position for negotiation rather than having out quotas dictated.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week reiterated her determination that Scotland should retain its membership of the European single market, even after the UK leaves the EU.

Park is adamant that concessions on control of UK waters must not be part of either Scottish or UK government negotiations over Brexit. “We cannot remain part of the single market if membership of the CFP is part of that negotiation.”

This is also the firm position of Armstrong and the Federation.

“The central issue for UK fisheries is recovery of the right to control access to our own renewable natural resource; there must be no trading away of access to this for non-fishery reasons in Brexit negotiations.

“Securing the UK’s status as a Coastal State with full control of resources and access is the aim of Brexit for fisheries. We are blessed with a world class natural resource which, if properly secured and managed, will be a renewable national asset in perpetuity.”

Park speaks of the frustration skippers feel about the level of bureaucracy that has crept into their industry.

He says: “There are 1,122 regulations associated with the CFP, which is considerably more than in any other topic area. If you need that amount of regulation then something is wrong.

“To put that into perspective, there are only 91 regulations when it comes to freedom of movement for workers and social policy.

“After Brexit, some regulations will naturally fall – the industry already knows what bits do not fit. Drawing up a new model for how waters will be controlled is an ongoing process – we will have a policy ready for the UK’s exit from the EU.”

Simon Collins of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association shares that disdain for the heavy regulation under which skippers must currently operate.

“Even when there is consensus that something is wrong, the system is so big that you cannot easily change things. You could have a great idea with widespread support and it would take ten years to implement. Without the CFP we can be much more reactive.”

And Collins adds that, during any Brexit negotiations, the surrender of any control over UK waters would be unacceptable to his members.

“A negotiation over single market access that saw us remain part of the CFP would be the worst possible outcome. That’s a red line matter for us. We’re immovable on it.

“Right now we want to secure that headline position that we are not going to surrender access to waters as part of any Brexit deal. It is so important that we retain control.”

But control of UK waters doesn’t mean the exclusion of boats from other nations, adds Collins.

“We are not saying that nobody else can come in and fish but that they must give something in return.

“We could roughly double what we take now, and have negotiations, year to year, with others who want to fish our waters.”

Collins concedes that the result of the EU referendum took the fishing industry by surprise.

“We didn’t expect the leave campaign to win and we didn’t appreciate how big the prize was.

“But the truth is that had the UK voted to remain then the future would have been bleak. The CFP contains reforms that would have bankrupted some skippers. Life was a grind for fishermen who have been dealing with some rules that were lethal to their businesses. We’ve been engaged constantly in trying to limit the damage coming from Brussels.”

The SNP has long styled itself the champion of the fishing industry. The party enjoys strong support in many fishing communities and senior figures appear to believe they must now ensure that the CFP is ditched for good.

One SNP MSP said: “Obviously, we want to strike a deal where we retain access to the single market but we can’t lose sight of how important the fishing industry is, not just to Scotland but to us as a party.

“We’ve been the champions of the industry for a long time and there’s no way we can squander that with some kind of deal that upsets fishermen.

“If the UK had voted to remain then this would not have been an issue. As it is, it’s become quite a delicate matter. The industry wanted a Leave vote and they got their wish. That being so, we would be crazy to sell them out.”

So long as political support remains resolute, the future for the Scottish fishing industry would appear to be brighter than it has been for a long time.

John Buchan, preparing on Friday to return from the North Sea to Peterhead, certainly thinks so.

“Brexit is the result the industry needed,” he says. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Euan McColm"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345730.1485098356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345730.1485098356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Trawler men unload their catch at Peterhead fish market.. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Trawler men unload their catch at Peterhead fish market.. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345730.1485098356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345731.1485098359!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345731.1485098359!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Buyers at Peterhead fish market. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Buyers at Peterhead fish market. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345731.1485098359!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/food-sector-faces-terrifying-tariffs-after-hard-brexit-1-4345486","id":"1.4345486","articleHeadline": "Food sector faces ‘terrifying’ tariffs after hard Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485096336000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s food sector has called the prospect of a hard Brexit “terrifying” and has urged the UK government not to walk away from EU negotiations table without a trade deal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345706.1485096265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Scottish exports of red meat worth hundreds of millions of pounds could be “close to wiped out” unless new trading terms are in place on the day the UK leaves the EU, industry leaders warned, along with the prospect of beef and lamb prices plummeting.

Theresa May last week confirmed that the UK would abandon membership of the EU single market and seek to negotiate tariff-free access to the trading bloc instead.

However, she warned EU leaders that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, threatening to walk out of talks unless the UK is given the right terms.

Such a move would see exports fall under WTO trade rules, with highest the tariffs imposed on the food sector. Yesterday industry leaders warned the charges would make exports of many Scottish staples uneconomic and damage the livelihoods of thousands working in farming and agriculture.

Scotland exports around £1bn worth of food each year, four-fifths of which goes to other EU countries.

James Withers, the chief executive of food industry membership body Scotland Food & Drink, said there would be opportunities to export Scottish produce to new markets after Brexit, but warned the imposition of WTO tariffs would be a “major shock” to farmers and food businesses.

“We are massively reliant on the EU market, so continued tariff-free access is absolutely critical to the Scottish economy, and for the food and drink industry,” said Withers.

WTO tariffs on food products are high in order to protect domestic producers and ensure quality standards are kept.

However, under a hard Brexit, UK farmers exporting to Europe could face punishing tariffs despite continuing to meet the same strict rules.

Skimmed milk exported into the EU from outside the single market attracts a tariff of 74 per cent, while butter is slapped with a 63 per cent tariff and cheddar an additional 43 per cent. A tariff of 53 per cent is levied on wheat exports.

Red meat attracts the highest tariffs of all, with charges on frozen beef carcasses reaching 160 per cent of their value.

“At those kinds of prices, it’s difficult to see many European customers being up for trade with the UK,” said Withers.

He cited a working paper by economists at Trinity College Dublin which paints a bleak picture for food producers if the government fails to secure a trade deal or a transition towards one that takes effect the moment the UK leaves the EU.

The paper, published by the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, warns that trade in some food products “comes close to being wiped out” under modelling of the potential impact of WTO tariffs.

Exports of red meat and cereals could be expected to fall by 90 per cent, according to economists Martina Lawless and Edgar Morgenroth.

Overall, UK exports could fall by just under 10 per cent, but food would be the hardest hit. The impact could be even more dramatic as the research assumed the UK would remain a full member of the EU customs union – something which was also ruled out last week, meaning produce could face additional trade barriers and customs checks.

Withers said the paper, which is being independently reviewed for publication in an academic journal, made for “terrifying reading”.

“No deal is a bad deal for the Scottish food industry,” he said. “Over the next 18 months to two years, as well as being about extricating ourselves from 50 years of European ties, there has to be a twin-track approach to getting a new trade deal.” He added that a new tariff-free relationship had to be in place “on the day we leave”, saying: “We really can’t afford any period where we might have to default to WTO trade rules.”

Warnings have also been issued by other bodies representing UK farmers about the likely impact of the hardest form of Brexit.

The UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has warned there would need to be a “massive increase in demand” for heavily exported produce such as lamb to sustain current levels of production, while the NFU Scotland has described the imposition of WTO tariffs as the “most damaging scenario for the profitability of British and Scottish agriculture”.

Recalling the impact on lamb producers from the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak, which saw an export ban imposed, Withers said: “We’ve seen before when we’ve been locked out of export markets, it has a catastrophic impact on the sector. You end up with your whole market saturated. Prices can plummet.”

Farming leaders are fearful of the impact of losing out on lucrative subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which results in about £2.1bn in direct subsidies and £600m in rural development payments. The direct payments made up 55 per cent of farmers’ incomes last year across the UK and are calculated on a flat rate per acre, conditional on fulfilling environmental obligations. Some farmers have called for protectionism, including tariffs, for UK produce. But others feel improved labelling and educating children about farming from a young age is the better approach.

Responding to May’s speech, the chief Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, warned it was “an illusion to suggest that the UK will be permitted to leave the EU but then be free to opt back into the best parts of the European project, for instance by asking for zero tariffs from the single market without accepting the obligations that come with it”.

Britain’s Brexit Secretary, David Davis, said the government will “seek the broadest possible access to it through a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU.”

He said the UK wanted the “most open possible market with the European Union” that allows trade to continue in “as barrier-free a way as possible” after Brexit, he told MPs last week following the Prime Minister’s speech.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345706.1485096265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345706.1485096265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345706.1485096265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345707.1485096270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345707.1485096270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345707.1485096270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345708.1485096278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345708.1485096278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "AYR, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 27: Beef cattle wait to be sold at an auction in Ayr. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "AYR, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 27: Beef cattle wait to be sold at an auction in Ayr. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345708.1485096278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/alcohol-free-bar-dry-opens-in-stockbridge-1-4345155","id":"1.4345155","articleHeadline": "Alcohol free bar DRY opens in Stockbridge","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485089612000 ,"articleLead": "

FOR some, the idea of a night out with no alcohol is ludicrous.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345151.1485089538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

But in Stockbridge, DRY Edinburgh is on a mission to prove you don’t need beer or wine to have a good time – all you need is great company.

Among birch trees, red walls and oriental decor, around 100 people gathered for the opening of the Capital’s first alcohol-free bar this week.

The “pub”, on North West Circus Place, offers customers a large range of mocktails, and alcohol-free craft beers, wine and spirits.

And at weekend, guests are in for a treat, as the owners have organised a programme of entertainment including quiz nights, musical performances and table tennis leagues.

Jamie Walker, a father-of-four from the city’s New Town, came up with the idea for 
the unusual venture after spending several years in South Africa.

Read More: Courtney Cameron: Scotland was not always so booze soaked

The 48-year-old previously owned the Adelphi Whisky company but after he developed a drinking problem, he moved to Cape Town for rehabilitation.

Jamie has now been dry for 13 years and wants to use his experience to show others alcohol is not an essential element to a good night out.

He said: “The philosophy behind DRY is that it is possible to go out and have a grown-up fun evening in an alcohol-free environment.

“Our customers don’t need to feel pressured into drinking alcohol. We don’t want to 
create a virtuous, hair-shirt experience; but rather a relaxed vibe where you can meet friends and share delicious food, drink and good conversation.”

Jamie and his childhood friend, Tertia Bailey, set up DRY in response to a trend for non-alcoholic beverages among increasingly health-conscious millennials.

Recent research by brewing giant ABInbev found that 41 per cent of young people are pursuing a healthier lifestyle by actively cutting down on alcohol.

Some of the beers on offer include Becks Blue and Carlsberg.

A selection of alcohol free ciders, including Kopparberg, and wines are also on offer.

Jamie added: “We were really pleased with our opening night – we had a fantastic turnout.

“We hope to attract all ages of people. We are the first bar of this kind in the city.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345151.1485089538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345151.1485089538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345151.1485089538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345152.1485089542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345152.1485089542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345152.1485089542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345153.1485089549!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345153.1485089549!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345153.1485089549!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345154.1485089554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345154.1485089554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Owners Jamie Walker and Tertia Bailey. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Owners Jamie Walker and Tertia Bailey. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345154.1485089554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/alex-salmond-tories-are-tearing-apart-union-1-4345637","id":"1.4345637","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond: Tories are tearing apart Union","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1485086779000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK is being “destroyed” by the Tories’ hardline approach to Brexit and time is running out for Theresa May to avoid a second Scottish independence referendum, Alex Salmond has warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345636.1485086719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Salmond: time running out"} ,"articleBody": "

The former First Minister said May’s plan for a hard Brexit is undermining Scottish devolution by freezing out SNP demands to keep Scotland in the lucrative EU single market.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond reacts to Donald Trump’s inaugural address

Nicola Sturgeon warned last week that a second referendum is now “all but inevitable” as UK government ministers appeared to rule out the prospect of a special deal which could let Scotland stay in the single market while the rest of the country leaves.

“As things stand they are systematically destroying their own notion of the Union as a proper partnership, as well as ripping to shreds the promises made to the people of Scotland about the status and powers of the Scottish Parliament during and after the 2014 independence referendum,” Salmond said of the Tories’ approach.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond predicts indyref2 in autumn 2018

“It will be for the Scottish Parliament and people to respond to this new reality of hard Tory Brexit.”

Salmond added: “Time is running out for the Tory government to demonstrate that they’re in any way serious about Scotland being an equal partner in the UK.”

The EU referendum in June saw 62 per cent of Scots vote to Remain, but the weight of votes south of the border swung the result in favour of Leave.

Salmond, now the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman, said May’s approach will mean a “race to the bottom” in terms of tax, rights and regulations if the UK does not get its way in its negotiations with the EU.

A UK government spokeswoman pledged to “work closely” in EU negotiations and get the “best deal for Scotland and all parts of the UK as we leave the EU”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4345636.1485086719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4345636.1485086719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Salmond: time running out","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Salmond: time running out","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4345636.1485086719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}