Scottish Business Buzz

Scottish Business Buzz (18.10.17)

Scotland and the EU, Economy
Written by Michelle Rodger

Leading economist Professor Anton Muscatelli has warned Scottish firms will begin a jobs exodus within months to avoid the Brexit “cliff-edge”.

Prof Muscatelli, the principal of Glasgow University who chairs the Scottish Government’s panel of experts on Brexit, said businesses would move evermore operations abroad early next year to prepare for a “no deal Brexit”, which would mean the UK leaving the EU without a trade agreement.

His warnings have been backed by leading voices in the financial services industry, which said it would not bring relocated jobs back if there was a last-minute Brexit deal.

Writing for the Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER) think tank, Prof Muscatelli said: “British business are quietly, but much more firmly than before, explaining to the UK government that time is running out.

“For them the cliff-edge is not March 2019, but early 2018 when contingency plans have to be executed.

“Most financial services companies have made these contingency plans, and many tell me that they are stepping these up plans from ‘Brexit-min’, where they were moving some minimal operations to take advantage of being inside the single market in the case of a ‘cliff-edge’, to ‘Brexit-max’, i.e. plans to scale up operations significantly in Frankfurt, Dublin and elsewhere.

“Once gone, these jobs will not come back if, following a cliff-edge Brexit, we seek ex post facto to recover the situation.”

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Intellectual property specialist Marks & Clerk has hailed a consistent rise in the number of UK trade mark applications originating from Scotland – citing it as evidence of the country’s “strong and sustained entrepreneurial spirit”, particularly in the food and drink sector.

Recent data from the Intellectual Property Office shows that trade mark applications from north of the border rose from 2,448 in 2015 to 2,736 in 2016 (11.7%), while registrations increased from 2,013 to 2,288 (13.6%) in the same period.

The data also shows Scotland has outperformed Wales and Northern Ireland in both areas.

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Whisky sales in the UK have plummeted after Chancellor Philip Hammond raised excise duty on a bottle by 36p in March’s Budget.

Official figures show 36.7 million bottles were released for sale in the first six months of 2017, down by one million from the same period in the previous year.

The figures, taken from HM Revenue and Customs, also show the move has been counter-productive, with overall tax take from spirits falling since the Budget increase.

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Springfield Properties has raised £25 million in an initial public offering (IPO) in a placing of 23.5 million shares giving it a market value of £87m.

Shares opened at 111p and closed at 116.5p, a healthy premium to the 106p placing price when the company made its debut on the Alternative Investment Market this week.

The Elgin-based company Current shareholders retain 70% of the stock.

Sandy Adam, executive chairman,  said: “The level of support shown by our new investors on our admission to AIM is gratifying. It is a real endorsement of the work our employees have put into building a strong and growing business.”

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SMEs in the top 10 UK cities are forecast to contribute £241bn to the UK economy by 2025, according to a new study .

The annual research from specialist challenger bank Hampshire Trust Bank, conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), reveals SME contributions to the economy will grow by 19% from 2016 to 2025.  UK SMEs currently contribute £202bn to the economy, with the vast majority of this value originating from companies in London.

Edinburgh and Glasgow are forecast to increase their contribution from £4bn to £5bn and £5bn to £6bn respectively.

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The world’s first floating wind farm is being opened today in waters off the north coast of Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will officially open the Hywind project about 15 miles (25km) off the shore of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, which could provide power for 20,000 homes.

Floating turbines have been installed on about 2.5 square miles (four sq km) of water in the North Sea, where the average wind speed is about 10 metres per second.

Environmental campaigners also welcomed the opening. Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, stating: “With around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource in Scotland, it’s great to see the world’s first floating wind farm inaugurated off our coast.

“By demonstrating the commercial viability of floating wind, Scotland can help to develop the industry in new frontiers and deeper waters.

“With this kind of innovation and investment, and continued political support, Scotland will continue to power towards our target of securing half of all our energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.”

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About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

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