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One of Scotland’s foremost family businesses, fourth-generation housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Group have today (31 October) announced their financial results for the year to 30 April 2017.

The company, which was founded in 1925, reported a rise in profits for the fifth consecutive year with profit before tax up 22 per cent to £12.7 million (2016: £10.4 million) and turnover increasing by 14 per cent to £74.3m (2016: £65.1m).

Mactaggart & Mickel’s flagship Homes division posted a robust performance.  Turnover increased by 12.7 per cent to £62m (2016: £55m) and gross profits rose to £15.1m (2016: £13.7m). The division sold 167 homes this financial year (2016: 169 homes) and saw its average house sale value climb to £351,000 (2016: £290,000) due to the development sales mix and careful targeting of high-quality locations. Two new developments were launched in Scotland this year: Red Lion in Newton Mearns and Millerhill at Shawfair in Midlothian.

One of the main drivers behind the Group’s impressive results is continued investment in their English Strategic Land business. Promoting these developments and successfully securing residential consents has proven beneficial in terms of this year’s land sales where turnover has increased to £4.7m (2016: £0.8m).

Mactaggart & Mickel Group’s long-term goal to expand into the English house building market reached a major milestone this year with the purchase of two sites for development in Oxfordshire, both expected to begin in 2018. This cements the Group’s ambition to expand and grow the company before a UK audience. 

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Ed Monaghan said: “These results show that we have delivered an excellent financial performance, continued to grow the business and increased profits and turnover.  This has been achieved against a backdrop of investment in the development of our employees and continually improving and evolving the business.

“Realising our strategy to expand into the English house building market has been a significant milestone for the Group this year, and this focus will continue in the years ahead.

“Earlier this year we won the highly acclaimed Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, as part of the City Legacy consortium – an enormous achievement for the whole team. I’m equally proud that we continue to be recognised for the top quality build projects that we deliver. Ultimately, client satisfaction drives our success and we have achieved a 5-star rating for customer satisfaction from the Home Builders Federation for the fifth year in a row, together with our full sales team securing accreditations from the Institute of Customer Service.

“The Group is in strong financial health and outlook remains positive for 2018 as we broaden our geographical reach and invest in new markets.”

Operational highlights include: 

  • Homes – turnover increased to £62m (2016: £55m)and gross profit to £15.1m (2016: £13.7m) with 167 units sold (2016: 169 units). Two brand new developments were launched this year – Red Lion in Newton Mearns and Millerhill at Shawfair in Midlothian.  The upcoming Homes England business made significant progress with the purchase of two sites in Oxfordshire, expected to begin in 2018.
  • Timber Systems – turnover at the Timber Systems division remained steady at £6.3m
    (2016: £6.3m)with gross profits relatively steady year on yearThe year saw an increase in the number and variety of external contracts, and the development of new products, plus the introduction of a new backshift at the factory, increasing operational efficiency to meet growing demand.
  • Contracts – the Contracts team has progressed plans for more developments of affordable homes and currently have over 100 units in the pipeline for upcoming sites at Symington, Killearn, Malletsheugh and Millerhill at Shawfair.
  • Commercial Property – the Commercial Property team achieved a turnover of £2.5m; their best year since establishment in 2009. They invested approximately £6.2m on two new acquisitions; a portfolio of four Iceland stores and retail units in the heart of Edinburgh with redevelopment potential.
  • Private Rented Sector (PRS) – the PRS division plan to grow their £60m portfolio in Scotland and England with continued investment in the London lettings market; their investment in this portfolio in 2017 almost doubling during the year to £10.3m.
  • Strategic Land– the Group’s Strategic Land division had an excellent year, realising their most profitable site to date in the village of Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, and several more sites continue to be progressed through the planning system. This reinforces their strategy to diversify into markets and geographical areas where opportunities remain strong.
  • Investment – £20m was reinvested in the year in new land in both Scotland and England as well as new commercial property assets and an expanding London residential property portfolio.  The Group’s Investment Fund made investments in the year in private equity, start-ups and growth companies while maintaining healthy debt and gearing levels.
Scottish Political Insider – Friday 27 October 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 27 October 2017

The Scottish Parliament concluded its two-week October recess and returned to normal business, until the Christmas break, on Tuesday.

By Wednesday, in a relatively rare move, Scottish Labour called for a senior minister – Shona Robison – to be removed from her post as Health Secretary after an expert report exposed what the party is calling “the failings of the SNP’s management of the NHS.”  Audit Scotland published its annual State of the NHS report, which shows, amongst other points, no progress and in some case declining performance on key performance indicators, with seven out of eight missed again, the health budget falling in real terms with health boards having to make unsustainable savings and the NHS struggling to maintain quality of care.

Back to Brexit and, by Thursday, we learned that UK government assessments of the potential economic impact of Brexit on Scotland will not be made public, the Brexit Secretary David Davis MP has confirmed.  The analysis will, however, be shared with the Scottish Government. Mr Davis told the Brexit select committee that publishing the analysis could undermine the national interest.

Responding, Nicola Sturgeon said people had a right to know how leaving the EU would affect all areas of the UK, and she said any refusal to release the information to the public would be “unconscionable”.

Elsewhere, a public consultation is to be launched on plans for a national investment bank for Scotland. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the move at a conference on “inclusive growth” in Glasgow. The establishment of a Scottish national investment bank was included in Ms Sturgeon’s programme for government, revealed in September. Views will now be sought from the public on the detail of how the bank can support the Scottish economy. Tesco Bank chief executive Benny Higgins has been appointed to head up a plan for its implementation.

And finally … Nicola Sturgeon won’t be ‘home for Christmas’ this year as the official residence of the First Minister – Bute House – has been closed for “urgent ceiling repairs”.  A routine survey revealed that “essential” repair work was needed, and this is expected to be completed “over the winter months”, with “temporary alternative arrangements” being put in place for Ms Sturgeon in the meantime. The Scottish cabinet, which normally holds its weekly meetings at Bute House, will instead convene at the government’s St Andrew’s House headquarters.

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

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Construction work is now complete on Unit 201, a new 27,500 sq. ft. manufacturing and engineering facility at Clyde Gateway East Business Park. The £3m industrial unit is the latest speculative new build undertaken and completed by Clyde Gateway.

The unit has been built by Keir Construction Scotland and is being marketed by Ryden LLP.

Clyde Gateway East Business Park at Junction 2A on the M74 is already home to high calibre occupiers that include BT, Glacier Energy, Dentec and Cusack.   The new unit provides 25,500 sq. ft. of highly-specified, column-free workshop space plus a further 2,000 sq. ft. of office and ancillary accommodation together with service yard and dedicated parking, all within landscaped grounds.

Ian Manson, Chief Executive of Clyde Gateway said: “The past few months have shown a positive trend in the west of Scotland’s industrial property market, with good evidence of demand with high-quality space still in short supply. This new speculative unit has been built to attract companies from the key growth sectors identified in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, and I’m pleased to say we’ve had some very positive enquiries.

Clyde Gateway’s reputation as a great business destination is growing all the time as more and more companies locate here to take advantage of our excellent transport links, skilled labour force, fantastic business support and superfast broadband provision. The recent completion of improvements to the motorway network east of Glasgow boosts the attraction of Clyde Gateway as a business destination even further.

Clyde Gateway East also has excellent service and utility provisions and is the only manufacturing location in Glasgow to benefit from a Smart electrical grid, which is greener, more efficient, secure and reliable.”

Billy Linton, Managing Director of prestige vehicle repair & restoration company Dentec, who moved to Clyde Gateway East in 2016, said: “When our business recently expanded, we outgrew our previous home in Rutherglen, so decided to move to Clyde Gateway East. Since we moved here the profile and image of our business has grown massively, we’ve brought in more work and the response from our customers to our new premises has been excellent. We think we’re in a great location to take advantage of future opportunities and hopefully grow the business even further.”

For further information on Unit 201 at Clyde Gateway East, visit

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 20 October 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 20 October 2017

The Scottish Parliament has continued its two-week October recess but returns to normal Chamber business on Tuesday.

The date that Scotland’s new Lobbying Register will come into force has been announced. This will affect all companies who have any business-related contact with MSPs, although there are specific exemptions. From Monday 12 March 2018 all regulated lobbying in Scotland, as defined in the Lobbying (Scotland) Act, will have to be registered on Scotland’s new Lobbying Register. Passed in 2016, the Act states that certain face to face meetings with MSPs or the Scottish Government’s Ministers, Special Advisers or Permanent Secretary need to be registered.

The Acting Lobbying Registrar, Douglas Wands has commented: “The Lobbying (Scotland) Act is intended to increase openness and transparency around who seeks to influence and inform our decision makers, and it is expected that the Lobbying Register will do just that. From 12 March 2018 all face to face lobbying activity as defined in the Act will need to be registered. Whilst this may seem like a big change, we have been working for many months with those who may be affected to ensure they are aware of what is required.”

As Holyrood resumes next week, the First Minister will give evidence on the Programme for Government to the Conveners Group on Wednesday, 25 October. A further session has been scheduled for March 2018, with the Conveners’ Group intending for the sessions to become a biannual event.

The Boundary Commissions of England, Scotland and Wales published details of revised plans to redraw parliamentary constituencies and cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600.  Scotland is expected to lose around 9 of its 59 parliamentary seats at Westminster if the proposals are accepted, including one seat each in Glasgow and Edinburgh.  The SNP and Lib Dems have both called on UK ministers to abandon the review of boundaries altogether. There has been speculation that Prime Minister Theresa May plans to scrap the review due to pressure from her own back benches, however, the UK government insists a review is necessary “to ensure fair and equal representation for the voting public”.

And finally … Tory MP for Moray Douglas Ross was in the SNP penalty spot again as he missed a key vote on universal credit to serve as assistant referee at a football match in Spain this week. The SNP have consistently criticised ‘part timer’ Mr Ross as he headed off this week to the Barcelona v Olympiakos game whilst a debate was held at Westminster. He has been backed by his party and was not down to speak before the vote on the new benefit.

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 

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What did you want to be when you grew up? Vet? Train driver? Hairdresser? I wanted to be Mr Benn.

But even at eight years old I realised that was probably going to sound a bit odd, so my reply was either doctor or ballerina, depending on who was asking and the mood I was in. If you had been able to speak to someone actually doing your dream job, would that have changed or reinforced your career choice?

With my Mr Benn aspiration dashed by reality a few years later, I had the good fortune of getting practical and insightful advice directly from Flora Martin, who had forged a very successful PR and communications career. Flora’s honest and straightforward advice had a huge positive impact on my future career and encouraged me to stay in my chosen sector.

Have you ever been asked to speak to a young person considering a career in your industry? PR and communications is a really popular career choice and, like Flora, we are asked this all the time. We are very happy to speak to young people about what it’s really like working in this supposedly “sexy” industry. I absolutely love the work we do, but “sexy” – not so much!

What strikes me, time and again, is that most of the individuals we speak to are the ones who already have great professional networks at their fingertips, thanks to family connections, rather than those from less fortunate backgrounds who perhaps don’t. According to Action for Children, one in three children in the UK grows up in poverty. Regardless of which statistics you read, there is an attainment gap; children from richer backgrounds significantly outperform those from poorer backgrounds, in terms of education and job prospects. This continues to be a massive challenge.

Because social media is a great leveller, as almost everyone these days has access to a smartphone, we’ve decided to tap into tech to reach as many young people as possible with direct careers insights. Recently we launched an online careers Q&A on Twitter (#PerceptiveCareers) via our Twitter handle @perceptivecomms, hopefully allowing young people of all backgrounds to access careers advice on sought-after roles directly from those doing these.

The aim of the Q&A is to give young people the direct opportunity to ask questions of individuals in careers that may be of interest to them. Those interested in taking part can follow the hashtag #PerceptiveCareers and tweet @perceptivecomms, which will be the channel for the Q&A during that hour.

The online careers Q&A will take place between 2pm and 3pm on the first Wednesday of each month. The first one took place on 4 October and was hosted at Trinity High School in Rutherglen, part of Clyde Gateway, Scotland’s largest regeneration area.

The first Q&A featured Marion Forbes, director with Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, who has more than two decades of experience in retail and construction, including many years in HR. Marion answered questions relating to preparing for interviews, applying for jobs and starting work.

Future Q&As will feature people doing a ­variety of different jobs from journalism to joinery. Thanks to the wonders of social media, we will also ask those taking part what sort of careers they would like to hear about most, so future sessions will be directed by those taking part in the Q&As.

Clyde Gateway, Scotland’s largest urban regeneration company, is supporting this initiative by helping to promote it amongst young people in its local areas including Bridgeton, Dalmarnock and Rutherglen. If you know of any young people who would benefit from taking part or even just listening to the comments, they simply need to follow #PerceptiveCareers. We can’t guarantee an audience with Mr Benn, but promise direct access to careers advice from vets, train drivers and hairdressers.

An earlier version of this appears on

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 13 October 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 13 October 2017

The Scottish Parliament has been in recess this week but Westminster has resumed business again after the UK conference season.  PM Theresa May remains in the firing line from many in her own party, but the game of who blinks first to trigger a leadership challenge looks set to continue for a while longer yet.

Nicola Sturgeon rallied her troops in Glasgow for the first SNP conference since the party lost a third of their MPs in the snap general election.  Nervous MSPs are already jostling for list positions with more than three years to go before the next scheduled Holyrood poll. As the SNP conference concluded, Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that Brexit is a “developing disaster” despite Theresa May’s prediction that the “doomsayers” will be proved wrong. Ms Sturgeon told BBC Scotland that the process of leaving the EU had left the UK “engulfed in chaos” and (again) argued that the case for Scottish independence was getting stronger by the day as a result.

In her closing speech, Nicola Sturgeon announced that the Scottish Government is to set up a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company. She told the party’s conference faithful that the company will sell energy to customers at “as close to cost price as possible”. Ms Sturgeon said it would be set up by 2021, and would give people – particularly on low incomes – more choice of which supplier to use.

Elsewhere, the Scottish Green MSPs have published a report showing how their policy of creating new rates and bands of income tax would make most Scots better off.  It comes after Scottish Ministers said they intend to bring forward a discussion paper on income tax ahead of the 2018-19 draft budget due in December.

And finally … for those with longer political memories, Wednesday saw the 17th anniversary of the sudden death of Scotland’s first First Minister, the irascible Donald Dewar.  He died following a collapse on the steps of his official residence, Bute House, and was replaced by Henry McLeish.

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).



The first building at Glasgow’s new urban business location, Magenta @ Clyde Gateway, has been “topped out” – the term used to describe the installation of the final piece of a building’s structure.

The £9m Red Tree Magenta building is currently under construction by contractors Robertson, and is due for completion in summer 2018. Investment funding is being provided jointly by Clyde Gateway, the Scottish Government and South Lanarkshire Council.

On the site of the former Shawfield industrial estate, Magenta @ Clyde Gateway is set to become one of the UK’s largest office locations, set on 27 acres next to the River Clyde and M74 motorway network, under two miles from Glasgow’s city centre.  It is estimated that the development will bring at least 12,000 new jobs to the area.

The four-storey, 3,780 sq m Red Tree building will provide Grade A business suites ranging in size from 10 to 168 sq m, aimed at encouraging the growth of SMEs and creating local employment opportunities for local people, including those moving into the area’s numerous new residential developments.  When fully occupied, the building has the capacity to create 250 new jobs.

Highbridge Properties Plc – Clyde Gateway’s development partner for Magenta – is a specialist business park developer which has successfully developed over 13 million square feet of office and industrial space, including Cobalt, the largest office park in the UK. Situated near Newcastle, Cobalt employs over 14,000 people and is home to numerous blue chip companies including Hewlett Packard, Proctor & Gamble, Accenture, EE and Santander. Highbridge is now planning the next phase of development at the Magenta site.

Guy Marsden, director at Highbridge Properties PLC said: “Topping out is a major construction milestone in what is a landmark project – the very first building  at Magenta, which will eventually become one of the UK’s largest office locations.

“Magenta is a very compelling option for businesses who want great value for money, superb infrastructure, and a location that’s under two miles from the city centre, 15 minutes from Glasgow Airport, and two minutes from the M74. It’s also within walking and cycling distance of a growing local population, who are taking advantage of the various new residential developments that are springing up in the area. Magenta’s close proximity to the Cuningar Loop woodland park is also good news for the wellbeing of people who will be working here.

“Magenta provides a great addition to the Scottish economy – with Grade A office space that offers savings of up to 37 percent on similar new-build offices in city centre locations.” 

Ian Manson, Chief Executive of Clyde Gateway said: “This £9 million investment marks the beginning of what will be a remarkable and eye-catching regeneration of Shawfield. These offices are the third to be developed by Clyde Gateway under the Red Tree brand, with two already in place at Bridgeton and Rutherglen, but this is the first to involve a complete new-build.

“We’ve already attracted over 5,000 jobs to the Clyde Gateway area, and many of our tenant companies are from the creative, media and digital industries such as Think Publishing, Made Brave, Peebles Media and Cloud Cover IT. Our Red Tree developments have been really popular, so it’s great to see construction work coming on so well and we are on schedule for opening this flagship building in summer 2018.”

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 6 October 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 6 October 2017

The last of the main UK party conferences finished this week as the Tories said goodbye to Manchester.  Ruth Davidson was, once again, the darling of the gathering, coming second only to Boris Johnson in a poll amongst the faithful as to whom should replace Theresa May.  In her main address, Ruth Davidson demanded that more UK government jobs should be located in Scotland. She said the UK “continues to be far too London-centric” and argued that the civil service and cultural bodies must “represent and be present” across the whole of the UK.

In his keynote moment to the faithful, Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell urged Nicola Sturgeon to take the threat of a second independence referendum off the table once and for all. He called on the SNP leader to use the SNP conference next week to make a clear statement abandoning plans for a second vote on removing Scotland from the UK.

Mid-week, Scotland’s economic growth figures were released, showing that they had slowed to 0.1% between April and the end of June, the latest official figures show. Changes in GDP are the main indicator of economic growth in Scotland. The GDP (gross domestic product) figures for the second quarter were down from the 0.6% growth at the start of 2017. Scotland’s first quarter figures were above the equivalent rate for the UK as a whole (0.2%). However, the second quarter was below the UK rate, which was 0.3%.

Holyrood business has continued, of course, and Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP is encouraging Gaelic speakers, Gaelic learners and non-Gaelic speakers to give theirs views to the Scottish Parliament on the future shape of its Gaelic services.  He launched a short online survey about using Holyrood’s Gaelic facilities or alternatively a formal submission can be made via the Parliament’s Gaelic Language Plan page.

More details now on the news that the Scottish Affairs Committee has launched the My Scottish Affairs inquiry, inviting the people of Scotland to talk about the issues that matter to them and help decide the future direction of the Committee’s work. The Committee is seeking views from across Scottish society, including business, academia, the voluntary sector and members of the public.

Submissions will be accepted via email ( Facebook, Twitter (#MyScottishAffairs) and the Committee’s website. The deadline is today (Friday 6 October).

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).

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