Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland

Douglas Fraser Business/economy editor, Scotland

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

Gordon Brown: nationalise the oil fields

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown is starting his final month as an MP with a thundering speech on the economy. It's the only type of speech he's ever done.

He's chosen to do so as Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy also sounds off on economic policy, and just before Nicola Sturgeon re-styles the Scottish government's economic strategy, with a strong flavour of equality running through its "refreshed" priorities.

The first minister has, incidentally, made her predecessor's Council of Economic Advisers a bit more equal - of ten members, four are women, seven professors, five non-economists, five based outside Scotland and as many people of Italian parentage as there are Nobel laureates - two of each.

One new member, Prof Mariana Mazzucato, is well worth watching for her influence on Scottish government policy.

The Sussex economist has written about "the entrepreneurial state - debunking the private versus public myth", demonstrating how state intervention, investment and ownership can work well, particularly in driving forward innovation where it is too risky for private investors.

Read full article Gordon Brown: nationalise the oil fields

RBS: Retreat and misdemeanours


Seven years of Fred Goodwin's plenty, followed by seven years of famine, or at least seven vast losses.

It has an Old Testament resonance to it, just as the Royal Bank of Scotland has been plagued by problems on a Biblical scale.

Read full article RBS: Retreat and misdemeanours

The drill bill bites

Oil platform

Let's start with the good news for Britain's oil and gas industry. This won't take long.

Last year saw a record level of investment. At £14.8bn, that's something to celebrate, isn't it?

Read full article The drill bill bites

Selling Scotland the Rebrand

Businessman holding card with saltire
The N-56 reports argues for a new Scottish brand

It's a while since we had an economic strategy. And as we've got a new-ish first minister, a new strategy can't be far behind.

Indeed, it's being prepared for publication next month.

Read full article Selling Scotland the Rebrand

Key election numbers

There will be more economic statistics before the Westminster election. One of them might even tip inflation into negative territory.

And although that terrifies some economists, because that way lies a vicious spiral, most people for now are enjoying cheaper fuel, food and all those retail discounts.

Read full article Key election numbers

Centrica 'rebase' threat of early gasfield shutdowns

Centrica HQ

"Rebasing": it's one way of debasing the English language. And if you're one of 650,000 Centrica shareholders, it's what's happening to your dividend. That is: a 30% cut.

And that helps explain the 8% drop in share price.

Read full article Centrica 'rebase' threat of early gasfield shutdowns

Bright flare amid North Sea gloom

North Sea oil

Not dead yet: the North Sea still has the capacity to spring a pleasant surprise for the oil and gas industry.

And the news from Statoil this week is that there's still the confidence to invest, even with the price of Brent crude being close to half its recent value.

Read full article Bright flare amid North Sea gloom

Magazines misfire online


While newspapers face declining sales, at least they can point to the shift to some big readership numbers online.

The free and the international, such as the Daily Mail and the Guardian, may not be turning much of a profit from well over 100 million website visitors each month, but they're showing that the news business can be reinvented.

Read full article Magazines misfire online

Sturgeon: 'The deficit is hugely important'

Nicola Sturgeon at UCL
Ms Sturgeon has several speaking engagements in London ahead of the general election

Nicola Sturgeon seems to be doing much of her election campaigning in London.

She's a new leader, with a message about progressive priorities, and she has an attentive audience.

Read full article Sturgeon: 'The deficit is hugely important'

Tax, spend, borrow and squeeze

John Swinney on Budget Day 2015

It's Budget Day, and two government ledgers are being weighed.

In one, this is the point at which John Swinney sails his 2015-16 budget through Holyrood, with the fair wind of an SNP majority.

Read full article Tax, spend, borrow and squeeze

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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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