Scotland's Economy

Scottish Business Buzz (16.07.15)

Screenshot 2015-07-16 10.33.15The Chancellor’s so-called new national wage is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

Rob Aberdein, chairman of Business for Scotland,  has challenged the new national wage proposed by the Chancellor in his summer budget claiming it doesn’t do enough to address the impact of low pay on the working poor and taxpayers. “Low pay costs Scottish taxpayers £1bn every year in benefits that would be unnecessary if people were paid enough to live on.  Welfare payments to low paid workers amount to between £800 and £850 million pounds a year from Scotland’s budget alone. The extra Income Tax generated and National Insurance contributions from the increased wages would also generate between £220 to £250 million of additional revenue for Scotland. This means that, even before the economic stimulus effect from higher consumer spending, subsidising the living wage is costing the Scottish budget £1 billion a year.

“Put simply, we are subsidising big business because they are not willing to pay their workers enough to live on. Paying the living wage is not a socialist policy or a charitable act, it is just good business sense. If you can’t operate profitably without paying poverty wages then your business is not sustainable.

“Business for Scotland is the only business network to actively campaign for the Living Wage. At our AGM the suggestion that we launch a campaign for the Living Wage received a unanimous vote.

“And our own research shows that 96% of SMEs support paying the Living Wage. Some said they couldn’t, due to the wage levels being set by council contracts, and others because big retail and hospitality competitors could under cut them due to low wages. A recent Business for Scotland event showcased businesses paying the Living Wage – and in some cases more – and all highlighted increased productivity, commitment and loyalty.

“Finally, let’s be clear: tax credits don’t need to be cut in advance of the Living Wage, that will simply serve to slow down the economy and hit hard working families even harder.”

Screenshot 2015-07-16 10.36.42XYZ Maps has been selected out of hundreds of companies across the world by Hewlett Packard to provide maps for their plotters.

Dr Tim Rideout from XYZ Maps commented: “It is a great reflection on both XYZ Maps and Scottish cartography that out of all the hundreds of map companies in the World, HP should have come to us.”

Hewlett Packard has selected a range of XYZ World, Continental and City maps to use as demonstration and sample files at Print and Design Shows all round the World. So next time you are you are looking for a large plotter at a Print Show you might well find an XYZ World Political Wall Map, an XYZ Africa Wall Map or an XYZ London City Map rolling out the front.

Dr Rideout added:”HP selected the XYZ maps because of the complexity of the graphics and the colourful content, both of which showcase the abilities of their plotters. HP may also include the files as samples when clients purchase a plotter.”

Screenshot 2015-07-16 10.26.52Employee ownership growth is outstripping the UK economy. Figures released this week show the sector has grown by 4.6% year-on-year, while last year the UK economy grew by 2.8%

To mark the Employee Ownership Day in Scotland, a group of influential business leaders said giving employees power will help unlock innovation in the country.

A study from the University of Stirling and St Andrews showed employee-owned businesses are 5-10% more productive than traditional companies. The survey looked at manufacturing, agriculture, oil and gas and textiles.

Sarah Deas, chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland, said: “With businesses across Scotland celebrating EO Day, now is the perfect time to consider the benefits of employee ownership.

“Not only does it act as a driver of innovation, it also helps root businesses in their local area and rewards employees for their commercial success – while owners can achieve a competitive price for their company and manage their exit over time.

“Finding the correct succession solution for your business is vitally important to protect its future, so owners should start considering their options at the earliest possible opportunity – even if it feels like retirement may be some years away.”

The Co-operative News has more on this story.

Screenshot 2015-07-16 10.29.59Scotland attracted another record level of investment last year as the country proved to be the most popular UK location outside London.

Investors poured £433 million into the Scottish economy as the number of projects rose by 17% to 91 while the number of jobs created or safeguarded soared by 30% to 9,659, of which 3192 were high value jobs.

Derek Hammersley, chairman of the European Movement in Scotland, which is leading the campaign for a Yes vote in the EU Referendum, said: “These record results from Scottish Development International, which show an increase in both projects and jobs created or safeguarded, highlights the benefits of our continued membership of the European Union.

“Many of these companies are coming here, in part, to access the considerable advantages being part of the largest Single Market in the world, amounting to over 500 million people, brings.

“With nearly half of Scotland’s international trade with the EU and with over 300,000 jobs dependent on such trade it would be folly for us to remove ourselves from the EU and the considerable advantages it brings.”

You can read the rest of this story in The Daily Business.

Screenshot 2015-07-16 10.30.28The 2014 Ryder Cup provided a huge boost to the Scottish food and drink industry, with a number of producers securing contracts on the back of the three-day tournament.

Fiona Richmond, 2014 project manager at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The 2014 Ryder Cup was a great success for Scottish food and drink producers.

“With visitors to Scotland expected to spend £33m on food and drink at the major events of last year, the tournament helped to raise the profile of a number of suppliers not just with spectators but also with businesses who could potentially offer future opportunities.

“The event was a great showcase for what Scotland can offer in terms of food and drink. Now it’s vital we build on this legacy throughout The Year of Food and Drink, facilitating relationships between producers and suppliers and ensuring they are making the most of the commercial opportunities available to continue to drive industry growth.”

Business Quarterly has the full story.

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.

Leave a Comment