Scottish Business Briefing – November 28th 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: Has pledged to compensate customers affected by IT glitch. Picture: Getty
RBS: Has pledged to compensate customers affected by IT glitch. Picture: Getty


RBS boss hits back at claims staff sabotaged firms

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Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan last night denied its staff had engaged in “systematic” efforts to profit by forcing companies into difficulties. Mr McEwan said the bank was co-operating with regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to set up the probe, although he said it had received no evidence to support such a claim – but that it had done “serious damage” to RBS’s reputation. (Scotsman)


‘No end to austerity in sight’ for Scotland

More austerity is looming for hard-pressed Scots in the years ahead with the prospect of service cuts, mergers and increased charges for services, the public spending watchdog has warned. Bodies such as councils and the NHS have shed 26,000 staff in recent years as swingeing spending cuts have taken their toll, resulting in a £1 billion fall in their pay bill, Audit Scotland says. (Scotsman)


North Sea oil firms scramble for staff

Almost every contractor in the oil and gas sector is planning to hire workers next year, despite the uncertainty created by the vote on independence. A survey by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, published today, found that the referendum is a key issue governing the future of the industry. But it also shows that there is significant optimism in the sector, with a record 98 per cent of North Sea contractor firms looking to recruit in the next 12 months. (Scotsman)

Scotsman Conference

The Fracking Question - 11th December – Edinburgh

Join us as we hear how fracking challenges the basic premise of the UK energy story – resources are declining and prices are rising. The conference will look at the current and potential impacts of fracking on a local and global scale. Visit the Scotsman Conferences website for more details. (The Scotsman Conferences)

Hurdles facing bids for Foster Wheeler

UK ENERGY services groups Amec and Petrofac would face major financial hurdles if they made an acquisitive move for the American energy services group Foster Wheeler, City analysts claim. It is reported that Amec is stalking Foster Wheeler, but that, although informal talks have been held between the two companies, there are no current active discussions. (Scotsman)


Omega eyes launch of HIV-Aids test kit funded by Bill Gates

MEDICAL testing kit maker Omega Diagnostics is poised to update investors before the New Year on the roll-out of an HIV-Aids test funded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The Alva-based firm has been working with the Burnet Institute in Australia to develop a disposable test – called Visitect CD4 – that can be used in African villages and other remote locations to diagnose HIV-Aids without the need for medics to carry heavy equipment. (Scotsman)

Zonal secures deal to supply pub giant M&Bs

THE boss of Zonal Retail Data Systems has hailed a deal to supply the 1600-strong Mitchells & Butlers (M&Bs) pub group as “the biggest hospitality contract in the UK” for a company in its field. Zonal plans to expand its workforce by 10% by adding 30 jobs at its headquarters in the Scottish capital as a result of the multi-million pound win. (Herald)