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Majority of SMEs still focused on improving sustainability despite pandemic challenges

The majority of Scottish SMEs remain focused on improving their environmental sustainability despite Covid-19, according to Bank of Scotland’s Commercial Banking’s Business Barometer.

More than half (56{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}) of Scottish SMEs said becoming more environmentally sustainable is important to their business – just 13 points fewer than the proportion that said the same in 2019 (69{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}).

Despite the challenges of the last year and the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, more than half (68{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}) of Scottish SMEs have continued to work to become more environmentally sustainable in the past 12 months.

Almost a third said they have invested in energy efficient equipment or machinery (28{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}) or made alterations to their premises to make it more energy efficient (27{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}).

Meanwhile, a fifth of (20{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}) have used suppliers that source environmentally friendly products and services, while a similar proportion (17{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}) introduced policies and incentives to help employees reduce their carbon footprint.


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Key fishing stocks landed by Scottish fleet ‘will drop thanks to Brexit deal’

Key fishing stocks landed by the Scottish fleet are set to fall as a result of the Brexit fisheries deal, according to Scottish Government analysis.

The study suggests eight fish stocks will not present an increase in fishing opportunities, with ministers also claiming shares in five-and-a-half years’ time will still be less than their current equivalent.

Currently, the average UK landing percentage of total EU and UK quota combined for North Sea cod is 63.5{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}.

However, the analysis says this will drop to 57{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b} – the maximum percentage of total EU and UK quota available to the UK – under the Brexit deal.

Similar decreases have been estimated for North Sea haddock (92.5{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b} to 84.2{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}), Rockall haddock (88.4{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b} to 85{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}), North Sea saithe (31.6{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b} to 26{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}), North Sea whiting (82.7{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b} to 73.5{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}) and North Sea hake (55.6{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b} to 53.6{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}).

The figures remain the same both before and after the deal

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Scottish Government urges businesses to check Brexit advice

Scottish businesses are being urged to ensure they are aware of the latest Brexit advice ahead of the EU transition period ending at 11pm on Thursday.

The Prepare for Brexit website is being updated throughout the holiday period with the latest information on what steps businesses should take as Britain leaves the EU single market and customs union.

Traffic to the multi-partner site continues to increase, with more than 40,000 page views since the end of September. The most viewed pages on Prepare for Brexit have been information on tariffs and the Brexit checklist.

In addition, over the past month Scotland’s enterprise agencies have contacted more than 800 companies identified as being particularly vulnerable to Brexit to offer targeted advice and guidance.

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland did not vote for Brexit and it is unacceptable that businesses have been left to prepare against a backdrop of confusion and

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Brexit: the final countdown – Business Insider

Brexit negotiations have come down to the wire. We are now mere days from the end of the transition period.

Whether that is concluded with or without a deal (at time of writing negotiations were continuing), many will believe that there has been more than enough time to negotiate the terms of such a deal (pandemic aside).

Especially as the eleventh-hour nature of these conversations has added even more pressure for business leaders who have already experienced their most challenging year ever.

Whatever the outcome, there will be more challenges for businesses to face in the coming weeks and months.

Therefore, it is little surprise that post transition readiness amongst businesses is low – data from our membership noting that close to a third (29{9fdcce03dc006ba6aefbae291db7d19e2674997f46d46055bf64c42b760b042b}) are unsure they will be prepared for it by the end of the year.

How could they be? They do not know what to prepare

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Number of Scottish insolvencies down on 2019 as Covid support provides ‘breathing space’

Furlough and other government support measures appear to have stemmed a feared significant rise in corporate insolvencies in Scotland, according to data from KPMG.

In November, there were 35 administrations or liquidations in Scotland – 23 fewer than the same period last year.

Based on current trends, the total number of insolvencies for 2020 looks set to be significantly lower than the 491 cases witnessed in the previous year.

Support measures – including the further extension of furlough until April 2021 – have provided breathing space for many businesses that would have otherwise struggled to survive the pandemic.

Blair Nimmo, KPMG UK’s head of restructuring, said: “Comfort can be taken from the fact that we haven’t yet seen the deluge of companies falling into administration that many predicted, as the breadth and depth of support measures available, coupled with a supportive lending community, have given organisations vital breathing space

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