A major industrial story broke this week with the news that Michelin are leaving Dundee after nearly fifty years. Michelin is to close its tyre factory in the city, with the loss of about 850 jobs, confirming that it would leave the city by 2020. The company said the factory was “unsuitable” given current market conditions and it would not be financially viable to invest further. Economy Secretary Derek Mackay MSP has visited the site and the union Unite has said the closure would be a “hammer-blow” to the city.
Still on business news and thousands of firms have been wound up over the past year in Scotland, new figures have revealed. The official statistics showed there are now 345,915 private sector businesses north of the border. That compares to 354,745 the year before, a drop of 8830. The rate of private businesses per head of population is also worse in Scotland than the rest of the UK. Total business turnover is at its lowest level since 2015, while only a handful of local authority areas have seen an increase in business activity. The 2.5 per cent drop since 2017 is proof of the SNP’s “anti-business attitude”, the Scottish Conservatives have said in a quick response.
In other news, this week’s major study of note has found that Scotland is the most pro-migration country in the UK. The poll, conducted by Survation for Channel 4, found that Scots believed migration had a positive impact by a factor of three to two – with 44% agreeing and only 30% disagreeing.
We couldn’t forget Brexit and MSPs have voted to express their “unequivocal support” for a referendum on the final terms of Brexit. Holyrood voted by 65 to 30 in favour of such a move during a debate about the impact of leaving the EU. SNP, Green and Lib Dem MSPs were joined by two Scottish Labour members (including former leader Kezia Dugdale) in the vote, while the bulk of the Labour group abstained.
Earlier this week Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP helped launch client, Construction Scotland’s new Strategy document. Mr Swinney confirmed the Scottish Government supports Construction Scotland’s refreshed strategy and fully endorses the ambition of construction being a more productive, innovative, profitable and sustainable industry. This strategy focuses on the big issues and game-changers that are affecting the construction sector. Each of the six priority areas will be addressed by an action plan for the industry, coordinated and facilitated by Construction Scotland, with key milestones and timescales for delivery.
This week we also welcomed MSP Gordon MacDonald to client, Wavegarden Scotland which is building Scotland’s first artificial surfing park. This will transform the disused Craigpark Quarry near Ratho, Edinburgh into a surf park with revolutionary new wave technology in time for surfing becoming an Olympic sport in 2020.
And finally… As the US mid-term elections got under way this week, the only senior politician to back Scottish independence in 2014 has stepped down. John “Jimmy” Duncan – a Republican – represented Tennessee in the House of Representatives. The staunch supporter of Donald Trump is co-chair of the Congressional Friends of Scotland Caucus.
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