Cage fighting

  • 14 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Farmed salmon Image copyright AFP

It's half a century since salmon farming began, with the pioneers in Scotland and Norway.

The first harvest, from Marine Harvest - then a branch of Unilever - was 15 tonnes hauled from Lochailort in Lochaber.

The haul now is closer to 170,000 tonnes per year. It's been quite a success story.

Scottish salmon has grown to be worth more than £600m at the fish farm gate, and more than a billion when it reaches retail. Two-fifths of output is sold overseas.

With more than 250 salt water sites and more than 2,200 directly employed, it's celebrated as a big contributor to remote west coast communities - even if profits go elsewhere, and much of the work is now automated.

Precautionary approach

Read full article Cage fighting

Fuel prices: Turning up the heat

  • 10 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Smart meter
Image caption Energy companies are offering customers smart meters

Have you got your smart meter yet? I haven't. But we should all be getting the offer from energy utilities by 2020.

The idea is that it should save money, by informing us how we use energy, what costs lots, the benefiting of switching off, and other ways to stop the electronic digits flipping upwards.

Read full article Fuel prices: Turning up the heat

Ageing North Sea oil: Investing in long-term care costs

  • 8 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Oil platform Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Breaking up an oil platform is an extremely complex job

There's life in the North Sea yet, though it may not be as we know it.

New finds of oil and gas are rare, at least in the UK sector. Statoil has just found another reservoir in Norwegian waters, of between 20m and 50m barrels, where it has had some notable successes close to the British boundary.

Read full article Ageing North Sea oil: Investing in long-term care costs

Holyrood tax: hold the threshold

  • 2 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
coins Image copyright PA

It has long been asserted that Scots believe more strongly than their neighbours in a social contract in which the well-off contribute more towards the common good.

So, to sustain or improve the level of public services, Scots would dig deeper into their income to pay higher taxes - if only they had the tax powers to do so.

Read full article Holyrood tax: hold the threshold

RBS: the long unwinding legacy

  • 26 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
RBS logo Image copyright RBS

It's another of those numbers so big that it lacks much meaning. But £3.1bn being put aside by Royal Bank of Scotland is real money.

So is the £6.7bn total that is now set aside to pay the costs resulting from litigation and investigations into "residential mortgage-backed securities". And there's still a chance of much more required.

Read full article RBS: the long unwinding legacy

Trader Trump ups his steak

  • 25 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Donald Trump Image copyright AP

The tussling over Brexit is back, with Scottish export figures that show two things, depending on one's perspective.

Conservatives emphasise the importance of sales from Scotland to the rest of the UK - four times greater than the value of sales to the rest of the EU in 2015.

Read full article Trader Trump ups his steak

Picking winners or backing losers?

  • 23 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
welder Image copyright Thinkstock

Industrial policy. You can see it as a re-heating of previous policies, and re-branding of existing priorities.

Or you can be more generous to Theresa May and her government, as she and it set out a 12-week consultation, seeing this as a process of asking the most fundamental questions about what kind of country the United Kingdom intends to be.

Read full article Picking winners or backing losers?

Scotland's economy: Mind the gap

  • 19 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Jobcentre Image copyright PA

Grim: the most common word used by those reflecting on the latest Scottish economic data.

The job numbers could be worse, with unemployment on a downward trend, most recently at 5.1%.

Read full article Scotland's economy: Mind the gap

Britain's 'new economic model'

  • 17 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Theresa May setting out Brexit plans on 17 January 2017 Image copyright PA

Whether it's clean or hard, Brexit is now taking shape. The prime minister's speech has set out her negotiating position, and probably as much as it could do at this stage. Brexit now has some meaning other than the word "Brexit".

So what does it mean for the economy, and what does business make of it?

Read full article Britain's 'new economic model'

Happier times in Santa's grotto

  • 12 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Christmas sale shop sign Image copyright AP

The big retailers - most of them - can breathe a sigh of relief as their Christmas numbers are published. With the exception of Next, which kicked off the festive reporting season, and with some disappointment at John Lewis, things have come in quite nicely.

For Tesco, growth was modest, but at least it's growth. Marks and Spencer has also found some forward momentum with its clothing sales, after at least five years of dismal figures and a perception that its clothing range was in a sort of inevitable decline.

Read full article Happier times in Santa's grotto