Blog :

Housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Homes take milestone step as they expand housebuilding into England

Housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Homes take milestone step as they expand housebuilding into England

Housebuilder, Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, part of the Mactaggart & Mickel Group, have taken a big step forward with their expansion plans into England as they lodge reserved matters planning permission for their first English site at Milton under Wychwood in Witney, Oxfordshire, with another detailed planning application for a second English site at East Challow in Oxfordshire, expected to be lodged in the coming weeks.

The award winning family housebuilder has been building homes in Scotland since 1925 and has won over 100 National House Building Council (NHBC) awards, and most recently won the highly acclaimed Queen’s Award for Enterprise for their work as part of City Legacy, developers of the Athletes’ Village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Now, their move into the English house building market marks a major milestone for the business as they plan to broaden their geographical reach to a UK wide audience.

Mactaggart & Mickel Group already has a strong land bank in England and has been involved in strategic land development south of the border since 2008, securing over 1200 acres across the north west and south west of England, with a further 250 acres under offer.

The housing development at Milton under Wychwood currently has outline planning consent for 62 new homes and a decision on their detailed planning application is expected in late autumn.

Ed Monaghan, Chairman of Mactaggart & Mickel Homes England Ltd said:

“It’s an exciting time for the company and fulfils our long term ambition to expand and become a UK housebuilder.  We have been delivering quality homes for nearly a century and our English strategic land business has been very successful in identifying and promoting viable sites, so building our own housing developments south of the border is the next natural step.

“We look forward to the opportunity of working with local suppliers and contributing to the local economy in the areas where we plan to deliver quality new homes.”

Mactaggart & Mickel currently employ 279 members of staff and they anticipate this will rise over the coming year as they expand into England.

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 25 August 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 25 August 2017

Last week it was the UK Lib Dem leader in Scotland and this week UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has had a summer campaign visit north of Carlisle, saying that Scotland holds the keys to delivering a Labour government. Of the 64 seats Labour needs to win to secure a parliamentary majority, 18 – more than a quarter – are in Scotland. In seats such as Glasgow South West, Glasgow East, Airdrie and Shotts, Lanark and Hamilton East, Motherwell and Wishaw, Inverclyde and Dunfermline and West Fife swings of less than 1 per cent are required to deliver Labour MPs who could replace the minority Tory government returned in June.

Meanwhile, the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon met in Edinburgh and have agreed to work together on amendments to the UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill. These changes will be designed to protect devolved powers and responsibilities and provide effective powers to ensure devolved law works on withdrawal from the EU. The First Ministers also committed to coordinate advice to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to ensure that both are fully informed of the risks posed by the UK Government Bill and the proposed changes. Both governments have previously made clear that they could not recommend legislative consent is given to the UK Government’s proposals as they impose unacceptable constraints on current devolved powers, and are impractical and unworkable in practice.

Carwyn Jones will be watching closely electoral rule changes which could be explored to allow Welsh Assembly members to job-share, following a report from the Assembly Commission. Campaigners said the move, a first for politics in the UK, would attract more women and disabled people to politics. The Assembly Commission said job-sharing was a “possibility” under new powers.  The Electoral Commission said no joint candidacies were allowed in any UK elections under current law. Sarah Rees, of the Women’s Equality Party, said Wales should be the first to make the change, with the assembly encouraging flexible working by “leading by example”.

On Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon and Derek MacKay launched the Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2016-17 publication, alongside a statistical summary. This key economic indicator shows that, overall, public sector revenue was estimated at £58bn and the national deficit fell by £1.3bn. Onshore revenues increased by £3.3bn, which is the fastest increase since records began. North Sea revenue also increased from £56m to £208m. However, when an illustrative geographic share of North Sea revenue is included, Scotland’s public sector revenue is £10,722 per person, which is £312 lower than the UK average. Furthermore, public sector expenditure is estimated at £13,175 per person, which is £1,437 higher than the UK average.

The figures also reveal that Scotland’s deficit stands at £13.3bn (8.3% of GDP) compared to £46.2bn for the whole of the UK (2.4% of GDP). At the same time, Scotland’s Chief Statistician has announced the latest publication of Quarterly National Accounts Scotland. Key statistics show that during the first quarter of 2017, Scotland’s onshore GDP is estimated to have grown by 0.7% in real terms based on 2014 weights, a revision from a previous estimate of 0.8% in July.

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 932578 or

If you enjoyed this issue of Scottish Political Insider, sign-up to receive it directly to your inbox every Friday (link opens in a new tab).

Consortium that built the Athletes’ Village is honoured by the city for Queen’s Award win

Consortium that built the Athletes’ Village is honoured by the city for Queen’s Award win

City Legacy Homes, the consortium that built the Athletes’ Village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has been honoured by the city to celebrate winning the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.

Glasgow City Council’s Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, in her role as Lord Lieutenant, hosted the civic reception where she presented the crystal Queen’s Award for Enterprise to directors of the City Legacy consortium – Calum Murray of CCG, John Gallacher of Cruden, Ed Monaghan of Mactaggart & Mickel and Martin Kiely of WH Malcolm, at the city chambers.

The Queen’s Awards are the highest official UK awards for British businesses. Each year they are presented to companies to recognise outstanding achievements in the categories of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

City Legacy now joins an elite group of organisations which have received, and are permitted to bear the Queen’s Award emblem.  This also marks the 25th accolade that the Athletes’ Village has won for its high quality design, energy efficiency and sustainability.

The Athletes’ Village has been a huge success story in the role it has played in regenerating the east end of Glasgow.  Comprising 700 homes and a 120-bed care home, it first provided accommodation for 6,500 athletes and officials during the 2014 Commonwealth Games before being converted into residences as part of the overall project. Demand for the homes was unprecedented, selling out two years ahead of schedule.

In July, City Legacy directors Ed Monaghan and Calum Murray attended a reception for this year’s Queen’s Award winners at Buckingham Palace which was hosted by HRH The Queen.

Martin Kiely, MD of WH Malcolm, and Director of City Legacy, said: “It’s been a rewarding and inspiring journey from idea to delivery on the Athletes’ Village, and this award really belongs to the staff at all four companies – CCG, Cruden, Mactaggart & Mickel and WH Malcolm – who worked tirelessly for years to ensure the success of the project. We are grateful, too, for the excellent working partnership we enjoyed with Glasgow City Council throughout delivering the project.

“We knew from day one that The Village would offer a lasting legacy for Glasgow’s East End, and with a decision on planning permission for the second phase of this development expected in the coming weeks, we hope to begin the next chapter of this amazing success story.”

The Lord Provost Eva Bolander said: “Lord Provost Eva Bolander said; “One of the great legacies of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was the Athletes’ Village, home to the athletes in that fantastic summer and now the site of 700 homes that has won widespread acclaim.  The council’s partner in delivering the Athletes’ Village was the City Legacy consortium, and I am delighted that their work has been recognised by this Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.  The Athletes’ Village was key – along with the Emirates Arena and the Clyde Gateway route – in the regeneration of Dalmarnock, which now has a new community centre, nursery, woodland park, and care home, with a new primary school on the way.”

Clyde Gateway duo are celebrating success following Glasgow Business Award nominations

Clyde Gateway duo are celebrating success following Glasgow Business Award nominations

Two tech businesses operating from The Albus building in Clyde Gateway – one of Scotland’s most successful regeneration areas – are celebrating after being named as finalists in the coveted Glasgow Business Awards, organised by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

School Cloud Systems is an educational technology company founded in 2006 by two 16-year old friends, Robbie Beattie and Marcus Fields. The company, who moved to The Albus in May to accommodate their growing team, is shortlisted in the Best Performing Business (1-10 employees) category.

Fellow Albus tenants Cloud Cover IT, who provide cloud services, software and hardware solutions, IT support and network management, are finalists in the Best Performing Business (11-50 employees) category.

Clyde Gateway is a physical, social and economic regeneration programme that is changing the image, perception and fortunes of Glasgow’s east end and South Lanarkshire. The Albus is situated in the centre of the regenerated Bridgeton area, and is one of only a handful of speculative developments that have been built in the Glasgow city region over the last few years.  The building has attracted tenants in the creative and tech industries, including publishing company Peebles Media and digital creative agency MadeBrave.

Fionna Kell, Senior Manager for Inward Investment at Clyde Gateway, said: “We are delighted that two successful and exciting businesses, who have recently joined the growing list of companies located within Clyde Gateway, have been named as finalists in these prestigious awards.

“The Albus offers the latest digital technology and superb connectivity, so it is no surprise that is attracting tech companies in particular, and becoming something of a mini tech and creative ‘hub’. We wish School Cloud Systems and Cloud Cover IT all the best at the Glasgow Business Awards ceremony, and here’s hoping they can each bring a trophy back to Clyde Gateway.”

Kier Construction Scotland delivers  £25m Ayr Academy

Kier Construction Scotland delivers £25m Ayr Academy

A new Ayr Academy secondary school is set to open later this month after being delivered by Kier Construction and hub South West Scotland on behalf of South Ayrshire Council.

Ayr Academy, whose origins can be traced back to 1233 but did not come to be known by its present name until 1796, has moved to the Craigie Estate from its former location in the town’s Fort Street.

The new Ayr Campus will cater for 1,000 school students, with the capacity for a further 300, and will create a modern and inclusive facility where students can learn in a sustainable and well-designed environment.

The £25 million project is a part of a £94m pipeline being delivered by the authority across South Ayrshire in the next 18 months with the aim of enhancing standards through targeted investment.

During its construction the new Ayr Academy was used as a part of hub South West’s bespoke programme, ‘Your Future starts in Construction’, during which it collaborated with the Prince’s Trust and Ayrshire College to enable local youngsters to gain work experience on a live site and achieve a unique accreditation.

Ayr Academy was the first project in Scotland to reach financial close post European System of Accounts (ESA 10) resolution in January 2016.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “Ayr Academy Campus is a wonderful state-of-the-art facility that I’m sure all students and teachers will enjoy.

“It is the latest project we have delivered on behalf of South Ayrshire Council over the past twelve months and is great tribute to partnership working that we can now celebrate the finished result. The new campus will be a great asset.”

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland and North-East England business, said: “We are pleased to have delivered this leading, modern Academy with fantastic new sports facilities for students and the wider community to enjoy, building on our track record of delivering quality schools throughout Scotland.

“Through hub South West, we have worked with local suppliers and SME’s to ensure that the project boosts the local economy of Ayr and the surrounding area, including training and employment opportunities. During the construction of Ayr Academy we have created 17 work placements, 16 apprenticeships and two graduated traineeships, giving local young people valuable experience of working in this thriving and rewarding industry.”

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 18 August 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 18 August 2017

Brexit terseness returned in what was a relatively quiet (and still Holyrood recess) week as Nicola Sturgeon dismissed the UK government’s plans for a post-Brexit customs deal with the EU as a “daft ‘have cake and eat it’ approach”. Ministers have set out plans for an “ambitious new customs arrangement” with the EU after the UK leaves which could include a “temporary customs union” after March 2019 to prevent border problems during the process. However, the First Minister said the UK “should commit to staying in the single market and customs union, period”.

Concerns have been raised about changes to the way Freedom of information (FoI) requests are handled in Scotland.  All Scottish Government FoI requests are now published online after complaints about late responses. But Tavish Scott MSP, former Scottish Liberal Democrats leader, said this week that journalists have been put off making requests because rivals get the answers at the same time.  Ministers insist it shows Scotland has one of “the most open and transparent governments in the world”. The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act gives everyone the right to ask for any information held by a Scottish public authority, with a response required within 20 working days.

The SNP has challenged Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council to publish their report into activity by leader Jim Logue. Auditors probed the creation of two subsidiary companies of the council’s arm’s length firm North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd – neither of which appeared in Logue’s register of interests despite the councillor serving as a director for four years.

Internal auditors described the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the companies as “opaque”, with the creation of the firms neither “approved, or reported to, the NLL Board.”  The council are refusing to publish the full report, instead releasing a four paragraph summary, and so far Jim Logue has refused to step down as council leader while inquiries are ongoing into his activities.

Glasgow City Council hosted a civic reception last night for clients, City Legacy, developers of the multi-award winning Athletes’ Village, including Cruden, CCG, Mactaggart & Mickel and Malcolm Group. This recognised City Legacy winning the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the 25th award for its leading edge sustainable development which has helped transform the East End of Glasgow, not just for the Commonwealth Games but for the long term, creating a true legacy.

And finally … Alex Salmond’s two-week fringe show has delighted audiences but disappointed critics – caveat emptor if you are at a loose end in Edinburgh this weekend!

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 932578 or

If you enjoyed this issue of Scottish Political Insider, sign-up to receive it directly to your inbox every Friday (link opens in a new tab).

How to get the most out of broadcast interviews

How to get the most out of broadcast interviews



By Clare Todd

Most mornings, as I get ready for work, I listen to radio news to get a jump-start on the news of the day.
Some items are of more interest than others but what always stops me in my tracks is a live interview going spectacularly wrong – at least as far as the interviewee is concerned.

I stop what I am doing, turn up the volume, and listen to the back and forth, sometimes with amusement but more often with incredulity. As a communicator of 25 years’ standing, it’s painfully clear to me that the person squirming in the studio or stuttering down the line has not properly prepared or more specifically been media-trained to cope with this high-pressure situation that is unlike any other conversation they will have.

While many people are skilled and confident in media situations, I have lost count of the number of senior people who shy away from broadcast interviews when asked to step in front of the microphone or camera. They are happy to provide a quote for a release, of course, but ask them to follow this up with a broadcast interview and they run for cover, mumbling about a forgotten dental appointment.

Some lucky people are naturally good at media interviews. But for the rest of us mere mortals, we have to learn how to handle them. And the good news is, it’s not rocket science. The approach is a bit different depending on whether an interview is live or recorded but the principles are the same. The first is to find out – or work out – what you are going to be asked and in what role you are being interviewed – industry expert, passive witness or even villain.

The one question that is often missed is finding out who else is being interviewed. Is your interview standalone or are you being pitted against the opposite perspective? Broadcasters in particular are duty-bound to demonstrate balance, so sharing conflicting views is standard practice. Much better to know the context of other interviewees so you are not caught on the back foot live on air.

While Theresa May’s “strong and stable” message became a negative, it’s still important to remember an interview is not a normal conversation, so be really clear on the two or three key points you want to convey – and make them quickly. Finally, practise the interview in advance.

Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that, and that’s where media training comes in. A decent media training package will include the above and more, ensuring that your senior team is prepared to represent the organisation in a professional manner. External trainers will also flag up any industry jargon that would prevent people understanding what you are saying. Rail bosses used to talk about “strengthening trains” until it was pointed out to them that “adding carriages” might make more sense to passengers.

If you decide to invest in media training make sure that the content suits the likely needs of your organisation. For example, you may not need to practise in an expensive recording studio. All too often, one reporter will use their smartphone and a plug-in microphone. So look out for a company that has moved with the digital times.

And finally – a heartfelt plea here – please hold the training before you are facing a crisis or damage-limitation. We can help you either way, but being prepared makes practical and financial sense. The so-called “golden hour” – the chance to get prepared before a big story breaks – no longer exists thanks to social media. If you are finding out, chances are so are your audiences.

Like it or not, your customers and stakeholders are influenced by what they see, read and hear about you and your organisation on media and social media channels. They may not read your annual report, but they will remember the time you were skewered live on air over the nation’s breakfast tables.

This article originally appeared on 

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 11 August 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 11 August 2017

Brexit returned to the agenda this week as the possibility of releasing additional powers to Holyrood after Brexit was discussed in talks between the UK and Scottish ministers. First Secretary of State Damian Green met Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell in Edinburgh on Wednesday. The Scottish Government has warned of a Westminster “power grab” over fishing, farming and the environment, whilst UK ministers insist many new powers will be given to Scotland. Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who was also at the talks, has previously spoken of a powers “bonanza” for Holyrood.

Scottish Labour’s summer campaign, For The Many, has this week focused on how to make Scotland “a greener country”. The party has called on the Scottish Government to increase the minimum standards of energy efficiency for homes in the private rented sector. It wants to see the proposed minimum standard increased, from EPC D to C by 2025.

The party is also calling for existing Landlords Registration Schemes to be enhanced to ensure that energy efficiency regulations are enforced. Shadow Housing Minister Pauline McNeill MSP said: “There already exists strict standards over the energy efficiency of homes in the social housing sector, yet there is none whatsoever for privately rented homes. It’s time to place higher obligations on private landlords to achieve this”

Permanent jobs and starting salaries are on the rise in Scotland, according to a new report out this week. The latest IHS Markit Report on Jobs indicated a “sharp improvement” in labour conditions last month. There were “steep increases” in both permanent and temporary placements, as starting salaries hit a 10-month high. However, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) warned that employers were “struggling” as European Union workers left.

The UK Trade Bill, a key part of post-Brexit planning, is due for publication next month, according to a Government advert reported this week in relation to the new UK Trade Remedies Organisation.  The advert states: “The Trade Remedies Organisation will be underpinned by detailed legislation which is being delivered as part of the Trade Bill due to be introduced in Parliament in September 2017.

“Following the completion of primary and secondary legislation, we are currently working on the basis that this new organisation will need to be operational by October 2018 in order to take on new investigations from UK producers (which would otherwise be concluded by the EU authorities after the UK has left the EU).”

And finally … The Queen will officially open a new bridge over the Forth next month. She will be joined by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the ceremony on the Queensferry Crossing on 4 September. The £1.35bn bridge will open to traffic on 30 August, but it will close on 2 and 3 September to allow pedestrians to cross. The opening ceremony will take place exactly 53 years after the Queen opened the Forth Road Bridge.

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 932578 or

If you enjoyed this issue of Scottish Political Insider, sign up to receive it direct to your inbox every Friday (link opens in a new tab).

Main beams for new AECC arena arrive on site

Main beams for new AECC arena arrive on site

The major steel beams spanning the width of the main arena at the new £333million AECC site are being installed at the site using two specialised cranes.

The 14 beams – or trusses – are being lifted into place using two crawler cranes working together to lift them into place. Each of the beams weighs 84tonnes which is the same as about 56 medium-sized cars.

The 88-metre-long steel trusses span the width of the arena, and given their size, were brought to site in sections and bolted together on the ground.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “I’m delighted to see the main beams installed in the arena of the new AECC. The arena is now really taking shape and when you see the size of the building, you realise what a significant development this is for the city.

“We are confident that the scale and quality of the new AECC will ensure it competes with the best national and international venues and it will play an important role in helping to grow our local economy.”

The new AECC is being built by Aberdeen City Council along with partner Henry Boot Developments, with the Robertson Group as the main contractor.

Nigel Munro, senior project manager at Henry Boot Developments said: “The installation of the huge steel trusses that will span the width of the arena is another very visible milestone in the construction of the new AECC, and one that has been really impressive to watch.

“With these now in place, passers by can really begin to see the shape and scale of the building. Work is continuing to go well on site and it’s great to see this important project coming together.”

The world-class new exhibition and conference centre for Aberdeen and the north east will generate 600 new jobs during the construction period and 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions by year 10 of operations.

Bill Robertson, executive chairman and founder, Robertson Group, said: “Work is well underway on site and the steelwork for the new exhibition centre beginning to be erected marks a significant project milestone. The sheer size of the trusses makes this a particularly complex undertaking, with our team using their considerable experience to ensure the process goes to plan.

“As main contractor for the new AECC, we were pleased to welcome the leader of Aberdeen City Council to the site to see the ongoing progress. Once complete, the venue will be of huge value for the entire region and as a company which has had a presence in Aberdeen for quarter of a century, it is an honour to be delivering this project.”

The new AECC is located near Aberdeen International Airport and is due for completion in 2019. It will anchor existing international events and competing nationally and internationally for new events, as well as by broadening the appeal of the north-east to a global audience.

Over the next 10 years, the new exhibition and conference centre is expected to attract major artists and events to the city, and contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113million of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy. It will provide four times the exhibition space available at the current AECC, and increase the maximum capacity to 12,500 in the arena.

Construction ‘Innovation Factory’ to be launched with industry event

Construction ‘Innovation Factory’ to be launched with industry event

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s pioneering Innovation Factory will be officially launched at an industry event on Monday 11 September 2017.

The £3m centre, located at Hamilton International Technology Park in Lanarkshire, will allow anyone within the construction industry to access 30,000 sq. ft. of workshop space filled with state-of-the-art production and prototyping equipment and technology.

Construction businesses of all sizes can use the facility to test and develop new products, processes, systems and solutions, from early stage ideas through to full commercialisation. The building will also provide a range of collaboration and training facilities to allow organisations in the private, public and academic sectors to share knowledge and information.

The launch event will bring together hundreds of professionals who are interested in the future of construction for a series of industry-leading speakers, interactive workshops and demonstrations.

Keynote speakers include Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, CEO of Crossrail and Co-Chair UK Construction Leadership Council, and Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman and Co-Founder of Urban Splash.

Delegates can also attend a series of “Hack Workshops”, exploring topics such as “What if construction adopted a more entrepreneurial mindset?” and “What if schools taught the skills your workforce needs?” Workshop leaders will include Jim Duffy MBE, Co-founder of Entrepreneurial Spark and author of Create Special.

Stephen Good, Chief Executive of Construction Scotland Innovation Centre said:

“The Innovation Factory is something that the team here at CSIC has been working towards since we launched in October 2014. It will provide a dynamic environment, away from the conventional building site, where the Scottish construction industry can innovate, take risks, explore and learn in a safe and supported environment.

“We have seen a steady increase in construction innovation over the past few years, and I hope that this new facility will inspire even more people within the industry to think outside the box.

“The calibre of speakers at our launch event is testament to the importance of the Innovation Factory in accelerating innovation within the industry.”

Registration and attendance at the event is free. Those wishing to attend should register at as soon as possible to guarantee their place.


Scottish Political Insider – Friday 4 August 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 4 August 2017

In a rare quiet week, one of the main political headlines was news that the long-running fraud case against former Edinburgh West SNP MP Michelle Thomson has been dropped due to an absence of sufficient evidence.

Mrs Thomson had been reported to Scottish prosecutors in December after a police investigation into allegations of mortgage fraud. She resigned from the SNP whip, and was deselected by the party ahead of June’s general election. The Lib Dems went on to retake the seat which they had lost to Mrs Thomson in 2015.  The Crown Office has now concluded that there should be “no criminal proceedings at this time”.

Never short of an opinion, US President Donald Trump has commented on the possibility of Scottish independence in a New York Times interview this week.  President Trump has said a second Scottish independence referendum would be “terrible” and compared the initial vote on separation to going “through hell”.  He also said he plans to be “very involved” in Britain because “you don’t hear the word ‘Britain’ anymore”, but added that his administration is working on a “very big and exciting” post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

The referendums on independence and Brexit have “completely transformed” the party political system in Scotland, a new analysis has concluded. The British Election Study charted how the party order has switched over the three general elections since 2010. A total of 21 seats changed hands in Scotland in June’s snap election, less than half the 50 which switched in the 2015 vote. The study said the two constitutional referendums had been the catalyst for the changes.  Link to source: new report

Along with two other committees of the Parliament, the Finance and Constitution Committee has recently established an External Experts Panel to assist it with its work. The Panel’s experts will provide advice to MSPs on a range of subjects relevant to the Committee’s remit. The Panel will operate as a pilot to the start of summer recess in 2018. The Panel is a joint initiative with the Centre on Constitutional Change, based at the University of Edinburgh.

And finally … Alex Salmond’s two-week stint at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has completely sold out.  As reported before, the former First Minister is to star in Alex Salmond Unleashed later this month.  All 15 performances have now sold out – with Mr Salmond selling a total of 5,250 tickets at the 350-capacity Assembly Rooms.

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 932578 or

If you enjoyed this issue of Scottish Political Insider, sign up to receive it direct to your inbox every Friday (link opens in a new tab).

SHARC Energy Systems brings new jobs and new technology to Clyde Gateway  

SHARC Energy Systems brings new jobs and new technology to Clyde Gateway  

A Canadian energy company has become the latest occupant at Clyde Gateway’s Red Tree Business Suites, in a move that brings a highly skilled team of seven to Bridgeton.

SHARC Energy Systems is the European arm of Vancouver-based International Wastewater Systems Inc (IWS), which has over 100 years of experience in the heating, ventilating and geo-exchange industries.

The company has taken 974 sq.ft of office space at Clyde Gateway’s serviced offices at Red Tree, Bridgeton on a two year licence. The office will become SHARC’s new European headquarters.

SHARC Energy Systems has designed and developed a new method for extracting waste heat from raw sewage flows. Through heat pump technology, it produces clean, renewable thermal energy for buildings, resulting in vital savings in energy, costs and carbon emissions.

In May 2017, SHARC was awarded £5m of funding from the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), managed by the Scottish Government, to install its innovative new technology at five locations across Scotland. These include Clyde Gateway’s Shawfield (Magenta) and Dalmarnock developments, where it is proposed that the SHARC technology will be used to heat Clyde Gateway’s commercial buildings.

Ian Manson, Chief Executive at Clyde Gateway said: “We are delighted that IWS has become the latest company to choose Clyde Gateway, in this case as the location for its new European headquarters. It is particularly exciting as SHARC Energy Systems will also be carrying out work to install its technology at our Magenta and Dalmarnock developments.

“SHARC Energy Systems plans to use a significant waste water resource, located right in the heart of our regeneration area, to heat and cool buildings that we are looking to develop, which will have significant benefits for the Clyde Gateway area in terms of energy and cost savings.”

Russ Burton, Chief Operating Officer at International Wastewater Systems said: “Funding from the LCITP has created the confidence for SHARC to recruit new employees and establish a dedicated Scottish office that is expected to become the headquarters for all UK and European SHARC activity.

“Clyde Gateway is an excellent location with access to a highly skilled workforce. Having Clyde Gateway as the home for our European operations could also provide us with the additional production capacity we need to meet the increasing demand for our products across Europe.

“With a potential heating demand of 22MW, the Clyde Gateway development creates an opportunity for SHARC to demonstrate the capacity of our technology to deliver a truly carbon efficient district heat network service.”

Perceptive Communicators appointed by Mactaggart & Mickel Group

Perceptive Communicators appointed by Mactaggart & Mickel Group

Mactaggart & Mickel Group, award winning family housebuilder and developer has appointed Perceptive Communicators to handle PR and public affairs across the UK.

The Glasgow-based agency will handle all UK activities for the Group, plus their Homes, Timber Systems and Contracts divisions.

The win cements a longstanding professional relationship between both companies stretching back to 2007. As well as supporting Mactaggart & Mickel on a series of internal and external communications projects, Perceptive Communicators has led the public relations activity since 2009 for City Legacy, developers of the multi award winning Athlete’s Village for Glasgow 2014, which includes Mactaggart & Mickel. Perceptive scooped the Best Press & PR campaign in the UK for their work with City Legacy at the Athletes’ Village.

Joanne Casey, director of Mactaggart & Mickel Homes said:  “We have worked successfully with Perceptive on many projects, including their award winning work with City Legacy. The team is proactive, flexible and deliver consistently excellent results so we are very pleased to be working with them.”

Julie McLauchlan, founder and managing director of Perceptive Communicators, said:  “We are extremely proud of our long and productive relationships with our clients.  Mactaggart & Mickel was one of our very first clients so we are delighted to be appointed to deliver a comprehensive range of ongoing support.”

Perceptive Communicators was recognised as Outstanding Small PR Consultancy by CIPR last year and has recently celebrated its 10th year in business.

If your business could benefit from results-focused and strategic communications advice, get in touch for an informal chat on

Scroll Up