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City Legacy, the developers of the Athletes’ Village, presented a cheque for £30,000 to the Brick by Brick Appeal yesterday (28th June).  The appeal is raising funds to build a new home for Glasgow’s Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.


In 2015, City Legacy – a consortium of four Glasgow-based companies CCG, Cruden, WH Malcolm and Mactaggart & Mickel– pledged to donate £300 to the appeal for each of the 300 homes sold at The Village. Two donations of £30,000 have already been made to the hospice as the homes were quickly snapped up, and with The Village now completely sold out, this third £30,000 donation takes the grand total to a fantastic £90,000!


The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice currently provides specialist care every year for more than 1,200 patients with a progressive, life-limiting illness from its home at Carlton Place in the city centre. However, the building, in four townhouses, no longer meets the requirements or vision for the future care of patients and their families.


The hospice’s Brick by Brick Appeal is raising the £21million needed to build a new, purpose-built facility in the city’s Bellahouston Park. The foundations go down this summer and patients are expected to move in 2018. The aim is to bring 21st-century hospice care to the people of Glasgow, a major step forward in the provision of palliative care services, providing the flexibility to develop and improve services and lower the age limit of patients to 15 years and over.


Calum Murray, director of CCG and part of the City Legacy consortium said: “The Village is such an important part of the regeneration of Glasgow that we wanted to give something back. Homes at The Village have sold out much quicker than we originally anticipated. Not only is this wonderful news for the east end of Glasgow, it has had the added bonus of allowing us to present this third donation and reach our target of £90,000 much earlier than expected.


“So many Glaswegians will know someone who has received first-class end-of-life care at the hospice. We are very pleased to support this appeal to build a new hospice, which will ensure that patients are cared for in a modern, attractive facility with an increased capacity.”


The donation was presented by City Legacy’s equity partners to the hospice’s chief executive, Rhona Baillie. She said:


“Support over the years for the hospice from the City Legacy team has been fantastic. This donation, added to the £60,000 already made to the hospice, takes us one step closer to our target and will make a lasting contribution to our future. We are absolutely delighted to receive this money and extremely grateful to City Legacy for their generosity.”


Harris Finance invest in Rutherglen Links Business Park

Harris Finance invest in Rutherglen Links Business Park

The sale of the first and largest plot at a new business park, which is forecast to bring upwards of 100 jobs to Rutherglen and the local area, has been announced this week.

Plot C at Rutherglen Links Business Park, a 12 acre development by Clyde Gateway, an urban regeneration company established to drive inner investment covering the East End of Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, has been purchased for speculative build purposes by the commercial property division of Harris Finance.

The organisation will invest around £2.5m on the site to build 30,000sq. ft. of speculative industrial/hybrid units which have the potential to create 55 jobs for the local community.

Harris Finance is headquartered within the Clyde Gateway boundary and already has a successful local track record in speculatively building new commercial properties as well as refurbishing existing properties and in doing so the Company has already brought more than 50 jobs to the Clyde Gateway area to date.

Fionna Kell, Inward Investment Manager, Clyde Gateway said: “We are delighted by the exciting prospect of triggering new speculative development at Rutherglen Links Business Park and all the associated benefits this will bring to the area in stimulating further new business and employment opportunities.

“Clyde Gateway is fast becoming the destination to do business in Scotland across a variety of sectors.   The site offers premier, energy-efficient and low cost investment and development opportunities.  Businesses moving here will also benefit from excellent connectivity through road and public transport links, fantastic business support and superfast broadband.”

Ross Harris, speaking on behalf of the developer said: “The East End of Glasgow has been transformed thanks to the work of Clyde Gateway and we are excited at the prospect of encouraging further regeneration and job creation in the area through our own speculative investment in high quality industrial units at Rutherglen Links.”

Harris Finance will initially undertake the speculative development of two units at the Rutherglen Links Business Park during 2016 which will provide flexible industrial or hybrid space of 20,000 sq. ft. and 10,000 sq. ft. respectively.

Established in 2008 following the announcement that Glasgow was to hold the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Clyde Gateway has seen over £1.5 billion invested in the area in the last 8 years from both the public and private sector.

Clyde Gateway covers an expansive area, meaning opportunities exist for all types of businesses, from large energy sector international organisations looking for the ideal location to trade, to SMEs which require a modern but cost-effective location for their offices.

For further information on Rutherglen Links Business Park, please visit:

SPI EU referendum special

SPI EU referendum special

Scotland has voted overwhelmingly to REMAIN in the EU, despite the wider UK results confirming a desire to LEAVE.  All 32 local authority areas in Scotland voted to stay in the EU, with 62% backing Remain and 38% voting to Leave. This is now likely to trigger a constitutional crisis which could lead to a second independence referendum unless special arrangements are made.


Perceptive will continue to monitor the specific Scotland consequences of the wider EU exit vote, especially where business interests are concerned.


The 2016 SNP manifesto said there should be another referendum if there was a “significant and material” change in circumstances, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will. Former First Minister Alex Salmond was quoted on the BBC saying he was “quite certain Nicola Sturgeon would implement the SNP manifesto”.


Speaking earlier this morning, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status.”   Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop said there would be “consequences” following the result. The SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson MP, said the result could trigger a “constitutional crisis” that could lead to a second independence referendum.


Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson insisted that the Conservative party would remain united regardless of the verdict. She said: “We as a party have much more to keep us together than divide us and this has been a passionate debate. But remember just a year ago my colleagues in London were elected on a manifesto to have a referendum on the European Union – we have carried out that, that we would respect the result – whatever it is – and after that we would all as democrats respect the will of the people of this country, come back together and govern to the manifesto on which we were elected.”


For Labour, party leader Kezia Dugdale has urged stability as the country “comes to terms” with its new destiny – and refused to be drawn on an earlier campaign interview when she hinted that she might support Scottish independence in the event of a Leave vote.  Former MP and MSP Malcolm Chisholm tweeted “Darkest of days for UK and Indy No voters will be reflecting”.


For the Lib Dems, leader Willie Rennie MSP made an angry and bitter speech saying: “I am angry that we have lost our place in Europe. It is bad for our country and the people who live here. It means cutting our ties with our biggest economic market despite the consequences for trade, business, jobs and incomes.I am embarrassed by the signal it sends to the rest of Europe and the rest of the world.  Be in no doubt that this decision sets our country back.”


The Scottish Greens (who are pro Scottish independence) have already launched an online petition. The petition, at, is available for people to support the party’s call for Holyrood to “examine and exhaust every option for continuing Scotland’s close ties with Europe.”

Young Scots tackle pollution issues with creative business ideas

Young Scots tackle pollution issues with creative business ideas

A host of young Scots aged 14 – 20 came together at Glasgow Science Centre on Saturday (18 June) to attend Air Time, the launch event for VentureJam 2016.  

Organised by Young Scot, SEPA and Glasgow City of Science, Air Time aimed to prepare young would-be entrepreneurs for VentureJam 2016 – a three-day hackathon-style event (5-7 August) that is part of the programme for Venturefest Scotland , Scotland’s annual innovation summit.  VentureJam  is the first and only official ‘youth strand’ for any UK Venturefest event.

Air Time featured a collection of hands-on, creative activities to help young people understand the challenge of air pollution – an increasing issue especially in large cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh – and how it impacts on society including health, city planning and the environment. Participants were challenged to consider how technological innovations could improve the air we breathe, by encouraging behaviour that either helps cut air pollution or reduces exposure to it. 

An idea conceived by Glasgow City of Science, VentureJam 2016 is an inspirational enterprise education programme that will see a group of young people from across Scotland work with a team of business mentors to devise novel and creative business solutions to tackle air pollution.

The teams then get to pitch their best ideas, Dragon’s Den-style, to top industry experts and investors at Venturefest Scotland, this year being held on 1 September at Glasgow Science Centre.

Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director of Glasgow City of Science, said: “The Air Time launch activity was a great success, and showed the desire of young Scots to develop their knowledge and skills to help combat major societal challenges such as air quality.

“Opportunities that upskill, inspire and encourage entrepreneurial thinking in our young people can boost competitiveness and growth in a smart, sustainable and inclusive way.  I can’t wait to see how the young people translate their new knowledge from today’s inspirational event into creative business ideas at VentureJam in August.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “Making the country a cleaner and greener place is important to many young people and this was plain to see in level of passion displayed by the participants at Air Time. We were pleased to see so many fantastic early ideas on show.  If we want to tackle the big issues of our time it’s vital we tap into the creativity and insight of young people.”

Dr Colin Gillespie, principal air scientist at SEPA: “Involving young people and allowing them to lead on the message they feel should be delivered, or what the solutions could be, is a very effective way to raise awareness of the problem of poor air quality, which unfortunately seems to have been in the news all too often in recent months.  Poor air quality contributes to thousands of premature deaths across the UK every year, as well as the impact it has on our environment.

Air Time with VentureJam and VentureJam 2016 are being supported by Scottish Government, SEPA, Glasgow City Council, Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow, Scotland’s Environment Web, Murgitroyd, Perceptive Communicators and Glasgow Science Centre.

For more information, visit or

Housing and Construction News

Housing and Construction News

Housing and construction news this week centred on a number of statistical announcements including affordable home targets, council tax and house prices, and the various parties putting spin and counter spin around them. These stories and more are outlined in greater detail within this week’s Scottish Political Insider.

 Elsewhere, news relating to climate change and Scottish employment are included within this week’s report, as well as key stories from the ongoing EU referendum debate.

 Scottish Government says its affordable homes target exceeded by 10%

 Tuesday saw the Scottish Government announce that it had exceeded its 30,000 affordable homes target by more than 10%, according to official statistics.  Over the last Parliamentary term, 33,490 affordable homes were delivered. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP said: “I’m delighted we have today officially cemented our excellent record on housing. Exceeding the ambitious 30,000 target is no mean feat in a challenging financial environment. Our investment of more than £1.7 billion, as well as the re-introduction of council house building, has meant high quality, energy efficient, affordable homes have been built the length and breadth of the country.”

However, opposition parties disagreed with the findings issuing a news release claiming there had been a drop in completions. Scottish Labour Communities Spokesperson Alex Rowley said: “These numbers should act as a wakeup call to the SNP, who have turned a housing shortage into a housing crisis.  Labour believe an ambitious target of 60,000 affordable homes over the next parliament is needed to tackle the housing crisis. Not only is the SNP target less ambitious, at the current rate they look on course to miss it.”

Police buildings require repairs

An exclusive article in The Scotsman noted dozens of buildings belonging to Police Scotland are in urgent need of repair. Details obtained by The Scotsman showed a total of 69 buildings across the country were rated “poor” or “bad” when handed to Police Scotland by legacy forces in 2013. The police force is currently undertaking its own estates review.

House prices increase following tax changes

The introduction of the land and buildings transaction tax has led to an 11% increase in sales over the last year, new figures released by Your Move/Acadata illustrated this week. The statistics showed there were more than 104,000 home sales in the last 12 months, up from around 93,600 in the previous year.

Council Tax collection improves, the Scottish Government announces

The Scottish Government released the latest Scottish Council Tax figures this week. The provisional in-year Council Tax collection rate for Scotland 2015-16 was 95.7 per cent, continuing a steady improvement since 1998-99. Meanwhile, Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction scheme supported 504,980 low income households in March 2016, with a total of £332.2 million awarded over the 2015-16 year.

 General political news

 Scotland exceeds 2020 climate targets

 Scotland has exceeded the level of its 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% six years early, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham confirmed this week The latest climate change statistics show Scotland’s emissions, for reporting against targets, have fallen by 12.5% year on year to 41.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014. This is a reduction of 45.8% from the 1990 baseline. Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the “outstanding progress” and confirmed that the government would now set a “new and more testing 2020 target”.

Scots have slow career progression, survey finds

 A report the IPPR think-tank found that Scots have the slowest rate of career progression in the UK. Russell Gunson, Director of IPPR Scotland, said: “This report shows that while Scotland has seen a jobs recovery in recent years, there are real concerns looking ahead. Reform is required to make sure the skills system in Scotland is focused on the needs of learners and of Scotland’s economy. It’s clear that Scotland needs to be more ambitious than aiming to match the UK economy. When UK pay has been falling in real-terms and productivity has stalled, we need to do more than catch up with the UK, as welcome as that is, we need to go beyond that.”

EU Referendum – weekly update 

  • A YouGov poll for The Times puts Leave on 49% – up three points on last week and seven points ahead of Remain, which is down three on 39%; a parallel poll in Scotland shows Remain 14% ahead of Leave
  • A statement given to The Independent and signed by over thirty Labour figures including Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Harriet Harman claimed that Brexit would lead to a £40 billion black hole in the British economy
  • Nicola Sturgeon warned this week that the UK voting to leave the European Union could present the risk of a “right-wing Tory takeover”

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932 578 or

Kier Construction Scotland announces Edinburgh College of Art contract win

Kier Construction Scotland announces Edinburgh College of Art contract win


Kier Construction Scotland has today Friday, 10 June announced a significant education contract win, further supporting the strong start it has made within the sector during this year.

Kier has been appointed by the University of Edinburgh to undertake refurbishment work on the College of Art. The activity will see work carried out over two phases so one half of the building always remains in operation, ensuring the College can continue to deliver its curriculum during the refurbishment works.

Phase one activity is expected to take place from June 2016 to September 2017, with the second phase scheduled to take place thereafter.

This activity will improve and perform essential maintenance on the building’s fabric and internal systems bringing a major new space in the west side of the main building into use.  This updated space will be equipped with the very latest in audio and visual facilities, improving the working and learning environment for students and staff.

The announcement follows similar activity by Kier including the completion last August of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture for Robert Gordon University and the recent shortlisting for the restoration of the Mackintosh Building for the Glasgow School of Art, illustrating the calibre of projects Kier undertakes.

Brian McQuade, managing director of the Scotland and north-east England arm of Kier’s Construction division, said: “Kier has a made a solid start to 2016 and we are pleased to announce such a significant contract win in a sector in which we continue to make inroads.

“Activity will see a number of repairs and renovation work undertaken, alongside a number of new improvements and alterations. Kier has strong project management experience and a track record of putting together teams of subcontractors that allows us to tackle large projects on this scale, and we look forward to starting work on-site from June.  Our successes on similar jobs, flexibility and ability to form long term relationships, undoubtedly helped in the contract win.”

Over the coming years, activity will be concentrated between the Lauriston Place campus and George Square area.  Gathering the College on two sites will allow a more cohesive community and allow room for growth and expansion of the College beyond its historical areas of practice and expertise. The main College of Art building, which acts as the central hub of the Lauriston Place campus, is a 12,000m2 red sandstone site built over 3 principal floors. The College of Art is Grade A Listed.

What have I learned since Sexy Back?

What have I learned since Sexy Back?

What have I learned since Sexy Back?

Summer 2006.  The Summer of Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back, Pink’s Who Knew and my personal favourite, I Don’t Feel Like Dancing (always a toe tapper). Italy won the World Cup and Roger Federer and Amélie Mauresmo won at Wimbledon, while Team Europe won The Ryder Cup.

While these music and sporting legends were sweeping the boards, I was on my lonesome wondering how I was going to make a living having walked away from 15 years with blue chip brands.  I had less than a year of consultancy experience – and that was back in the day – and thinking an alternative career in property development may be beckoning, had two mortgages to pay. It never seemed that hard for Sarah Beeny on Property Ladder.

With the property market crash looming I needed to spot a gap in the communications market.  It was right under my nose.  Having spent 15 years as a client myself I wondered why no one had thought to provide communications advice delivered only by expert specialists.  Expert because they were experienced and so knew what they were talking about based on years of experience and specialist because they had in depth knowledge of a particular sector. I had worked with many agencies which had one or the other, but not both. Many consultants I worked with had never been clients themselves, so hadn’t ever seen things from the client side of the table. In my experience, all of this made for a long learning curve, a longer lead time for results and more than a few frustrations along the way.

So my vision for a communications consultancy which employed exclusively experienced expert consultants which specialised in just a few sectors was born.  Another key difference is all of our team have all been clients themselves.  10 years on I’m amazed that this is still a unique approach but delighted that it has led to a thriving business which has won multiple awards.

So what have I learned along the way?  Here’s my top 10 tips regardless of industry, sport or musical genre!

  1. Don’t be afraid to be different. Different is good and helps you stand out from competitors. When I think of great people in sport or music, it’s the ones that are different who spring to mind.  Justin Timberlake doesn’t just sing and entertain, he can actually dance at the same time, very unusual for a man according to my husband.
  2. Ask for help. Let people know what you need.  Our clients and contacts have been incredibly generous with their support over the years from honest advice to word of mouth recommendations. That means almost 100% of our business is generated by referrals from our clients.
  3. Tap into your network of contacts both face to face and by using free tools like LinkedIn and Twitter. These are very productive ways to build and reinforce relationships that lead to business in future.
  4. Believe in yourself. Remember what you have been through to get to this point and survived to tell the tale!
  5. Running a business is exhilarating and can be all consuming. Perceptive is a bit like my third child.  Like kids it can be very challenging and can mean sleepless nights but there are also some great highs and brilliant fun along the way.
  6. Surround yourself with a great team. I am so lucky to have such a brilliant team whom I would trust with my life.  I suppose indirectly I do.
  7. Treat your team well. As well as the usual employee rewards, make sure they know they are appreciated.  I’ve heard “don’t sweat the small stuff” but to me it’s the small things that count.
  8. What seems impossible can be possible. I would never have dreamed of the great team and fantastic clients we have now. It takes time and you need to keep plugging away one step at a time.  But as Gary Player (showing my age here!) once said, the more you practise the luckier you get.
  9. Consider how technology could help you and your team work more flexibly which for us means a more motivated and loyal team. Thanks to a top tip from one of our very first clients, Gordon Thomson of Cisco, we have taken a very flexible approach to how we work right from the start. Technology is what makes this possible.  Ten years ago this was pretty radical but today it’s much easier to achieve.
  10. Have a very clear vision of what you want to achieve and make sure you communicate this with your team and with your target audience – and I might know a team that can help you with that!





Housing and Construction News

Housing and Construction News

This week saw housing and construction news relating to the upcoming Scottish Government’s duelling of the A9, a survey relating to retirement fears for those working in construction and the launch of Scotland’s biggest windfarm. The Scottish Parliament’s new committee members were also announced and two of these which may focus on housing and construction issues are listed in this report: the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee and Local Government and Communities Committee.


Elsewhere, the launch of a Scots-Irish business organisation and alleged Conservative election fraud, alongside the continued EU referendum debate, were all carried in print and online media this week. More on these stories are included within this week’s Scottish Political Insider.


Housing and Construction News


Million pound contract award for A9 dualling scheme


Design work for the A9 dualling scheme stepped up a gear this week as Soil Engineering Geoservices Ltd won the contract to undertake ground inspection work on part of the planned route. Ground Investigation work on the 8.5 km Tomatin to Moy section of the A9 is expected to begin next month and last for around seven weeks. This will be the first of a series of ground investigations to be carried out across the dualling programme this summer as design work to identify preferred routes continues.


Construction sector ‘failing to build a sufficient retirement pot’


Only 9 per cent of people in the construction and property sector are financially on track for the retirement they aspire to have, according to new research from Aegon UK. The findings, published in an article this week by Scottish Construction Now, found under a quarter of those in the sector (23 per cent) have checked the performance of their retirement savings within the last six months, while 21 per cent have taken steps to review their plans for retirement.


Scotland’s biggest windfarm opened by Scottish Minister


Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish government’s minister for business, innovation and energy launched Scotland’s biggest windfarm this week. The 70 acre site at Errol Estate will provide power to 3,500 homes.


Scottish Parliament committee membership announced


The Scottish Parliament committee memberships were announced this week. In relation to housing and construction, key committees and listed below:


Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

Maurice Golden

Finlay Carson

Alexander Burnett

Mark Ruskell

Graeme Dey

Claudia Beamish

Kate Forbes

Angus MacDonald

David Stewart

Emma Harper

Gail Ross


Local Government and Communities Committee

Graham Simpson

Andy Wightman

Bob Doris

Elaine Smith

Kenneth Gibson

Alexander Stewart

Mairi Evans

General political news


Scots-Irish business group launched


A new business organisation aimed at bringing together organisations in Ireland and Scotland was launched this week. Scottish external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop attended the launch. She said: “Scottish exports to Ireland are worth around £1.125 billion while the turnover of Irish businesses here in Scotland is over £2.5 billion, supporting nearly 6,000 jobs. The Scottish Government is pleased to welcome the development of the Irish Business Network Scotland to provide a way for businesses wanting to expand to tap into companies with experience already located in Scotland.”


Allegations of electoral fraud leads the SNP to call for a leading Conservative’s resignation


The SNP MP Pete Wishart has called on Conservative party chairman, Lord Feldman to resign while police investigate electoral fraud allegations. The Herald reported that the party is currently facing a series of police investigations into claims they breached strict election spending rules. It is claimed that they failed to record accommodation and transport costs for activists and officials campaigning in marginal seats.


EU Referendum – weekly update


  • A TNS survey found that if a second independence vote was planned following Scotland having to leave to EU against its will, a lower proportion would vote Yes than in September 2014
  • The EU vote registration website crashed this week, leading some MPs to call for an extension in the registration cut-off date, however this was rejected and the voter registration deadline has now passed
  • Lord Owen, the former leader of the SDP and Labour foreign secretary, has called for the Barnett Formula to be scrapped if the UK leaves the EU. It was one of a number of proposals he discussed in terms of the UK’s constitutional future should the electorate vote to leave the EU on 23 June



If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932 578 or

Perceptive Communicators celebrates ten years of success

Perceptive Communicators celebrates ten years of success

Multi-award winning communications consultancy Perceptive Communicators is celebrating ten successful years in business with the announcement of two client wins and the launch of its new website.

The Glasgow based organisation – which operates across the UK – has recently secured two new clients, property management and residential letting agency Speirs Gumley and AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd, one of Scotland’s leading new home developers.

These new client wins and increases in staff numbers has propelled the organisation – founded by Julie McLauchlan in 2006 – to become one of the leading Scottish communication agencies across the construction, technology, life sciences, professional services, economic development and travel sectors. Its market share has also increased with the introduction of new services including crisis management, SEO copywriting, digital audits and award entries.

Perceptive has secured three award wins recently for its client work and business growth.  Its work at The Athletes’ Village for City Legacy Homes won a UK Construction Marketing Award for Best Use of Press & PR, its campaign for BioCity won Best Healthcare and Pharma campaign and Perceptive’s significant business growth was recognised through the Growth Business of the Year at the East Dunbartonshire Business Awards. Perceptive is also the only Scottish company shortlisted in the public affairs category at the UK CIPR Excellence awards.

Julie McLauchlan, managing director and founder of Perceptive Communicators, said:

“This is a huge milestone for the company, with much more in the pipeline as we cement our position as a leading player within Scotland’s communications sector. When I started Perceptive ten years ago, I couldn’t have dreamt of the great clients and team that we are so fortunate to have.

“Our unique formula of employing only experienced staff who have been clients themselves and sticking to our chosen specialist niches has worked really well, leading to very loyal clients and team members. Results sit at the heart of everything we do and this approach has helped the organisation get to where it is today.  Almost 100% of our new business comes from our clients referring us on, and I’m very pleased both these new clients came to us as a result of a client recommendation.”

“We’ve recently invested in our team and in our new website which marks the 10th year of Perceptive. We have lots of other celebratory activities in the pipeline, so watch this space!”

Kier Construction Scotland announces duo of transport deals

Kier Construction Scotland announces duo of transport deals

Kier Construction Scotland announces one significant transport contract win and one framework appointment as it continues to establish its position within the sector.

Kier has been appointed as construction partner for £2m of upgrade work at Cumbernauld Bus Station on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council. The works, which have been won through hub South West Scotland, will be phased to maintain use by the public during the improvements and will provide increased accessibility and more attractive, modern and comfortable waiting facilities.

Work on Cumbernauld Bus Station is expected to begin later this year and follows the recent news that Kier has been appointed by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) to undertake expansion and modernisation work on Inverness Airport.

Kier has also been appointed to Glasgow Airport’s framework for the delivery of building works at the airport over the next three years during a period which sees the airport investing in new capital projects designed to provide a better experience for passengers.

Kier Construction Scotland’s business development manager, Gordon Reid, said: “These key appointments add to the positive momentum we have built up during the early part of 2016 and we are delighted to have secured two projects which will support Scotland’s infrastructure and transport offering.


“Our ongoing work with hub South West Scotland continues to go from strength to strength and we eagerly anticipate undertaking the work at Cumbernauld Bus Station, a project which, by the sharing of skills and experience through our supply chain, will be constructed so that the bus station is fully operational during the upgrade.


“Glasgow Airport is an asset of strategic national importance, providing employment for more than 7,300 people across Scotland and generating nearly £200 million annually for the economy, and we look forward to working with them to support their growth strategy.”


Lorna Bowden, Business Manager (Strategic Planning) at North Lanarkshire Council, said: “The creation of improved bus stances for Cumbernauld is an important project for the council and our partners which will see a £2.2million investment in the town centre. We have commissioned Kier Construction Scotland to deliver a positive outline design, which will meet the needs of the public, commuters and everyone who uses the town centre and will create a modern new facility for Cumbernauld.”


Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive, hub South West Scotland, said: “Hub South West are partnering with Kier Construction Scotland on a number of current projects, all of which will make a significant and positive impact on the delivery of services to the local communities these facilities will serve.


“Through this partnership approach, North Lanarkshire Council are making a significant investment in modernising these bus facilities and encouraging more frequent use of public transport. This project will provide Cumbernauld town centre with modern and accessible facilities, and we are looking forward to working once again with Kier Construction Scotland and our wider collaborators.”




AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd appoints new Affordable Housing Director

AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd appoints new Affordable Housing Director

Glasgow-based housebuilder AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd has announced the appointment of Roddy MacDonald as its new Affordable Housing Director.

AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd builds both private housing and social housing for registered social landlords such as the Wheatley Group, Cube Housing, Homes Scotland and Clydebank Housing Association. The company has recently completed five developments in and around Glasgow, comprising 221 homes in total and has recently gained planning approval on sites in Clydebank and Glasgow’s Anniesland to build a further 100 homes.

Mr MacDonald joins the company from national housing and care provider Sanctuary Group, where he spent six years at Sanctuary Scotland, latterly as Development Director. He will have the responsibility of delivering affordable housing in partnership with various partners across Scotland.

Since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Building from Heriot-Watt University, Mr MacDonald has enjoyed a 30-year career in housing, including spells with Miller, Dawn and Ogilvie Homes. Over the course of his career he has been involved in the provision of over 5,000 homes, and has extensive experience in managing large-scale regeneration projects, including the Anderston Regeneration Project in Glasgow and the Cumbernauld Multi Storey Regeneration project.

Roddy said: “I am very excited to be joining AS Homes to help them deliver high-quality, affordable housing across Scotland. During my time at Sanctuary Scotland, we worked with AS Homes on several occasions, so I was well aware of the company’s excellent reputation for delivering quality homes on time and on budget, which is something that is very important to me. I also liked the fact that the company is committed to giving local jobs to local people on each project. I am really looking forward to helping the company grow and in contributing to the regeneration of communities across Scotland.”

Paul Kelly, Managing Director of AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd said: “Roddy’s track record is tremendous and I am delighted to welcome him to our team at what is a very exciting time for AS Homes. He has a wealth of relevant experience, and his time with Sanctuary Scotland has given him an expert insight into social housing and regeneration. It’s already a very busy time for us at AS Homes as we get ready to start work across sites in Glasgow and Clydebank, and I’m optimistic that with Roddy on board the company can look forward to an even brighter future.”

Housing and Construction News

Housing and Construction News

Scottish Parliamentary business returned to some sense of normality this week with the announcement of the all-important committee convenerships for the coming term.  Although the SNP will retain 8 of the 15, the party has lost its automatic majority across every committee meaning their vital scrutiny role will come back into play as it did in the 2007-2011 session when the SNP last had a minority.


Elsewhere, the Lib Dems complete their spokesperson reshuffle, following those of the four larger parties reported last week.


And, as the EU referendum campaign enters its final four weeks, the ‘out’ camp announced its first non-Tory Scottish parliamentarian. Veteran left-winger Elaine Smith MSP (Central Scotland) said leaving the EU ‘would be in Scotland’s longer term economic interests.’


Housing and Construction related News


Third sector calls for new Warm Homes Act


Representatives of the ‘third sector’ have united this week to call for a new Warm Homes Act, arguing that delivering clean, affordable heat must be a priority for the new Scottish Government. The group, led by WWF Scotland, is lobbying the SNP administration to invest more in District Heating systems. These are commonplace in other European countries, and Scottish Ministers, they argue, “would do well to target capital investment at such schemes.”


The calls were supported by the Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems.  Green MSP Mark Ruskell told Holyrood: “Scotland needs to catch up quickly if we’re to meet our ambitions for a low-carbon society, tackle fuel poverty and create high quality jobs. Legislating for renewable heat networks goes hand in hand with the need to invest in energy efficient housing so that we reduce demand for heat and electricity in the first place.”


North Berwick regains its status as Scotland’s most expensive seaside town


House prices in the East Lothian town of North Berwick increased by 11 per cent from £294,076 in 2014, according to the annual Bank of Scotland Seaside Town Review, out this week. The rise puts it back on top after selling prices in St Andrews edged slightly ahead in 2014 but grew less last year to an average of £302,536.


The north east accounted for the next three most expensive, with Newtonhill, Stonehaven and Cove Bay, followed by Dunbar in East Lothian, Inverkip in Inverclyde, West Kilbride in North Ayrshire and Nairn.

General political news


Scottish Parliament announce 5th session committee plans


The Scottish Parliament’s committee structure for the coming term has been announced, with the SNP chairing the majority of the 15 likely to be approved.  The party will have eight convenorships, the Conservatives four and Labour three, but the SNP will not have a majority of seats on any committee, and therefore will have to seek consensus.  The SNP will have the convenership of the finance, education, equal opportunities, local government and social security committees, along with the standards, procedures and public appointments committee, the environment, climate change and land reform committee and the Europe and external relations committee.


The Scottish Conservatives will head up the economy, jobs and fair work committee, along with the justice committee, the rural economy and connectivity committee and the delegated powers and law reform committee.  Labour meanwhile will put forward convenors for the health and sport, public audit and public petitions committees – with MSPs Neil Findlay, Jenny Marra and Johann Lamont respectively nominated.


Scottish Lib Dems announce new spokespersons team


Following the other parties’ announcements, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has announced his new leadership team, with women outnumbering men. The move came after the party’s candidate selection process contributed to an all-male group of Lib Dem MSPs elected to Holyrood earlier this month. Mr Rennie appointed several female councillors and party members to key roles to increase gender balance.


Willie Rennie and his four fellow male MSPs have been given major policy portfolios in areas including finance, health and education. In addition, three female councillors and several unelected Liberal Democrat members will speak on a range of issues including social security and the environment. Holyrood candidate Katy Gordon, who failed to get elected, will oversee the party’s 2017 council election campaign.


First bespoke ‘tax cut’ under scrutiny


A plan to cut the first direct ‘UK wide’ tax north of the border, by halving airport passenger duty (APD), is coming under renewed scrutiny as a public consultation on the measure comes to a close.Climate campaigners have called on the Scottish government to rethink the cut, saying it is “inconsistent with Scotland’s climate commitments”, but airlines and Scottish airports have said it would boost tourism, investment and business activity in Scotland.  In Holyrood, all the non SNP parties oppose the cut so the new non majority arithmetic could make it a challenge for Nicola Sturgeon in the coming weeks.


Labour MSP joins EU exit campaign


Central Scotland Labour MSP Elaine Smith has become the first non-Conservative MSP to declare for the EU leave campaign.  Ms Smith lost her Coatbridge and Chryston seat to the SNP earlier this month but returned as a regional list MSP. She is one of 19 MSPs with continuous service from 1999.



EU Referendum – weekly update


  • This week’s EU polls show a most lead for LEAVING the EU, averaging about 47/48% to 42/43% across the UK when Don’t Knows are averaged out
  • David Cameron and London Mayor Sadiq Khan put aside party differences to share a platform at an EU Remain rally. They were launching a Britain Stronger In Europe battle bus and pledge card.
  • A pledge to bring in a “fairer” points-based immigration system if the UK left the European Union has triggered a warning other countries would adopt the same approach towards British workers. Dutch PM Mark Rutte said it would trigger “an inevitable, unavoidable race to the bottom”.



Parliamentary Question


Liam McArthur (LD, Orkney): To ask the Scottish Government whether the infrastructure investment plan that was referred to in the 2016 SNP manifesto will focus on the reported 72% of pre-1919 homes that are in disrepair.


If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932 578 or

Housing and Construction Now

Housing and Construction Now

The newly re-elected Scottish Government got back to business this week with the programme for government announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday, followed by a two day debate at Holyrood.  This was an opportunity for many of the 51 new MSPs to make their maiden speeches. Elsewhere, Scottish Labour announced their front bench spokespersons with roles for all six new Labour MSPs including former Health shadow Jenny Marra replaced by new Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar.


Housing and Construction related News


Some youngsters affected by Edinburgh school closures return to the classroom


Pupils from Oxgangs Primary, St Peter’s Primary and the Braidburn School returned to their classrooms this week following closures in April this year. However, a number still remain closed.  The schools affected were all either built or refurbished under the public private partnership (PPP) scheme. Edinburgh City Council has confirmed that an independent inquiry into the school closures will be held following the school summer holidays.


Scottish employment figures reach a record high


Employment levels in Scotland reached a record high in 2015, new figures released by the Scottish Government confirmed this week. The Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown welcomed the statistics, but emphasised there was “much work to do” to create and protect jobs in light of challenging economic conditions. From January to December 2015, employment rates for women also increased to the highest level since comparable records began and the gender employment gap also fell to its lowest level.


Scotland attracts ‘record inward investment’


Scotland achieved record-breaking levels of inward investment last year, a new survey published this week has found. The latest EY (formerly Ernst & Young) Scotland Attractiveness Survey revealed 119 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects were secured in 2015. The figure represented a 51% increase on the previous year, compared with 20% for the UK as a whole. On the UK regional league table Scotlandsurpassed south east England to come second behind London.


General political news


Scottish Labour announces new Holyrood team


Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has unveiled her new front bench team, and said campaigning against the SNP Government’s cuts and for using the powers of the Parliament to invest in the future of our economy will be the key approach of her front bench team over the next five years.


Key points are: Kezia Dugdale will take on the finance brief, placing Labour’s anti-austerity message at the heart of the party’s campaigning; there is a 50-50 gender balance in the shadow cabinet; the shadow cabinet contains four new appointments

  • Anas Sarwar
  • Lewis Macdonald
  • Claudia Beamish
  • Rhoda Grant

All six of the party’s new MSPs have been appointed to roles within the front bench team.  In addition, North East MSP Jenny Marra will be Labour’s first nominee for a committee convenership.


  • Deputy Leader Alex Rowley becomes the Community, Social Security and Equalities spokesperson
  • Former leader Iain Gray retains the Education, Skills and Science role (with new Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson as his deputy).

Other key posts include: former Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar replacing Jenny Marra at Health, Claudia Beamish moving to Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

  • Jackie Baillie covering Economy, Fair Work and Jobs
  • Clare Baker leading on Justice issues.


The Scotland Act 2016 gifts more powers to Scotland


This week saw the Scottish Parliament formally assume new powers given under the Scotland Act 2016. The Act, which was passed by Westminster in March, will give Holyrood the power to legislate on a number of new areas such as equal opportunities and the legal speed limit in Scotland.  Constitution Secretary Derek Mackay said: “The Scotland Act sees the most substantial change to the powers of the Parliament since devolution. From today, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish government have new powers over many areas, notably in equality, consumer advocacy and transport.”


Lib Dem MSP calls for parliamentary business to stop before the EU referendum


Mike Rumbles MSP, the Liberal Democrat’s business manager, has requested the suspension of Scottish Parliament activity in the week before the EU referendum, set to take place on 23 June. The UK Parliament will break for a recess the week before and Mr Rumbles wishes for this to happen in Scotland. Mr Rumbles said: “We will choose either to remain in the EU and lead Europe or cut ties with our friends and neighbours and go it alone. It was right the Scottish Parliament did not sit in the weeks before the independence referendum…there is a strong case for the final week of the EU campaign to be about our place in Europe and nothing else.”


Scottish Conservative leader announces engagement


Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP announced she has become engaged to partner Jen Wilson.  Fellow political leaders were quick to offer congratulations via social media.



EU Referendum – weekly update


  • A new ICM poll for The Scotsman shows support for staying in Europe up four points to 54 per cent – compared to only 32 per cent support for Brexit.  With don’t knows removed, this represents 63 per cent support for continuing Scotland’s membership of the EU
  • Nicola Sturgeon has warned that “overblown” government warnings about the economic impact of leaving the EU risk alienating the public across the United Kingdom
  • Alex Salmond has predicted that Scotland would vote for independence within two years of the UK voting to leave the European Union. Mr Salmond was speaking during a televised BBC EU debate on Thursday night. He argued that Scotlandbeing “dragged” out of the EU would be sufficient to trigger a second referendum.


Parliamentary activity


Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Green Party):

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S4W-27557 by Margaret Burgess on 18 September 2015, what plans it has to take forward the planned consultation on proposals for the regulation of energy efficiency in private sector homes.


If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932 578 or

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