Scottish Business Briefing – December 12th 2013

WELCOME to’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.


RBS pays out £61m to US for breaking sanction

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The Royal Bank of Scotland last night agreed to pay £61 million ($100m) to authorities in the United States following an investigation into alleged illegal transactions with Iran, Sudan, Burma and Cuba.The bank has entered into agreements with the US Federal Reserve, the US Treasury Department and the New York State Department of Financial Services which will see it pay the amount to settle the sanctions-busting allegations with American authorities.


Swinney caps business rates rise at 2 per cent

Business rates are being capped in Scotland to help deliver a “competitive advantage” over the rest of the UK, finance secretary John Swinney told MSPs yesterday. Annual increases to rates will not rise above 2 per cent, in line with a decision by Chancellor George Osborne for businesses in England and Wales. The cap was announced as Mr Swinney set out the Scottish Government’s funding package of almost £10.6 billion for local councils over the next year.


Families hit by fracking should be fully compensated, urges expert

PEOPLE whose homes and land are affected by unconventional gas developments such as fracking should be fully compensated for the value lost on their properties, a leading energy economist has claimed. Speaking at a Scotsman conference examining the shale gas revolution, Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University claimed the planning system is weighted in favour of developers rather than those affected.


Ultimo enjoys 80% festive lift

LINGERIE brand Ultimo has won a contract to supply its brassieres to online retailer as it today unveils an 80 per cent jump in internet sales through over the past week. The East Kilbride-based firm – which lists department store chain Debenhams among its clients – will also launch its Christmas collection, modelled by Argentine actress Luisana Lopilato.


Architects hand control of firm to employees

A Scottish architecture practice that has worked on prestige projects like the masterplan for the enlarged Glasgow Caledonian University has become employee-owned ahead of a push for growth in the UK and Europe. David Page and Brian Park have sold their eponymous practice to an Employee Benefit Trust. The sale has allowed the practice’s 40 employees to acquire a stake in the future of the business, founded in 1981.

Activist presses FirstGroup to pull back from US

Transport giant FirstGroup is under pressure from an activist shareholder to split off its US assets and invest more in its UK bus and rail operations. New York-based Sandell Asset Management, which owns 3.1 per cent of the Aberdeen firm, said floating off its yellow school bus division and selling the iconic Greyhound business would drive “strategic performance and unlock shareholder value”.

WELCOME to’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.