Sturgeon defies calls to drop referendum demand

Sturgeon defiant

Sturgeon: Defying opposition demands

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will today defy those claiming she is ignoring other issues because of her “obsession” with independence.

She will outline her attack on the Tories’ Brexit plans and austerity but will resist calls to drop her demand for a second independence referendum.

She will say that a vote for the SNP on 8 June will send a message to Westminster that Scotland has the right to determine how it should be governed.

Ms Sturgeon has faced sustained demands from opposition parties to abandon her calls for another poll on independence.

Instead she will use today’s launch of the party’s election manifesto to ram home the message that Scotland must have the right to choose its own future.

There will be keen interest in whether Ms Sturgeon will address concerns raised by the audience in Monday’s televised leaders’ debate that she is on top of the health and education agendas.

Nurse Claire Austin: needs food banks

One notable contribution came from a nurse, Claire Austin from NHS Lothian, who said she could not manage on her salary and had to visit food banks.

She challenged Ms Sturgeon to say where the “millions” invested in the NHS was going. “Nurses are seeing none of it,” she said.

Ms Austin asked Ms Sturgeon at least four times how many years the 1% pay cap has existed.

Eventually the First Minister answered: “Too many, I accept that. We have had it since about 2008.”

The nurse challenged Ms Sturgeon “to come in and see what we are up against”.

Ms Sturgeon said she was supportive of the public sector but said the government’s hand was being forced by Westminster’s squeeze on spending.

SNP parliamentary candidate Johanna Cherry claimed Ms Austin was married to a Tory councillor but was forced to retract her statement when she found that Ms Austin is in fact single.

Sturgeon pondering

Sturgeon: facing criticism over nurses pay

Yesterday the Labour leader Kezia Dugdale urged Nicola Sturgeon to respond to her party running a “smear campaign” and muck-raking.

Ms Sturgeon will be keen to use today’s launch of her manifesto to put the incident behind her and move the agenda back on to independence and the Tories’ policies on Brexit and austerity.

Speaking ahead of today’s launch at the EICC, Ms Sturgeon said the SNP “will step up its opposition to Theresa May’s hard Brexit plans and urge voters to send a strong block of MPs to Westminster represent Scotland’s interests.”

Ms Sturgeon will argue that the SNP has stood up to the Conservative government on a range of issues including changes to women’s pensions and cuts to services.

“With the prospect of a re-elected and increasingly hard-line Tory government at Westminster, it is more vital than ever that Scotland’s voice is heard,” she said.

“In the last few years, the strong block of SNP MPs has shaken up the Westminster establishment and provided the only effective opposition to the Tory government.

“On issues as diverse as tax credit cuts and the appalling rape clause, cuts to women’s pensions and Tory austerity, the SNP have led the way in standing up for a fairer society. 

“A vote for the SNP in this election will strengthen Scotland’s hand against further Tory cuts and ensure that progressive polices, like those pursued by the SNP government in Scotland, are firmly on the agenda at Westminster. “

At the heart of the SNP’s plans is a fiscal plan aiming to end austerity and free up resources to invest in public services, protect family budgets and call a halt to cuts in social security support for working families and the disabled.

“A vote for the SNP will also strengthen Scotland’s hand against an extreme Brexit that will put tens of thousands of Scottish jobs at risk,” said Ms Sturgeon.

“Labour can’t win this election in Scotland and a vote for them will risk letting Tory MPs in the back door – while the Lib Dems, with their history of propping up the Tories, simply cannot be trusted.

“Now, more than ever, it is vital to have strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland and preventing the dangers of an unopposed Tory government at Westminster.”

Sturgeon defies calls to drop referendum demand was originally published on Daily Business

Scotland still a magnet for investors – for now

First Minister at Xilinx

First Minister at the Edinburgh lab of US firm Xilinx

Scotland has continued to attract record numbers of inward investment, but the Brexit decision is likely to see a cooling of activity in the coming years.

The total number of projects in 2016 exceeded the previous ten-year high set in 2015, according to EY’s latest Scotland Attractiveness Survey, with China surging up the list of investors.

But the compilers point out that many of these decisions were taken up to three years before last summer’s vote by Britain to leave the EU and this is likely to impact on future plans.

The report shows that Scotland has secured the UK’s second-highest number of projects in every one of the past five years, demonstrating Scotland has established itself as the second most attractive destination in the UK behind London. The 2016 data also places Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Edinburgh within the UK’s top 10 cities for attracting FDI.

However Mark Harvey, EY senior partner in Scotland, cautioned over the longer term outlook.

“The research suggests that the EU Referendum vote and its aftermath may be having an influence on global perceptions of the UK’s medium to long-term attractiveness. Western European investors are twice as negative as Asian and North American investors.

“Decisions on the majority of investments made in 2016 would have been made up to three years ago, which helps to explain the UK’s solid performance last year, but signs of a slowdown are on the horizon.”

Nine per cent of investors surveyed said leaving the European Single Market may prompt them to change their investment plans or re-locate from the UK to Europe in the next three years.”

The data also shows a decline in the number of jobs created by inward investment from 12.7% to 6% and the average number of jobs per project in Scotland also decreased from 45 to 24 in the same time period.

Mr Harvey, said: “The decrease in FDI job creation in Scotland could also signal a shift in the labour market away from lower-skilled roles to higher-skilled, such as those required for R&D and software activities, which deliver increased value to the economy.”

Scotland’s cities, sectors and projects

Glasgow achieved a 27% increase in FDI projects (28 in total) to maintain fifth place behind London, Manchester, Birmingham and Belfast.

Edinburgh follows closely in sixth with 27 projects, falling three places. In contrast, Aberdeen has bounced up from tenth to seventh position with projects doubling to 18, signalling a rebound in offshore activity.

The leading sectors generating FDI into Scotland were the service sector with 17 projects (an increase of 42% from 2015), construction which had 14 projects (representing an increase greater than three-fold), closely followed by software with 13 projects. Software is a particularly strong area for Scotland as it is now second only to London in securing investments from the software industry, overtaking the South East of England with 12.

The surge in construction projects is partly due to the development of offshore wind farms and the technical services these require, as well as some pipeline construction projects that have been undertaken for the oil & gas sector.

In terms of FDI activities Scotland performed particularly well in relation to research and development (R&D) with a total of 21 projects secured in 2016, more than any other UK region.

Mr Harvey said Scotland’s reputation as a global leader in the software sector is reflected in the data, likely to be a result of the strength of the Scottish universities.

Scotland’s source of investment

The primary investor in Scotland remains the US, with 43 projects representing 35% of all projects into Scotland in 2016. French FDI investment continues to be significant and sustained – 2016 was the fifth consecutive year that France was Scotland’s second largest investor – followed by Germany in third place.

There has been a notable change in the fourth and fifth largest investors in Scotland with Ireland taking the former as a result of a 200 per cent increase. China leapt from outside the top ten in 2015 to rank as fifth largest originator of investments in Scotland in 2016.

UK performance

The UK secured its highest ever level of inward investment in 2016 and retained its title as Europe’s most attractive location for international investment, ahead of Germany, France and Spain.

The UK attracted 1,144 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects last year which represented an increase of 7% on 2015 but a decrease of market share of European FDI from 21% to 19%. The European market as a whole saw a 15% rise and enjoyed the best year for international investment since the Eurozone crisis, securing 5,845 projects.

Mr Harvey said: “Scotland is very good at securing follow-on business with inward investors, but more needs to be done to attract new FDI projects.”

Time to act

The survey indicates that UK economy has performed well after the EU Referendum vote and the outlook for FDI remains strong in the short-term. However, there are a number of indicators suggesting that the outlook for the UK is likely to be challenging and the UK needs to move quickly to position for future success.

Mr Harvey said: “What is clear, is that there is a short window of time to act.”

Scotland still a magnet for investors – for now was originally published on Daily Business

Monday’s business, political and sports headlines

Another exclusive from the Daily Business newsdesk today as we reveal the background to Head Group‘s acquisition of Change today sees the start of the RBS shareholder trial...we have a full preview of the case…and Johnston Press CEO Ashley Highfield faces a potential stormy AGM today

We’re growing, with Rab McNeil joining Terry Murden, Lindsey Rogerson, Paul Kiddie, Pauline Taylor, Niels Footman and Alan Steel bringing you the latest news, opinion and interviews

Stay in touch with Scotland’s leading online news website

RBS faces a £12bn shareholder claim..we preview the trial that will see Fred Goodwin in court
Unbeaten in the league, can Celtic’s class of 2017 match their illustrious predecessors who made history 50 years ago this week?
+ Exclusive: New details have emerged over Change Recruitment’s sale to Head Group..

+ Interview with Paul Atkinson of angel investment group Par Equity and Head Group. He discusses plans for his expanded company, and his concerns over Brexit and tax

Ban on second jobs: Scottish Labour is proposing a radical move to restrict MSPs outside interests. Is it a wise move? The party today unveils its manifesto

Scots powering US: ScottishPower is behind two giants wind farms in the US

+ Media: A former Fleet Street editor is said to be raising funds to bid for a national newspaper

+ Media – ITV: Another potential recruit to succeed Adam Crozier has emerged and he is a former RBS banker

+ All media stories here

+ Banking: Shareholders go to court in £520m compensation claim against RBS + timeline of Fred Goodwin‘s rise and fall

+ Contact centre growth: A Scottish contact centre is expanding in the south after receiving an ‘unbeatable’ package

+ Tories on the backfoot: concerns over the manifesto are making party members nervous

+ Maybe or Maybe Not: With the polls narrowing Terry Murden asks if Mrs May risks throwing away a big lead 

Pensions and tax: Lindsey Rogerson asks – what’s the deal for voters?

Mum reins: A child safety business created by a young mum has secured a significant deal

Senior role: A big four accountant has filled a senior post at one of its Scottish offices

+ All appointments here

+ Interview with Iain May, the former RBS banker turned minister who has launched a community bank

+ Food and drink / charity: A gin created as a social enterprise has reported a key milestone 

+ Bio deal: An engineering company has secured a deal at a life sciences campus

Rab McNeil’s Week: the leading humorist and sketch writer begins a regular Daily Business column taking a sideways look at business

+ Sport – football: Paul Kiddie asks if Celtic’s class of 2017 can match their illustrious predecessors who made history 50 years ago this week

Sport – football: Highland sting: grim news for Inverness Caley Thistle

Sport – rugby: Scots prepare for tough summer test

Art: A painting by a former $50 graffiti artist has sold for $110.5m in New York

+ Daily Business Magazine….catch up on the big Edinburgh celebrity gala night…latest food and drink reviews…why Britons struggle to like the rich

+ BBC Radio Scotland continues to ignore online media in its promotion of news services… today’s article on Ascensos reported by Daily Business is credited to The Herald. Daily Business has filed an official complaint to the BBC about its promotion of selected media, claiming this gives them a commercial and editorial advantage in breach of BBC guidelines.

Daily Business is a free-to-access news website and welcomes donations to help it stay that way… please check here for details on how you can support Scotland’s independent media

Did you know Daily Business Group provides photography and editorial content and media strategy services? Check out the full range on offer here

Monday’s business, political and sports headlines was originally published on Daily Business