Historic Church to host Victorian Market

File:Tron Kirk, High Street, Edinburgh.JPG

View of Tron Kirk from the Royal Mile   Photo: Kim Traynor

By Jordan Hooks

Tron Kirk, a historic church located on the Royal Mile, has become the new location for a Victorian-style market.

Proposals to convert the A-listed church into a market say the church would become the new home to a dozen stalls selling pottery, jewelry, tweed and whisky. It will also include tourist information points.

[Read more...]

Universal Credit launched in Inverness

Credit Alumy

Credit Alumy

By Andy Little

One of the Government’s key Welfare Reforms was rolled out in Inverness on Monday 25th of  November.

Universal Credit replaces a number of Benefits for new claimants and is part of a controlled introduction across the United Kingdom. The scheme has already attracted criticism for problems with the Information Technology but a Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson refuted claims that the project was in trouble. The spokesperson said:”Universal Credit rolls six Benefits into one and is a vital reform to the Welfare State that rewards work.It started in Hammersmith last month and is up and running in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area. It will expand to Harrogate, Bath and Shotton by the spring”

Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud said:”Universal Credit is modern Welfare that rewards people who move into work supports those who’ve fallen on hard times and is fair to the taxpayers. We are introducing Universal Credit in a slow safe and controlled way. This careful approach is working well and we are in a strong position as we bring Universal Credit to Inverness and Rugby for the first time. Most people are claiming it online, the Information Technology is working and comprehensive support is in place. We will build on there successes as Universal Credit rolls out….”

In Inverness, however Alasdair Christie the General Manager of  the Citizens Advice Bureau was not convinced. He remains sceptical of the Governments claims and expressed his concern about the extra numbers  of clients  who will need to use the service to claim on line. Christie said: “We have  instigated Saturday morning opening for claimants to make claims and allow them to manage claims online ….but away from Inverness people will struggle.”

He was also concerned about the impact of Universal Credit  being paid to one member of the household once a month. Christie said:”…..One payment a month is difficult for people to manage and could lead to an increase in payday loans….I am anxious not optimistic”

Highland Council have produced detailed guidance on their website for claimants and expect that initial uptake will be slow. Council staff have been  trained and are in a position to help by extending online access in agreed locations especially assisting vulnerable claimants to claim online.

The Highland Council joint report on Welfare Reform, by the Director of Finance and the Interim Director of Housing also noted some concerns  about the roll out. The report said:”There are a number of serious concerns about the potential impact of Universal Credit on tenants and council house  rental income. These include practical arrangements on data sharing between the council and the Department of Work and Pensions and arrangements  for implementing “switchback”payments, due to rent arrears”

Universal Credit replaces Income based Jobseekers Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.

Retailers Braced For PlayStation 4 Launch

sony-playstation-4-front-kit-macro-650x0

Sony’s PlayStation 4, Credit: Sony

By Fraser Ryan

Retailers across the UK are preparing for the release of the latest round of next generation gaming consoles as Sony launches the PlayStation 4 this Friday.

Sony’s console will hit shelves exactly one week after rivals Microsoft launched their Xbox One unit.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh retail complex Fort Kinnaird has said the park is prepared for an increase in customer activity this weekend and in the run up to Christmas. The spokesperson said: “We have already noticed an increase in shoppers as we get closer to Christmas and with the PS4 launching this weekend, we’re expecting even more people down at Fort Kinnaird to pick up the console and avoid disappointment.”

High street chain GAME have expressed their elation ahead of Friday’s launch. Martyn Gibbs, CEO of GAME said: “The excitement and anticipation for the PS4 launch is absolutely massive. We’re stepping into the next generation of gaming and this really is a fundamental shift for the industry.”

Gibbs went onto say his company feel this console cycle will prove to be the biggest ever, and GAME have made a point to make sure its customers do not miss out. Gibbs said: “The PS4 launch is going to surpass anything Playstation has done before – our pre-order numbers are around four times higher than the PS3 and we’re seeing those numbers grow every day. We’re delighted that we are able to bring additional last-minute stock to the UK market and keep delivering for the UK gaming communities and we can’t wait for the official launch.”

Online retailer Amazon have expressed their belief the PlayStation 4 will prove to be one of the biggest must-have gadgets this Christmas. Xavier Garambois, Vice-President of EU Retail for Amazon said: “[The PlayStation 4 is] a favourite for Christmas lists in 2013, we can expect these consoles to be keeping children and adults alike entertained on Christmas day and into 2014.”

PlayStation 4 is available from Friday 29th of November.

Royal Mail’s Profits Rise

Royal Mail worker. Credit: Kumar Sriskandan/Amlamy

Royal Mail worker. Credit: Kumar Sriskandan/Amlamy

By Stuart Iversen

The Royal Mail announced today an increase in its half-year profits.  It is their first announcement since they went public and were shared on the London stock market last month.

The report shows the company has made a pre-tax profit of £1.58 billion, for the six months leading up to the 29th September.  However, this has been boosted by the companies recent pension reform and its removal drops the profit down to £233 million.  A number that is still up on the £94 million from the previous year.

The Royal Mail’s Chief Executive Officer,Moya Greene, said: “Our first-half financial performance was in line with our expectations of delivering low single digit revenue growth and margin expansion. The combination of increasing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and moderating investment spend underpins value creation for our shareholders.”

The increase follows a 60 percent stake of the company being floated on the London Stock Exchange last month, at a price of 330p per a share.  The stock quickly soared in value, leading many to claim it had been undervalued.  An issue that will see Business Secretary Vince Cable facing a select committee hearing, where they will discuss whether he and the bank priced the shares too low, shortchanging the British public.

Despite all this, the revenue that is accounted for by letters has continued to fall.  With it now accounting for 5 percent less than it did this time last year.  However, the revenue coming in for parcels has risen with it now covering 51 percent of all revenue.  A rise of 9 percent from last year.

The Head of Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, Richard Hunter, said: “The combined UK Parcels and General Logistics Systems (GLS) divisions now account for just over half of group revenue, which provides both opportunities as well as potentially inviting more entrants into a fiercely competitive space.”

Council Set To Improve The City Centre

Edinburgh City Council has developed a proposal to improve the pedestrian space in the city centre, particularly in the area around Princes Street and George Street. The report focuses, specifically, on improving the pedestrian space and environment in line with the delivery of the tram project, which is due to be completed this Summer.

One of the methods of achieving this is providing an opportunity for dedicated cycle provision in the area, as well as reducing the detrimental impact of vehicles on the City Centre environment. The Council’s ‘Action Travel Action Plan’ sets targets to provide significant improvements in the walking and cycling infrastructure of the city centre by 2020, and the promotion of these means of travel.

The proposal states that by managing the traffic movement of Lothian Buses, it would achieve these objectives. Eastbound buses on Princes Street maybe relocated to George Street effectively halving the number of buses on Princes Street. The proposal also sets to close Princes Street to general traffic in both directions, as well as to allow general traffic on George Street in an eastbound direction only, including taxis. The Council have also announced they are to massively reduce parking availability spots in the City Centre.  Josh Miller,  George Street Association, explained that ”this will just not work.. People will not have to park their cars somewhere else, more inconvenient, and a lot of time will be wasted’. He argued that the ‘Council have not though through a viable alternative’.

Ian Perry, Planning Convener of the Council, said ‘Princes Street has been suffering from the trams, and economic downturn, s we have agreed to increase the pavement space and redress the balance and attract more pedestrians into the town centre and to get more people to shop’.

The results of the consultation will be the subject of a future report and any changes will then be practiced to test how successful they are.

Interview with George Street Association

Interview with Ian Perry, Edinburgh City Council

Independence Risk for Scottish Banknotes

3411120241_4129783ec3_o

SNP plans to keep the pound in the event of Scottish independence have been dealt a blow, with a Treasury report set to indicate that a currency union could lead to the end of Scottish banknotes.

The Scottish government has proposed plans to retain the pound as part of a “sterling zone” with the rest of Britain if Scotland votes in favour of independence. But the Treasury will claim that Scottish independence would “fundamentally transform” the Bank of England’s role in Scotland.

Experts have warned that the Scottish government would need to reach an agreement over Scottish banks rights to issue their own notes. If such an agreement wasn’t reached, it could lead to Scottish notes losing their value, or being rejected altogether, elsewhere in the U.K.

However the SNP have maintained that there is no threat to their plans to keep the pound, dismissing dears that it would affect the situation with Scottish banknotes as “scaremongering”.

A spokesperson said ““The existing situation relating to Scottish banknotes will remain in place within a post-independence currency union.”

SNP MP Stewart Hosie this morning hit back at claims that the value of Scottish notes might be affected, telling the BBC “Every single Scottish note in circulation is fully covered by assets held by the Bank of England, which guarantees its value. That wouldn’t change under independence.”

The debate comes after Alistair Darling, head of the Better Together campaign, voiced his concerns about SNP plans to the Scottish Labour conference at the weekend. Adressing the conference in Inverness, Mr Darling said that nationalist arguments for currency “fall apart” when questioned, claiming that the government was being “evasive” over the issue.

He said “In the last 12 months alone, they have gone from being in favour of the euro to using the pound, to now saying they will have a currency union. In order to keep the pound, the nationalists now say we would have to enter in to a currency union. Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon was saying that of course within a currency union you could do what you want, there would be no constraints, you could spend money on what you want. That is utter nonsense.”

Which currency should an independent Scotland use? Have your say in our poll on the issue.

Triumph for Edinburgh’s small businesses

by Shiv Das

A global leader in document generation, and a small business specialising in eco-friendly packaging and catering disposables made from plants, are amongst four Edinburgh companies which have picked up Queen’s Awards, announced yesterday.
HotDocs , which allows customers to convert documents into process applications, can already boast an impressive resume of achievements including the Law Office Computing Reader’s Choice Award for Document Assembly and the TechnoLawyer Reader’s Choice Award for Document Assembly and Automation. They achieved a Queens Award in International Trade.

Vegware, was the only Edinburgh-based company to win an award under the ‘Sustainable Development’ category. Their innovation and success has seen them named best small company in Britain, and win the £10,000 Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Streamline UK company of the year award . They are now in talks to set up an office in Australia, and the company’s new city headquarters, three times the size of it’s current office, is set to open next month. Their award-winning packaging is made from low-carbon, recycled and renewable materials. Joe Frankler, Managing Director and Founder, said ‘The Queen’s Award is royal recognition that Vegware is making a positive contribution to the UK economy and global sustainability, and the competitive FSB Streamline Awards celebrates Vegware as the UK’s best small business’’.

vegware pic
The other Edinburgh businesses to win Queens Awards were Petroleum Experts Limited, an engineering company which creates a set of petroleum engineering software tools, and brewing giant The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company. Both won awards under the ‘International Trade’ section.

Interview with Lucy Frankel, Communication Manager of Vegware.

Pounds, McPounds or Euros?

Alistair Darling described an independent Scotland entering into a Sterling currency union as “a straightjacket”, implying that England would call the shots in such a scenario.

What currency would you like to spend in an Independent Scotland?

Royal Mile Action Plan

Edinburgh City Council has put forward a draft of the Royal Mile Action Plan earlier this year in order to make the capital’s most famous street more appealing for its visitors from home and abroad. The future of the Royal Mile is to be considered in a consultation exercise

The council has organized a number of workshops in the area to discuss the future of the Royal Mile with stakeholders as well as local residents.

Issues suggested for consideration by the Council include traffic flows and the mix of retail outlets. Many of those operating businesses in the street have said they are busier than ever, but some visitors have said they were let down by their overall experience of the area.

The last two workshops will take place on Wednesday 17 April 2013 in Trinity Apse and on Tuesday 23 April 2013 in Riddle’s Court. The closing date for comments on the Royal Mile Action Plan is 17 May 2013.

Increased fare on Lothian Buses

On Sunday March 24, Lothian Buses increased the price for a single, adult bus ticket for 10p – from 1.40 to 1.50. Just one year after a similar increase the company said it was also introducing a number of service improvements. Plans of increasing the bus fare caused controversy over Scottish Government cuts in funding for concessionary fares earlier in January. Transport Scotland eventually reached an agreement with the bus industry which will cut the current reimbursement rate, reducing funding to bus companies by millions of pounds.

The new price for single journeys means the minimum fare charged by Lothian Buses will have risen 150% since 2002 – three times the rate of inflation over the same period.

Gas leak in North Sea

A typical oil rig (not Elgin Platform) picture provided by Manchot sanguinaire

A gas leak at the Elgin platform, 150 miles off the coast of Aberdeen has been ongoing since Sunday.

238 workers have been evacuated from the platform and the nearby Rowan Viking drilling rig as well as Shell have moved personnel.  A three mile safety zone had been put in place but it has been increased to a five mile radius by the Unite union.

Greenpeace are concerned with possible wider implications of the gas leak in the North Sea.

Total Oil Company owns the platform and claim the leak has not been caused by human error. The company believe the leak is coming from a rock formation above the main reservoir, at a depth of 4,000m.

It has been regarded too dangerous for anyone to return to extinush the blaze but the company claim there is no danger of the flare igniting the gas cloud beneath the rig.

Total has been evaluating the sitution by fly-overs in the area and are currently considering drilling a relief well which could take months.

Scottish Water forms deal with Poland

Scottish Water International has just announced that they are going into a partnership with Polish engineering firm ECM Group Polska.

The partneship agreement is going to be announced today, 30 March, during a conference of polish water companies in Brzeg.  Scottish Water and ECM Group Polska will be combining their expertise in water industry asset management allowing them to offer valauble services to Polish water companies.  In a statement released by Scottish Water, Nigel Ayton Managing Director of Scottish Water International, said: “This is an exciting oppurtunity for Scottish Water International and ECM Group Polska. Our combined expertise and experience complement each other well and the service we can offer to water companies in Poland is extremely valuable.”

Poland has about 700 water utility companies. They are owned by the municipalities after a restructuring in the 1990’s resulted in the state relinquishing its control over water and wastewater facilities.

Piotr Pazdan, Director of International Business Development for ECM Group Polska, said: “There has been significant investment in the infrastructure in Poland since its accession to the EU. By co-operating with Scottish Water International, we can provide exactly the expertise that is needed to help utilities assess how to ensure the best service within the funding that is available to them. We have chosen Scottish Water International as our partners because we have seen the improvements that they have made in Scotland to service and efficiency.”

GAME goes into administration, main Edinburgh stores stay open

A GAME Shop: Open For How Long?

GAME, Britain’s biggest video game retailer, has gone into administration today.

The retailer counts around 1.300 stores distributed between the UK and mainland Europe, 5.100 employees in the UK and Ireland, of which 385 are employed at its headquarters in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

In Edinburgh, Gamestation on Princes Street, the flagship store of the company, had already been closed in late 2011.

However, as the retailers are refusing to release any comments, it’s understood that the GAME stores in St. James Shopping centre and Ocean Terminal are still open as usual.

Meanwhile, it has already been reported that about half of the 600 UK shops have been closed during the day, and it’s unclear whether the rest will stay in business.

The company’s website is currently no longer accessible, and it names MJA Jervis and SD Maddison as the appointed Joint Administrators.

Mike Jervis has commented: “Despite these challenges, we believe that there is room for a specialist game retailer in the territories in which it operates, including its biggest one, the UK.

“As a result, we are hopeful that a going concern sale of the business is achievable”.

GAME, which was founded in 1991 as Rhino Group, had already been rumoured to be in troubled waters as their credit worthiness came under scrutiny just a few days ago.

As a consequence, three main suppliers, Nintendo, EA and Capcom, blocked the distribution of their most recent releases to the retailer.

The overall performance of the company in the last few months has been abysmal, with a £18 million loss for the year to 31 January being blamed on high fixed costs and an ambitious international expansion.

Irn Bru parent company’s profits rise

The company that makes Irn Bru have reported a steady increase in profits.

AG Barr’s profits have increased by 16.4% to £35.4 million for the year ending January 2012. Turnover for the same period was £237 million.

Sales of Irn Bru itself rose by 2.7% with the company planning to open a new site in Milton Keynes.

Barr’s chief executive Roger White has praised the results, saying they coped with, “substantial raw material cost headwinds while achieving revenue growth based on brand development, innovation and improved focus on execution.

“Our operational performance improved substantially in the final quarter of last year and we are now beginning to see the benefits of our investment in our production assets.”

Famous for having an ‘other’ national drink, Scotland is one of the few countries where Coca Cola is not the top-selling soft drink.

Unite union set to strike

The UK’s largest union is balloting its members to determine whether strike action will be used in the dispute over working conditions of delivery drivers in the oil sector.

Unite’s national officer Matt Draper said: “The professionalism of tanker drivers is at stake. We should not accept a lowering of standards so that the oil companies can maximise their profits.

“Four of the top global oil companies posted combined profits of a staggering £106 billion in 2011. Yet, drivers are suffering a contract merry-go-round, with their working conditions under constant attack.”

There are growing fears we could see a repeat of the September 2000 strikes which brought fuel shortages across the country. Due to the adverse effect a strike could have, the government has already arranged a contingency measure by enlisting army personnel to drive tankers if the protest goes ahead. It is hoped this will minimalise shortages and stop the country coming to a standstill.

Limited reserve stocks have been highlighted as an additional concern; due to the high price of fuel many petrol stations have stopped storing high quantities in reserve. This means that any reduction in deliveries will have an immediate impact on the availability of fuel.

Last week George Osbourne increased fuel duty as part of the budget, taking the cost of petrol to an average of £1.40 per litre, with a record high of £1.46.72/l recorded by the AA.

The latest price hike comes shortly after the announcement to raise the road tax bandings, with the top band range now costing over £1000 per annum. Drivers groups have long complained about the way motorists are overcharged for every aspect of owning a vehicle.

The result of the ballot will be announced later today.

Average prices per litre of unleaded petrol in the UK from 2007 to June 2011:

The percentage of the fuel cost which is attributed to tax is often criticised by consumer groups. Currently UK tax on fuel amounts to 70% of the pump price.

Cost per litre of crude oil extraction: 8p
Cost per litre of refining: 2p
Cost per litre to transport to UK: 2p
Cost per litre to transport to pumps: 5p

Edinburgh contributes more to economy than London

According to a new report Scotland’s capital contributes more to the country’s economy than any other city in the UK. The study was released by London based accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young. Their calculations are based on Gross Value Added (GVA). It basically means the measure of a region’s contribution to the UK economy according to the value of the goods and services it provides. Figures show the city had a GVA of £34,950 for 2009. This figure places it ahead of London, where the GVA fell from £34,964 to £34,779. A reason for it is that the crisis had a negative impact on the capital’s financial sectors with a lot of jobs getting cut, as well as a lot of poor neighborhoods around the city.

Traditionally, London’s GVA has been considerably higher than the other major UK cities but recently it has suffered due to the economic crisis. Unemployment has had a significant bearing on the GVA contributon: the unemployment rate in the capital stood at 9.1 per cent, compared to Edinburgh’s rate of 6.3 per cent.

But Edinburgh is not the only Scottish city which performed well in the report, Glasgow and Aberdeen were also ranked in the top 5 cities in the GVA league table. Aberdeen in particular, with its sizable oil and gas industry is an important contributor to the UK’s overall economy. And the Northern city has been largely unaffected by the financial crisis and continued to show stable performance in the report.

Marc Waterman, a partner for UHY Hacker young explained: “The situation in Aberdeen is unique within the UK. It’s the only major city in the UK that has an economy based almost entirely around the oil and gas industry.” The demand for Aberdeen’s oil internationally means a positive impact on Britain’s overall economy.

The strong performance from Scottish cities should be received with some semblance of caution, since the analysis does not always include all relevant factors. But nevertheless the report should provide a boost in confidence for 2014, when Scotland will vote on independence.

Hard times for housing benefit claimants

£150m will be removed every year from the Scottish economy as a result of the UK Government’s new Housing Benefit law.  More than 95,000 households in the social rented sector will be affected by the reform and this will mean an average monthly loss of up to £65 for claimant tenants.

Great concern has been raised among Scottish citizens and the Scottish Housing Minister Keith Brown expressed his discontent about this measure. Speaking ahead of a debate on the UK government’s Welfare Reform Act on 21 March 2012, Mr. Brown stated:

“It is the responsibility of the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that the welfare reforms are successfully rolled out and – even though we disagree with the changes – the public sector in Scotland must work with them to ensure no one suffers undue hardship’.

He believes  changes to Housing Benefit will have a “huge impact on local communities and individuals, some of the most vulnerable ones in Scotland”. In order to tackle the impacts, the Scottish Government and COSLA have established a Housing Benefit Stakeholder Advisory Group to help those affected ones properly understand what the impact of the UK Government’s changes to housing benefit will exactly involve.

Petrol prices reach record high

Soaring oil prices have led to petrol prices hitting record highs in the UK.

Motorists must now shell out 140.20p for a litre of petrol.

This is on the back of a slew of increases in fuel prices. Diesel was priced at 143.05p just last month.

No respite awaits car owners across the country experts suggest the average petrol price to rise to 150p very soon.

Chancellor George Osborne has promised that petrol prices would not suffer undue hikes so long as oil prices are kept under 45 pounds per barrel. With Iran’s monopoly over oil threatening to expand throughout the EU, patrons are very cautious about their time on the road.

 

Listen here:

New cafes open on Morrison Street

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Edinburgh Napier News speaks exclusively to two of Edinburgh’s newest cafes. Sarah Turnbull reports.

Listen here:

Energy investment creates 800 jobs in Leith

Renewable Energy creates 800 new jobs in Leith.

By: Anna Redman

Spanish wind turbine manufacturer, Gamesa, has announced their plan to create around 800 jobs at a new Edinburgh plant, which will be located in Leith.

The investment in this project will be about £125m.

[Read more...]

Lloyds creates 500 new jobs as it sells 632 branches

Lloyds Banking Group

By: Anna Redman

 Lloyds TSB is set to create 500 new jobs across the UK.

The banking company will create the new jobs as part of its plans to sell several of its branches to the Co-op.

Project Verde will see the sale of 632 Lloyds bank branches. The new jobs will be created in support centres in Sunderland, Gloucester, Livingston, Birmingham and Swansea.

The sale is a result of an order from the European Union, following the UK government’s bailout of Lloyds during 2008’s financial crisis and will likely make the Co-operative Group responsible for 19% of mortgages.

Gordon Edwards, telephone banking director at Lloyd’s Sunderland site,  said these new jobs are “great news.”

Project Verde is proving to be a “highly complex” deal and is now facing delay as the Financial Services Authority seek assurances regarding the capacity of the Co-operative Group to take on this major acquisition.

Committee calls for Marine rights to be devolved to Scotland

MPs have declared that control of  Scotland’s seabeds and coasts should be transferred from the Crown Estate to local authorities. 

The Scottish Affairs Committee criticised previous management of the areas, citing a lack of transparency and public consultation.

Whilst the Queen currently owns Crown Estate rights, surplus revenues from leasing of it’s land to operations such as fish farms are paid into the UK Treasury. However the Committee believe that all marine rights relating to Scotland should now be transferred to the relevant local authorities.

MPs reached this conclusion following consultation with residents of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. They received a vast number of negative responses about the Crown Estate, who were criticised for stripping money out of the areas and behaving like “absentee landlords”.

3pm Edinburgh Napier News Bulletin

For a round-up of today’s news, listen to the Edinburgh Napier News bulletin:

GAME over?

Computer game retailer Game is in danger of collapse after several suppliers refused to provide it with hotly anticipated new titles.

The failure to secure eagerly awaited games such as Mass Effect 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken have added to the speculation that the company’s future in the UK is under threat.

The group, which employs 10,000 people, confirmed that the sale of its UK business, which has 600 stores, was a viable option in its battle for survival.

The retailer is also seeking access to alternative sources of funding and has asked suppliers for more generous trading terms, but so far it has not been possible to source new products from a number of suppliers.

Game said it was working to resolve the supply issues as quickly as possible.

“This includes ongoing discussions with suppliers, seeking access to the original facility or alternative sources of funding, and reviewing the position of all of its assets in the UK and international territories,” it said.

But it warned investors: “It is uncertain whether any of the solutions currently being explored by the board will be successful or will result in any value being attributed to the shares of the company.”

The group’s quarterly rent bill is due in a fortnight and it is believed that failure to pay its landlords could push the company into administration.

The company, which has 1,300 stores worldwide trading under the Game and Gamestation brands, has lost 94 percent of its value over the last year, with the business now valued at 12.2 million pounds ($19.2 million).

Water watchdog critical of Scottish Water’s relationship with insuring firm

An investigation by Scotland’s water watchdog Consumer Focus has raised concerns about Scottish Water’s relationship with private insurance firm Homeserve.

The watchdog looked into the issue of sales letters from the private firm being sent to thousands of households in Scotland in ‘Scottish Water’ branded envelopes. The letters contained information on “water supply pipe responsibilities” but then go on to try to sell the product of the insuring company.

The investigation indicated that over half of people thought the sales letter was sent directly from Scottish Water and most found the letter to be confusing.

Douglas Sinclair, Chair of Consumer Focus Scotland, commented: “Consumers expect to be able to trust information from their public services. It is unacceptable that people will have received a letter that they think is from Scottish Water but is in fact a carefully crafted sales tactic by a private insurance firm.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said: “We have already addressed most of the issues raised by Consumer Focus Scotland (CFS) and they have acknowledged changes made to the Homeserve literature. We are happy to meet them again to discuss this.”

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 383 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 383 other followers