Recently in Economy Category
HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) has come to the end of its financial year, so an opportune time to check back on its Scottish insolvency activity based on the previous year.
As you may recall, Insider featured a piece back in January in which a number of Scottish-based insolvency specialists all told a similar story: HMRC had run out of budget to pay insolvency practitioners in the autumn of 2012.
The original article can be found here
HMRC, in a roundabout way, denied it had run out of budget for insolvency work but admitted to having received additional funding in December of 2012.
In January a spokesman for the revenue told Insider: "HMRC do not lack funding to pay for insolvency services.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its latest official employment statistics on March 20 in which it notes Scotland's rate of employment rose by 19,000 in the three months covering November to January.
Great news, as this would suggest there's a bit of a jobs boom under way, and a welcome turnaround on the 27,000 reduction in employment recorded the previous quarter covering August to October.
The ONS figures for the three months to October suggested employment in Scotland stood at 2,463,000.
By the end of January 2013, the employment figure had risen to 2,483,000, or thereabouts as the ONS put the figure at 19,000.
Finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed the news, saying: "Employment is on the increase and our employment rate is the joint fifth highest of the UK nations and regions."
Of course, seasonal jobs in the run up to Christmas would account for a spike in employment.
But the ONS notes in its most recent update covering November to January it has postponed its estimates of workforce jobs for December until its April 2013 release "due to operational difficulties which have resulted in a need for further quality assurance".
Rumour has it HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) ran out of budget to pay insolvency practitioners at the halfway point in its financial year.
That's the 'word on the street' anyway, and confirmed - sort of - from discussions with four Scottish insolvency professionals this week.
HMRC has of course denied this - sort of.
A spokesman for the revenue told Business7: "HMRC do not lack funding to pay for insolvency services.
"In fact, in December HMRC released additional funding in Scotland to ensure legal action continued where it was appropriate."
So there you have it: HMRC hadn't run out of budget but thought it right to mention it was given "additional funding" in December.
Once again this is a blog post sparked off by some of the great discussion over in the Business7 and Insider group on Linkedin.
Mary-Jo Devlin's topic on 'Would you do business with individual who has no photo on their LinkedIn profile?' has sparked more than 30 responses.
And it is something of a mixed bag from outright no and yes to musings on the power of looking attractive.
One reply suggested being on a social network without a photo was like leaving your date of birth out of a cv as the omission immediately makes people suspicious.
They say what happens in the United States eventually filters through to the UK.
So the evidence given by the United States Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke to the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C on February 10 makes for interesting reading.
In his written submission to the committee on the Federal Reserve's exit strategy from what he describes as the "extraordinary lending and monetary policies that it implemented to combat the financial crisis and support economic activity" he adds an interesting footnote.
He states: "The Federal Reserve believes it is possible that, ultimately, its operating framework will allow the elimination of minimum reserve requirements, which impose costs and distortions on the banking system."
The full text of Mr Bernanke's evidence to the committee can be read here
THE news Scottish banks have been "unfair and aggressive" towards their most vulnerable retail customers will come as little surprise to their business customers.
The Scottish affairs select committee, made up of a panel of MPs, has found the taxpayer supported banks have been using what it described as "unsavoury practices" against its most vulnerable customers.
Examples provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau made for grim reading, with some customers complaining they were forced into taking loans to avoid defaulting on non-related financial products, excessive charges for overdraft extensions and rate hikes on credit cards - to name but a few.
Colin Borland, public affairs manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland said he welcomed the views expressed by committee.
He said the FSB in Scotland has for the last 18-months been highlighting similar "unfair and aggressive" practices levelled at small business customers by their lenders.
The announcement the UK has now left recession after reporting 0.1 per cent growth brought some cheer to businesses hoping the longest period of gloom since the Great Depression is finally behind us.
The problem the government faced was the fact entering into a seventh consecutive quarters of negative growth would give the appearance we were headed down the road to depression.
The ONS figures also have an error range built-in, which are generally not published, but the figures range from between -0.2 per cent and +0.4 per cent.
Of course the 0.1 per cent growth figure will be adjusted to provide a more accurate account in the coming months, but for now we will have to settle for the less accurate range figure.
So, are we really out of recession just shy of 550 days of negative growth?
Some positive news for businesses in Inverness and the surrounding area.
Infrastructure work for the first phase of this major development could get underway later this year with around 10 hectares being made available for office and other business use.
In the fullness of time the whole 250 hectares at the site will be developed with up to 350,000 square metres of business accommodation built including supporting facilities such as hotels, conferencing, shops, creches and other amenities.
Rather than go through the big stories and events I want to do it a bit more personally and look back at the large profile interviews I did during the year.
Each chunk below has a link to the interview if you want to read a bit more.
The first one I did in 2009 was appropriately enough, given the current weather, in a snow covered Falkirk industrial estate with Jamie Rae of Redeem. He was extremely honest and open which for an interviewer is great.
Then I was off up to the Raploch to speak with Campbell Christie about the regeneration in Stirling, football and politics.
A slightly shorter journey saw me going downstairs from my office to spend an hour with Margaret Laidlaw from Tenon to discuss accountancy, entrepreneurs and the recession.
Revealing details have now been published by HM Treasury on exactly what sort of assets Royal Bank of Scotland will put into the government's Asset Protection Scheme.
The due diligence of the assets RBS proposed to add to the APS, conducted by Ernst & Young and KPMG for a collective £16.4m fee, identified £43bn of assets they either rejected from the scheme or deemed to "no longer require protection."
So this reduced the £325bn in toxic assets RBS hoped to dump into the APS to £282bn.
However, the Treasury report documenting which of the Scottish bank's assets are entering into the scheme is rather scant on the details of those assets which the auditors refused to add to the APS.