Scotland's Economy

Scottish Business Buzz (01.03.17)

Aberdein Considine signs UK-wide collaboration deal 

The Scottish headquartered Aberdein Considine has agreed a deal which will allow it to offer legal services across the entire UK for the first time, announcing a long-term collaboration with Northern Ireland’s Wilson Nesbitt.

Rob Aberdein, UK Partner in charge of Lender Services at Aberdein Considine, said the deal with Wilson Nesbitt allows the firm to offer clients the convenience and security of using one firm across all of mainland Britain.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Wilson Nesbitt, which is a leading litigation practise and specialist in recoveries in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We already act for some of the UK’s biggest lenders in Scotland – and this deal brings our customer, compliance and regulatory-focused debt & asset recovery and conveyancing services into the entire UK legal market for the first time.”

The UK-wide expansion has been driven by its work with banks and other lender clients, who are increasingly looking to streamline their recovery panels.

EU pledges £8.4m electricity superhighway between Scotland and Norway 

NorthConnect, a power interconnector project between the Aberdeenshire coast and the west coast of Norway is eligible to receive more than £8.4m to support the multimillion-pound development.

NorthConnect’s deputy project manager, Richard Blanchfield, said:

“The decision demonstrates that the European Union considers the NorthConnect Project important to achieving the strategic goals of increasing security of energy supply, and contributing to sustainable development by integrating renewable energy sources across the European Union.”

NorthConnect was included in the EU’s 10 Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) in 2014 and was later designated as a project of common interest (PCI) – for socio-economic welfare, CO2 reduction and integration of renewables across Europe.

It is ranked among the EU’s most important initiatives and its status makes it eligible to apply for funding from the Connecting Europe Facility.

The project is due to start construction in 2019 and is scheduled to reach completion in 2022.

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Downing Street on standby for new call for Scottish independence 

Senior UK Government insiders have said there is serious concern in Whitehall about the prospect of another vote on Scottish independence. The Prime Minister is expected to use a speech to the Scottish Conservative conference on Friday to head off any demands for a second independence referendum.

There has to be an agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments before a new referendum can be held, but a rejection of a new vote would likely only strengthen the pro-independence feeling.

The Prime Minister has promised to trigger Article 50 by the end of March and expects to be able to stick to the timetable, despite ongoing parliamentary wrangling over the process.

The news, which reflected previous reports earlier this month that both UK and Scottish Government civil servants were preparing for a new referendum, came as May urged voters in Scotland to use the forthcoming council elections to make clear to Sturgeon that another independence referendum is not wanted.

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Polling expert John Curtice: Denying Scotland an independence referendum would be ‘politically catastrophic’ for the UK government 

Professor Curtice, professor of politics a the University of Strathclyde told Business Inisder that blocking demand for another referendum would be “legally possible” but politically demanding for the UK government.

Curtice, who runs the highly-respected polling website What Scotland Thinks, said that Downing Street needed to make some concessions to the Scottish government during upcoming Brexit negotiations so that Sturgeon does not feel obliged to call a new referendum.

Curtice said: “The risk the UK government is taking at the moment is that it’s not offering the Scottish government a way out, and is therefore potentially leaving it with no choice but to take what — from the Scottish government’s own perspective — is one hell of a risk, but is also one hell of a risk for the UK government.”

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Scottish tidal energy project awarded €4.4m EU funding 

Edinburgh-based Nova innovation has secured a €4.4m (£3.75m) grant to demonstrate a power subsystem which could cut tidal power costs, showing a dedication to exploring the development driving down the costs of tidal power.

The consortium has been awarded grant funding from the European Commission under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for research and innovation.

Simon Forrest, managing director of Nova Innovation, said: “This will be a major step forwards for the global sector and significantly drive down the lifetime cost of tidal energy.

“We are extremely appreciative to the European Commission for their belief in our technology and sector, and are really looking forward to taking the PTO onwards to a commercial reality for the industry.”

Last year, Nova Innovation’s Shetland Islands project at Bluemull Sound became the first in the world to deliver power to a national grid.

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About the author

Rhona Middler

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

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