Pensions Scotland's Economy

Scottish Business Buzz (22.03.17)

Written by Rhona Middler

Record high for Scotland’s food and drink exports 

Scottish food and drink exports rose to a record £5.5bn last year, according to government figures.

Exports to EU countries were worth £2.3bn, up £133m, which the Scottish government said highlighted the significance of Scotland remaining in the single market.

Whisky exports were worth £4bn, up £153m (4%) from 2015, while fish and seafood sales were up £156m to £759m.

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said the latest export figures were “fantastic news” and a new high for Scottish food and drink”.

He said: “This industry is Scotland’s fastest-growing major sector. Yet we have huge ambitions to grow further.

David Williamson of the Scotch Whisky Association said it was clear the Scottish food and drink was “leading in the way” in terms of the country’s economic and export performance, “But we need support from governments as we deal with the challenges and opportunities ahead, including Brexit.”

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Scottish government grants planning consent for 12MW Dounreay Tri floating wind farm

The Scottish government has granted planning consent for the 12MW Dounreay Tri floating wind farm demonstrator project off the Caithness coast.

Located about 9km off Dounreay, the project is being developed by Swedish engineering company Hexicon. It is planned to be commissioned in June 2018.

Featuring two turbines, the project aims to demonstrate Hexicon’s semi-submersible foundation for offshore wind power.

Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: “Once operational, this demonstrator project will help to develop this pioneering technology and cement Scotland’s reputation at the forefront of innovation in the renewables sector.”

Wheelhouse noted that the latest consent for project increases the Scottish Government’s approved floating offshore wind capacity to 92MW, which is enough to power almost 60,000 homes.

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Housebuilder Bellway says Scottish independence wouldn’t impact growth strategy 

Housebuilder Bellway has said Scottish independence would not impact its growth strategy north of the Border.

Speaking as the company revealed its business in Scotland delivered more completions in the six months to January 31 than any other part of the UK, group finance director Keith Adey said there were strong, positive market conditions ahead of the prospect of a second referendum.

“If you do end up with a scenario where Scotland becomes a different country to the UK, to separate that, it’s so embedded I can’t see how it becomes structurally a different country to invest in, in the way it’s different to invest in France,” he said. “The barriers to entry can’t be that great.”

 Despite uncertainty never being welcome Mr Adey added: “Of course it has a degree of uncertainty for people but we’re still investing in Scotland and Scotland is doing very well for us. Demand is strong, we’re buying land and reservations are coming through well. We’ve got a good business so I don’t see how the referendum will change that.”

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Gear up for cyclists as market is worth £345million to Scots economy 

Tourism businesses are being urged to capitalise on the country’s growing reputation for visitors coming to Scotland for cycling breaks.

A new Leisure Cycling Tourism Guide launched by Sustrans Scotland, offers advice and guidance on making businesses more accommodating for cyclists.

It comes as research shows that more than 152,000 tourist visits to Scotland each year are made by holidaymakers who spend at least a day cycling. But of the 7, 104 accommodation listings on the Visit Scotland website, fewer than one in seven are presented as cycle friendly.

John Lauder, national director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “In order to realise the full potential of cycling opportunities in Scotland, it is vital for businesses to understand the needs of leisure cyclists. The cycling market is thriving and has the potential to become one of Scotland’s top tourism activities.”

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 Have you seen our Scotland the Brief infographics? 

Helping you to understand Scotland’s economy, where Scotland is doing well and where it could do better with the right policies and powers for Scotland’s unique needs as a nation.


About the author

Rhona Middler

Rhona was Business for Scotland's Engagement Executive and Events Manager.

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