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Scottish Business Buzz (11.01.17)

Scottish increase in tourism employment. 

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, between 2014 and 2015, the number of people employed in the sector grew to 217,000. The 11 per cent increase in Scotland is above the four per cent rise in Great Britain as a whole.

Edinburgh and Glasgow are the two biggest tourism employers, with 34,600 (11 per cent of employment total) and 30,800 (eight per cent).

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy. These fantastic new figures show that, from hotel owners to waiting staff, tourism really is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow. They also demonstrate the industry’s commitment to the 2020 strategy – which aims to generate economic growth through tourism.”

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New electricity generation record set by Scottish wind turbines

WWF Scotland have said that wind turbines generated enough power to cover all of the country’s electricity needs for a record four days straight.

A new record was also set on Christmas Eve for the most amount of wind-generated power in a single day with 74,042MWh of electricity sent to the National Grid. Total electricity demand on the same date was 56,089MWh which meant wind turbines generated the equivalent of 132% of Scotland’s total electricity needs that day.

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy, which compiled the data, said:

“Given these figures, now is the time for serious consideration to be given to using more of this excess renewable electricity to help de-carbonise other areas of society, such as powering electric vehicles or heating our homes and businesses using non-fossil fuel technologies.”

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Scotland named as one of the world’s top circular economies 

The Scottish Government has been named as a finalist in the world’s premier circular economy awards, celebrating the progress made in the move away from a disposable culture.

Finding profitable uses for waste and promoting remanufacture and alternatives to ownership could save around £1.5bn a year to Scotland, creating a new generation of jobs and skills and reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 11 million tonnes by 2050, it has been claimed.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said the country had a “commitment at the highest level” to the creation of a circular economy with the issue now at the heart of the government’s economic and manufacturing strategies.

“The benefits of adopting a more circular economy are huge – in terms of investment, jobs, and the environmental benefits of improved resource efficiency and less waste,” he said. “As a society we know we can’t carry on consuming as we have. With a proven business case both environmentally and economically, it is in Scotland’s interests not just to adopt a more circular economy but to lead on it.”

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Scotland sidelined as May indicates Britain will leave single market

Speaking only hours after the First Minister said that she was not bluffing about holding a second independence referendum in the event of Scotland being taken out of the single market, the Prime Minister said in her first interview of 2017 that she was not interested in keeping “bits of membership of the EU”. Indicating that regaining control of immigration policy in the Brexit negotiations – a demand incompatible with single market membership – would be a priority.

The Prime Minister’s renewed insistence that taking control of immigration policy will be non-negotiable suggests that the repeated calls from Scotland, the business community and pro-European MPs for staying in the single market are falling on deaf ears.

EU leaders have repeatedly said that if Britain refuses to accept the free movement of EU workers, it will no longer be able to enjoy membership of the single market and the tariff-free trade that entails.

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Achieving gender equality is critical for Scotland’s business landscape

Even the most progressive Scottish firms have much to do in achieving gender parity, although momentum is building.

Tricia Nelson, partner at EY’s Glasgow office, and head of talent for the firm’s UK advisory division, said that businesses of all sizes had a role to play – from appointing female senior managers, to publically discussing their efforts, and ensuring both men and women contribute to the debate.

EY highlights five ‘disconnects’ that it believes are holding diversity back. They are that business leaders assume the issue is already resolved; that companies don’t effectively measure the progress of female staff; that a pipeline is not being created for future female leaders; that men and women don’t see the issue from the same perspective; and that progress is uneven among sectors.

EY has previously stated that gender parity is an “economic imperative” and the World Economic Forum has used empirical data to illustrate how gender parity could add $240 billion (£196bn) to the gross domestic product of the UK.

EY has produced a report titled ‘Woman. Fast Forward’ which quotes the World Economic Forum’s prediction that it will take 170 years for women to win global pay equality, the same timeframe as predicted in 2008.

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About the author

Rhona Middler

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

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