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

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.

Such ideas are within more than 400 group submissions to the Smith Commission. They come from a bunch of enthusiastic tech-heads who may not be wholly on top of the complexities of constitutional reform, but who have a dream and want Scotland to pursue it.

Lord Smith of Kelvin

There are other very specific cases for reform which I've gleaned from going through the submissions. The Metric Association sees further devolution as a means to get kilometres on to Scottish road signs. Once achieved, how could Whitehall possibly resist the unstoppable force of decimalised logic?

Foresters want any power devolved that would help meet the Scottish government's tree planting targets, as they're currently being missed. Insolvency practitioners have not entered the spirit of things, instead wanting to reverse their bit of devolved law-making.

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

The blast furnace of globalisation

Tata Steel logo

Steel is something of a national virility symbol - not just for Scotland, Wales and northern England, but for emerging and emerged economies for whom it has been the first burst of industrialisation.

The blow to Scottish economic virility 22 years ago, with the closure of the Ravenscraig plant near Motherwell, was symbolic instead of the end of an era.

Read full article The blast furnace of globalisation

The spending state we're in

spending cuts protest

It's time to talk about the state, as a historic shift in government spending emphasises the National Health Service and older people's benefits at the expense of quite a lot else.

That's the message from people who crunch the fiscal numbers, arguing there are fundamental changes under way, but not much public understanding of them.

Read full article The spending state we're in

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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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