Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland

Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

Come here for my take on money matters from a Scottish perspective

Smith Commission: A deal doesn't make it happen

  • 27 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament has had 15 years of spending power with very little taxation accountability.

That's about to change, a lot, if the Smith Commission "heads of agreement" translate into workable new devolution legislation.

There is a political case for such radical changes.

The mood of the electorate at the time of the independence referendum, we're told, was that it wanted more change and more powers at Holyrood.

The SNP, despite having lost that vote, is even more firmly in the driving seat of Scottish politics. And after "The Vow" from pro-union parties, pledging extensive new powers, the Scottish government is "holding their feet to the fire".

Read full article Smith Commission: A deal doesn't make it happen

Sturgeon's Business Pledge

Construction worker

Nicola Sturgeon is setting out her own stall on her relationship with business.

Whereas her predecessor was comfortable with boardroom types, that's not the background of the new first minister. As a lawyer, her area of interest was clients at the disadvantaged margins, rather than corporate deal-making.

Read full article Sturgeon's Business Pledge

Devo More: What does business want?

driverless car
Driverless cars. Could new powers help Scotland become a world leader?

Scotland could become a world leader in driverless cars, urban drones and animaloid robots. Yes, animaloid. We're already leaders in subsea robots, so why not?

This could be the first country to develop a fridge which orders your milk for you, using 'blockchain' technology, by which machines use sensors, control the supply chain, and trade with each other. What this needs, of course, are the necessary regulatory powers at Holyrood.

Read full article Devo More: What does business want?

Living wage: What about jobs?

Coins and notes

It's Living Wage week. The cause has been well aired, with companies signing up. It's been well debated too, except that there isn't much of a debate.

A wage based on what people need in order to live a decent life is hard to argue against. And at £7.85 (£9.15) it's not for fat cats.

Read full article Living wage: What about jobs?

Hitting the alarm bell on oil and gas

oil platform

There's both raw commercial interest and significant alarm in the latest statement from Britain's offshore oil industry.

Capital investment was already due to fall from record highs, but the sharp decline in the price of Brent crude - touching $82 on Wednesday before a rally - has focused minds, and made it look like investment will be cut in half within only three years.

Read full article Hitting the alarm bell on oil and gas

Mamils, braggies and poshtels: tourism's future?

Cyclists

Looking down the railtracks of travel, the far horizons include Mamils, braggies and poshtels, as demographics, tight budgets and new tech disrupt the old, packaged ways.

Yes, it's November, so it must be about time to think about holidays. Isn't it always? Much of the industry gathers in London at this time of year, for the World Travel Market. And that's when Euromonitor publishes its annual travel trends.

Read full article Mamils, braggies and poshtels: tourism's future?

Scary horrors for Smith commission

pumpkin

Hallowe'en seems an appropriate point for Lord Robert Smith's commission on new devolved powers for Holyrood to close the door on public submissions.

The first scary prospect is that it has got a massive amount of reading to do. Vast numbers of people and organisations have submitted their proposals.

Read full article Scary horrors for Smith commission

Global slowdown for black and distilled gold

Oil installation

There's both symbolic and a real significance behind Shell's announcement to close down and scrap two of its platforms in the Brent field, east of Shetland.

And it tells us quite a bit about the impact of global forces on the Scottish economy, which are also at work in the announcement today that Diageo is halting Scotch whisky distillery investment plans in response to weakening global demand.

Read full article Global slowdown for black and distilled gold

Grangemouth a year on: energy prices and business attitudes

Unite sign outside Grangemouth
The Grangemouth dispute ended with unions accepting changes to pay and pensions

A year since the Grangemouth dispute, and the energy markets are in an even more topsy-turvy place.

We're told by the Scottish Trades Union Congress that the dispute didn't change industrial relations in Scotland - though that's not how it looked from outside.

Read full article Grangemouth a year on: energy prices and business attitudes

Middle class obscured in a Scots myth

Yes/No banners
Studies have been trying to establish which groups tended to vote "yes" or "no" - and why

A month on, the referendum reverberates.

We've heard a lot about "the 45%", or at least we've heard a lot from them - the determination to keep the campaign spirit alive, to push on towards independence, and the sense of disappointment that they didn't get a majority on 18 September.

Read full article Middle class obscured in a Scots myth

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About Douglas

Douglas joined BBC Scotland at the moment the financial crisis struck in 2008, reporting on the meltdown at RBS and the collapse of Dunfermline Building Society.

His beat also includes close attention to the offshore oil and renewable energy sectors, and he takes a mostly professional interest in whisky.

Working in Scottish journalism since 1989, he previously worked for The Herald and The Scotsman, among other newspapers.

He has covered politics from the Holyrood parliament, as well as education, the arts and the Highlands and Islands.

He is co-author of the Political Guide to Modern Scotland.

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