Scottish Business Buzz

Scottish Business Buzz (20.09.17)

SCOTTISH farmers, already concerned about their livelihoods after Brexit, are set to lose out on £2 billion of funding if European Union subsidies are replaced by a single UK-wide scheme post-Brexit.

Calculations from Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) revealed that if Scotland received the same per capita funding as the UK average, the reduction in funding for Scotland would be just under €2.3bn.

Agricultural subsidies dominated Scottish debate on Brexit last week after First Secretary of State Damian Green, in effect Theresa May’s deputy, suggested a standard scheme, controlled by Westminster, would be needed to prevent different systems from operating in various parts of the UK.

Scotland’s population is about 10 per cent of the UK total, but currently Scottish farmers receive 16 per cent of the UK’s overall common agricultural policy (CAP) funding under the EU system, including 85 per cent of less-favoured area payments which are given to farmers in remote areas and where the land is difficult to cultivate.

Calculations from Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) said: “If Scotland received the same per capita funding as the UK average, the reduction in funding for Scotland would be €2,298,361,973.92; if it received the same per capita funding as Wales, the reduction in funding in Scotland would be €60,245,663.63. Finance is allocated over the period from 2014-20.”

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Higher inflation and domestic economic weakness has impacted confidence among small businesses in Scotland and the UK in the latest quarter, a key survey reveals today.

The survey also shows small firms north of the Border have seen another fall in profits in the latest quarter. It signals there was a slight overall fall in staffing in the latest quarter, with a further reduction in employment anticipated in the coming three months.

The FSB’s Scottish Small Business Confidence Index fell to -15.2 points, from -3.8 points in the previous quarter.

The equivalent UK figure fell even more sharply over the last three months, dropping 13.9 points to +1 point. However the average Scottish firm is still much less optimistic that its UK equivalent, the business sentiment metric shows.

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A £14.6m programme has been launched to support R&D and innovation in Scottish SMEs in some of the most fragile areas of western Scotland.

The five year Co-Innovate programme is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA programme and managed by the Special EU programmes Body.

In Scotland it will encourage and support innovation in SMEs in Argyll and Bute, Lochaber, Skye, the Outer Hebrides, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway. It also covers Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.

The initiative brings together key development agencies to deliver the programme, which is aligned with each government’s strategic priorities, led by cross-border body InterTradeIreland in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Enterprise Northern Ireland, East Border Region and Local Enterprise Offices in the border region of Ireland.

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A survey has revealed a shocking lack of diversity in the UK investment sector.

New research has confirmed the average employee working within the UK investment management industry is a straight, white, British male, without a disability, and with a high chance of being privately educated. Although the 81% of the industry that identifies as white British compares favourably with the the 89% making up the majority of the UK population as a whole, representation in the industry on the basis of education and gender does not reflect British society as a whole, Mercer, which is behind the new report, said.

Its Diversity Project Benchmarking Study, found women were also underrepresented, accounting for just 23 per cent of the industry but 47 per cent of the population.

The survey also revealed that 38 per cent of investment managers are privately educated, more than five times the proportion of the general population, which is 7 per cent.

And most investment managers are educated to Master’s degree level (47 per cent), followed by those with a Bachelors degree (44 per cent).

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Scotland’s new social security agency will be headquartered in Dundee, bringing hundreds of jobs to the city. The new agency will also have a site in Glasgow, with the two locations together creating at least 1,500 jobs split evenly between the two cities.

Glasgow City Council leader Councillor Susan Aitken said: “The new Social Security agency will benefit the whole of Scotland, but it’s great news it will have such a direct benefit to the people of Glasgow, and I want to congratulate Dundee on hosting the headquarters.

“Glasgow sits at the heart of a city region and, working with colleagues from other local authorities, we will ensure that the agency has the right staff and that people who would most benefit are job-ready and able to take up these opportunities.”

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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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