Scottish independence: Business figures say 'Yes' vote would benefit economy

Alex Salmond praises pro-independence business letter

More than 200 business figures have signed an open letter backing Scottish independence.

Stagecoach chairman Sir Brian Souter and Clyde Blowers boss Jim McColl are among signatories who say independence is in Scotland's economic interest.

It comes a day after a similar letter from 130 pro-UK business leaders said the case for independence had not been made.

The pro-independence letter has been published in The Herald newspaper.

Other signatories include Ralph Topping, retired chief executive of William Hill, Professor Nathu Puri, founder of Purico, former Scottish Enterprise chairman Sir Donald Mackay and former RBS chairman Sir George Mathewson.

'Huge resources'

The letter stated: "An independent Scotland will recognise entrepreneurs small and large as the real wealth and job creators of the nation's economic future.

"It will encourage a culture in which innovation, endeavour and enterprise are nurtured. It will place power in the hands of Scotland's people to channel the huge resources of our country in the interests of those who live and work here."

The letter went on to argue that the real threat to Scotland was the "real possibility of a British exit from the European common market".

The letter was a response to one which appeared in the Scotsman newspaper on Wednesday, signed by more than 130 business figures who argued the case for independence had not been made.

The pro-Union signatories, who included the head of engineering firm Weir Group, warned of "substantial risks" if there is a "Yes" vote in the referendum.

First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the pro-independence letter, which he said had been signed by some of the nation's "leading job and wealth creators".

'Biggest decision'

He added: "What impressed me most about this letter - signed by businesses large and small and from north, south and across the country - was the positivity in which some of our greatest businesses regard Scotland's prospects as an independent country.

"I was also heartened by their focus on a fairer society - something we are not likely to see coming from the No campaign or David Cameron.

"People's jobs are at the heart of this referendum campaign as people want to know that Scotland will get the powers that will attract investment and create employment opportunities."

But the Better Together campaign, which opposes independence, claimed many businesses were "afraid" to speak out against independence.

It followed allegations in the Telegraph newspaper that some business figures who wanted to sign the pro-UK letter had stayed silent because they feared "consequences" from the SNP government.

Labour MP and shadow business minister Ian Murray said: "With postal ballots being filled out across the country and polling day itself is a matter of days away it is deeply troubling that people still feel they cannot air their view of what is best for Scotland for fear of the wrath of Alex Salmond.

"We are about to make the biggest decision of our lifetime. There will be no going back and yet still, people feel they cannot speak out against Alex Salmond's unanswered questions."

Scotland will go to the polls in the referendum on 18 September, with voters being asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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Scotland Live

    19:00: Bye for now

    That's all from the Scotland Live team for today. We're back again tomorrow morning at 07:00.

    18:55: Tonight's forecast BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Cold westerly winds continue to strengthen, bringing further wintry showers this evening, particularly across western Scotland, where they will merge to give some longer spells of sleet and snow.

    The showers will be wintry to all levels, but accumulations should be mainly confined to higher ground, above about 200m.

    This will lead to difficult conditions on higher-level roads, particularly over the northwest Highlands.

    Eastern Scotland will see fewer showers, though some heavy ones will reach the Lothians and Fife, funnelling through the central belt on those westerly winds.

    Overnight the winds will be strong along the west coast and gusting to gale force over the Hebrides in the heavier showers.

    Temperatures fall away allowing snow to settle even at low levels, especially over the northwest Highlands and Argyll, but through the M8 corridor too, so there is the potential for disruption if you are travelling this evening or early tomorrow.

    There will be a widespread frost, despite the breeze, with temperatures dipping to freezing in the towns and cities; a couple of degrees below out in the countryside, and a widespread risk of ice on untreated surfaces.

    A met office yellow 'be aware' warning for snow and ice is in force for most of the country overnight as a result.

    18:47: Northern Irish upbeat for Scots tie BBC Sport Scotland

    Scotland will meet a Northern Ireland team buoyed by confidence when they meet later this month, asserts former Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan.

    Stephen Craigan helps to promote the Scotland-Northern Ireland friendly

    Michael O'Neill's side visit Hampden to play a friendly on 25 March, a warm-up for both nations ahead of crucial European qualifiers four days later.

    "There's a little bit of belief," said Craigan, whose national team have made a strong start in Group F qualifying.

    "Normally we're scrapping for fifth place but we're second behind Romania."

    18:36: UPDATE - Glasgow school stabbings

    Two 14 year old boys have been stabbed in a disturbance outside a school in the south side of Glasgow.

    Police at the scene

    One boy was treated for his injuries at the nearby Victoria Infirmary following the incident close to Holyrood RC Secondary school at about 13:20.

    The second teenager did not require hospital treatment.

    It is understood a third pupil at the school was involved in the incident. Officers said they were following a positive line of inquiry.

    Police said they were investigating the exact circumstances of the incident in Boyd Street, at the junction of Brereton Street, yards from the school.

    Head teacher Laurie Byrne has written to the parents of all pupils saying "please be reassured that the safety of our young people is paramount".

    18:20: Extradited OAP guilty of sex crimes

    A 74-year-old man who was extradited from Australia has been convicted of sex offences against children.

    John Donnelly used return trips to Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s to prey on the young girls after he emigrated.

    He was found guilty of indecency offences involving four children at houses in Glasgow and Prestonpans, East Lothian, between 1978 and 1988.

    At the High Court in Edinburgh, sentence on Donnelly was deferred and he remanded in custody.

    The pensioner was also placed on the sex offenders' register.

    18:06: One for Tuesday

    Tomorrow on #MorningCall @LWhiteMedia asks: Do you suffer from chronic pain? Call 0500 92 9500 from 08.50am or tweet

    Morning Call promo
    17:55: Get Inspired: Snowboarder's career peaks BBC Sport Scotland

    Scotland's best-known snowboarder describes her experience of competing, coaching and keeping fit as a new mum.

    Lesley McKenna

    Triple Olympian Lesley McKenna is a programme manager for British Ski and Snowboard, and helped coach Jenny Jones to her Olympic bronze in Sochi 2014.

    She lives near Aviemore with her partner and daughter.

    Keen to try snowboarding? Take a look at our Get Inspired snowboarding page for information on how to get involved.

    17:44: Man attacked father and son at station

    A man who punched a father and head butted his son at an Edinburgh train station is being sought by police.

    Haymarket Station

    The attacks happened at Edinburgh Haymarket station on Saturday at 22:20.

    A row broke out after the father, aged 60, bumped into another man on platform 4. His son, 21, tried to intervene but was head butted.

    His father was then punched by the man, which resulted in a cut to the top of his head.

    17:34: Rally organisers confirm event plans Giancarlo Rinaldi South Scotland reporter, BBC Scotland news website

    Organisers of the Jim Clark Rally have confirmed plans for an event on private roads after it was ruled it could not be held on closed public roads.

    Crash scene

    Three people were killed while watching last year's event.

    For the past 17 years the rally has been held over closed public roads in Berwickshire.

    However, organisers said it would "return to its roots" this year with an event on 31 May on private Forestry Commission roads in Kielder Forest.

    17:22: Pun shop names - your views

    Simon McCrindle says this one is "surely the best in Scotland":

    Ayr Guitar
    17:13: Taxi hijacked in £100,000 jewellers raid

    An armed thief hijacked a private hire taxi after robbing an Edinburgh jewellers at gunpoint.

    Laing sign

    The man entered Laing the jewellers in Frederick Street with a handgun at 09:30 and took Rolex watches worth £100,000.

    Police said the thief tried to hijack a black taxi and a van, before getting into the front passenger seat of a private hire cab in Hanover Street.

    There was a passenger inside. He forced the driver to take him to Pilton.

    No-one was hurt in the incident.

    17:03: On air now BBC Radio Scotland

    #Newsdrive. Coming up in the next hour:

    • UK government under attack for terror policies
    • Can the BBC licence fee survive
    • A record number of birds pay a visit to Fair Isle
    BBC Radio Scotland

    Could beavers be reintroduced in #Scotland? Hear more on @BBCOutofDoors

    Beaver image
    16:53: Sickness hits hospital and care home Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    Cases of sickness and diarrhoea have closed a care home in Thurso to new admissions and restricted visits to Belford Hospital in Fort William.

    Belford Hospital

    The hospital was recently closed to new admissions because of norovirus.

    NHS Highland has now restricted visits to patients after concerns the virus could be brought back on to the wards.

    Sixteen staff and 14 residents at the NHS Highland's Bayview House Care Home in Thurso have been unwell. Two of the people have been affected by norovirus.

    16:45: Gibraltar axe Bula before Scots game

    Gibraltar have sacked head coach Allen Bula ahead of their European Championship qualifying visit to Scotland on 29 March.

    Allen Bula

    The 50-year-old had been in charge for the first four games of Gibraltar's maiden campaign, losing them all.

    The Gibraltar FA said the decision was a result of a "thorough and careful investigation into internal matters".

    "The search for a new Gibraltar national team manager will begin immediately," added its statement.

    16:35: Two in court after dog bites child Philip Sim Tayside and Central reporter, BBC Scotland

    A couple have appeared in court after a young girl was bitten by a dog in Kirriemuir.

    The two-year-old was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee with facial injuries following the incident in the Glamis Road area of the Angus town on Friday.

    John and Elaine Towns, aged 45 and 38, appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court accused of owning or being in charge of the Staffordshire bull terrier.

    Both also face a charge of being concerned in the supply of drugs.

    Neither made any plea or declaration during the hearing, and their cases were continued for further examination.

    John Towns was remanded in custody ahead of a further hearing, while Elaine Towns was released on bail.

    16:27: Pun shop names - your views

    Marlene Quattlebaum shared this picture of a shop on Edinburgh's Royal Mile

    Thistle Do Nicely shop
    16:18: Clutha bar to reopen by 1 May

    The Clutha bar will reopen on 1 May 2015, its owner Alan Crossan hopes.

    The stage - rock the Clutha backdrop, dusty leaflets, a music stand, a list of future gigs

    The pub has been shut since a police helicopter crashed through its roof in November 2013.

    Three people in the aircraft and seven in the bar died. Dozens more were injured.

    Building work is now under way at the pub, which had remained almost untouched after the emergency services left.

    16:09: McCall plays down link to Rangers BBC Sport Scotland

    Scotland coach Stuart McCall has played down talk of a return to Rangers, for whom he played for seven years in the 1990s.

    Gordon Strachan and Stuart McCall

    McCall stepped down as Motherwell manager in November but is wary of taking up a position that would end his involvement with the national team.

    He said: "It's got to be something that would really make me want to go and do it. Obviously, Rangers is a huge club.

    "But a team have got to want you to be involved and then you look into it."

    16:00: On air now BBC Radio Scotland

    #Newsdrive hears more about David Cameron's pledge to protect Britain from extremists like Islamic State, the latest on missing Bristol teen Becky Watts and the 125th anniversary of the Forth Rail Bridge

    15:57: High note Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    Mumford & Sons are to stage a two-day music and arts festival near Aviemore this summer.

    Mumford and Sons

    The Stopover Festival at Rothiemurchus in the Cairngorms National Park will take place on 31 July and 1 August.

    Primal Scream, The Maccabees, Lianne La Havas and Honeyblood will also be performing at the 25,000-ticket event.

    Mumford & Sons, who will curate the weekend's entertainment, have previously performed at the Loopallu music festival in Ullpool in 2009.

    They also played small shows in bars and cafes around the Highlands that same year before returning to the area during a tour in 2011.

    15:50: 'Juice can' robber jailed

    An armed robber who was caught after leaving behind a can of juice with his DNA on it has been jailed for four years and four months.

    Michael Bryden, 25, was armed with a knife when he raided the Premier Stores shop in Irvine, North Ayrshire, in September last year.

    He escaped with £60 before being traced through the saliva on the can of juice he left at the shop.

    Bryden was jailed after admitting a charge of assault and robbery.

    15:38: Pupil injuries - police follow 'positive line of inquiry'

    Police have issued a statement regarding the incident which saw two pupils injured outside Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow.

    "Around 13:20 hours on Monday 2 March, 2015, police were called to a report of a disturbance in Boyd Street at Brereton Street in Govanhill," it read.

    "Two 14-year-old males were injured as a result of the incident and enquiries are ongoing to establish the exact circumstances.

    "One of the injured males was taken to Glasgow Victoria Infirmary, and the other did not require hospital treatment.

    "Police are following a positive line of enquiry."

    Email: Your views - North Sea oil

    Joseph Murray: Gordon Brown's great idea for state involvement in the oil industry is 50 years too late. In the 1970s Tony Benn and Lord Kearton wanted to take over all of BP's North Sea assets. Labour baulked at this. Harold Wilson overruled the proposals, leading to mismanagement on a colossal scale by successive UK governments.

    15:19: Five rescued from tenement fire

    Five people, including three children, were rescued from a fire in a Glasgow tenement last night.

    Firefighters faced a "well-developed" blaze when they arrived at Ripon Drive, in Kelvindale, in the west of the city, about 23:00.

    Three fire crews evacuated the building and used high pressure jets to tackle the flames.

    Two women and three girls were given precautionary check-ups, but did not need further treatment.

    15:13: Man found guilty of rape Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    A man has been found guilty of repeatedly raping a 36-year-old woman in Inverness.

    Vincent Spears, 51, attacked the woman at an address in the city in October 2013.

    The High Court in Edinburgh heard that he choked his victim and threatened to kill her during the assaults. Spears, of Inverness, had denied the charges.

    Judge Lady Wolffe deferred sentence on Spears for reports. He will be sentenced on 27 March.

    A jury found Spears guilty following a week-long trial.

    15:11: Pupils injured at Glasgow school Reevel Alderson BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent

    Two pupils have been injured in an incident outside one of Scotland's largest schools. Police say there was an altercation during the lunch break at Holyrood Secondary School on Glasgow's southside.

    One of the pupils has been taken to hospital; the other has minor injuries. The school has a campus police officer who was able to call the emergency services and organise the safety of other pupils.

    Glasgow City Council say the head teacher is sending a letter to all parents reassuring them the safety of all children at the school is of paramount concern.

    Text using 80295 North Sea Oil - Your views

    John, Elgin: Stephen Baker, if that were true, if Scotland's oil was indeed in Scotland's hands and not Westminster's, then we could indeed put our own money into the industry. As it is however, the UK government fought tooth and nail to keep it - so time to stop such arrogance, the UK government wanted it so they need to deal with it. As for fracking, there are plenty of other options before allowing your silly presumption that it's the cure to this problem.

    14:57: Borders Railway's bicycle-friendly concern

    A Green MSP has raised concerns about the capacity for bicycles on the trains which will run on the new Edinburgh to Borders railway.

    The transport minister said bike storage at stations was part of Abellio's plans to cope with cycling demand

    Alison Johnstone brought up the issue after being approached by local businesses.

    She said a guarantee of just two bike spaces could "fail to match" demand for cycle trips to the Borders.

    Transport Minister Derek Mackay said plans had not been finalised but space allocation was always a challenge.

    Email: North Sea Oil - Your views

    Stephen Baker: If anything, UK investment in the North Sea should be scaled back instead of pumping money down uneconomic wells. Investment should be made in land-based production, which is cheaper to extract. That may not suit the Scottish agenda but tough, that's life. If the Scottish government want to divert their own funds from other things they're responsible for, let them do that… after all, it is 'Scottish Oil.'

    14:42: Celtic trio enhance Scotland chances - McCall BBC Sport Scotland

    Celtic's European displays will boost Craig Gordon, Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven's Scotland prospects, according to Stuart McCall.

    Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong celebrate with Celtic

    McCall, part of Scotland managers Gordon Strachan's coaching staff, was speaking ahead of the friendly against Northern Ireland later this month.

    "When we get the likes of Armstrong and Mackay-Steven playing for Celtic in Europe, it benefits them as well," he said of the club's January signings.

    "Not only playing in it but playing well and standing out in those games."

    14:30: Challenge over childcare reforms

    The UK Minister for Women and Equalities has accused the Scottish government of dragging its feet over childcare reforms.

    Jo Swinson has urged the SNP administration to match the changes the Liberal Democrats have introduced to England as part of the coalition government.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised, that if re-elected in 2016, the SNP will go beyond what is provided down south.

    Email: Pun shop names - Your views

    Eddie Bremner: I like the chip shop just off St Enoch Square - Glasgow's Miles Batter.

    Caol: I have one which isn't a shop, but a courier company in Glasgow called "Fox's Pacier Sprints". Its motto is: "Delivering your goods in mint condition". Now that is genius!

    14:14: Glasgow to host Irish Dancing Championships

    Glasgow has won right to host the World Irish Dancing Championships in 2018.

    Irish dancers

    The city saw off competition from Belfast, Dublin and Killarney, to secure the event, which will be held in March 2018 at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

    More than 14,500 dancers and supporters are expected to travel to the city for the championships, boosting the local economy by an estimated £14m.

    The World Irish Dancing Championships has run for more than 40 years and the 2018 event will be its fifth visit to Glasgow,

    The event will be held at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

    Glasgow was the first city to stage the Worlds outside Ireland in 2002 before hosting it again in 2007 and 2010 and the city will host the coveted Championships again in 2016.

    Over 4,500 competitors, aged from eight to 30, will come to Glasgow for the championships from across the world, including Scotland, Ireland, France, Russia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Canada and the USA. A further 10,000 spectators, comprising teachers, family and supporters are expected to make the trip.

    14:05: Police probe pet shop armed robbery

    A man escaped with money after an armed robbery at a Fraserburgh pet shop.

    The culprit made off with a "high two-figure sum" after the incident at Pets Palace in Hanover Street on Sunday.

    Police Scotland said the owner was left "uninjured but distressed".

    The suspect was described as wearing blue jeans and a black jacket with distinctive white logos on the chest and shoulders.

    13:57: Get involved - shop names

    Ian Woodrow, Houston: My favourite is this one in Glasgow Road, Paisley:

    Barber shop
    13:47: Appeal after historic carving dug up

    A carving thought to depict the Declaration of Arbroath has been uncovered in an Angus village.

    Easthaven carving

    The carving, which could be hundreds of years old, was found by Alasdair Murray close to the site of an old post road used by pilgrims in East Haven.

    It appears to show Robert the Bruce and some monks consulting a document, thought to be the 1320 declaration of independence signed at nearby Arbroath.

    Mr Murray and his wife Wendy have appealed for information.

    13:30: Weather outlook BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Met office warnings issued for snow and ice tonight, risk of travel disruption.

    13:27: Submarine test area 'expanded'

    The Ministry of Defence has been accused of almost doubling the size of a submarine test site in Scotland without any prior consultation.

    HMS Astute

    The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre (BUTEC) is in the Inner Sound between the Isle of Raasay and Applecross on the mainland.

    Fishing is banned in the BUTEC which was six miles (10km) long, three miles (6km) wide and up to 656ft (200m) deep.

    MSP Dave Thompson said fishermen should have been asked about expanding it.

    12:59: Murray falls in tennis rankings Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    As he prepares for the big Davis Cup tie against America in Glasgow at the end of this week, Andy Murray has dropped out of the top 4 in the world tennis rankings.

    The Scot has been overtaken by Rafa Nadal and Kei Nishikori, so is now in fifth place in the world order: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Nadal is the familiar looking 1-2-3.

    Andy Murray
    12:50: Tongs ya bass! Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    The cast and crew of the cult Scottish film Small Faces were reunited as the Glasgow Film Festival drew to a close.

    Kevin McKidd starred as Malky, the leader of the Tongs gang

    The film - made in 1996, just ahead of Trainspotting - launched the careers of a number of actors including Joe McFadden, Kevin McKidd and Laura Fraser.

    It was a personal film for brothers Gillies and Billy Mackinnon. And one they felt had never been made before.

    "The closest were the dramas of Peter Mcdougall but that was the 70s and Greenock," says Gillies.

    12:40: MSP wants free milk break in schools

    A Highland MSP is campaigning for free milk breaks to be re-introduced to primary schools.

    Milk is poured into a glass cup

    The SNP's Dave Thompson believes this will improve children's nutrition.

    He said the scheme will 'kill two birds with one stone' by also helping Scotland's struggling dairy industry.

    The Scottish government said that, whilst it is committed to supporting the health and development of young people, it is individual councils who determine the structure of school days.

    12:31: Porter admits hospital sex attack

    A porter has admitted sexually assaulting an 84-year-old woman as he wheeled her to the X-ray department of a Tayside hospital.

    Perth Royal Infirmary

    Albert Baker attacked the pensioner in October 2014 while she was preparing for a hip replacement operation at Perth Royal Infirmary.

    The 67-year-old, of Perth, also twice visited his victim at her home and sexually assaulted her there.

    He has been added to the sex offenders register ahead of sentencing in April.

    12:20: Revised wind farm plans opposed

    Councillors in the Scottish Borders have voted to oppose revised plans for a wind farm straddling the boundary with East Lothian.


    Planning officers had advised them not to object to the Aikengall IIa scheme near Cockburnspath.

    Community Windpower has reduced the proposals from 27 turbines to 19.

    Planning officers at Scottish Borders Council said it was an improvement on previous plans but councillors voted 5-2 to oppose them.

    Email: Pun shop names - Your views

    Eric Donaldson: Some shop signs from around the Leith area - although it's not a pun I think my favourite is the "Relatively Painless" tattoo shop. But the "Doggone Purrfect" pet shop on Leith Walk runs it a close second.

    Douglas Crichton: Always liked "Couper & Co" - another Falkirk Hairdresser. Nothing to do with the owner's's from the French verb to cut!

    12:10: Put your questions to Jim Murphy

    The Scottish Labour Party will be holding a conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) on 7 March.

    Jim Murphy Jim Murphy is leader of the Scottish Labour Party

    As part of BBC Scotland's coverage, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy will take part in a half-hour webcast in which he will answer your questions.

    If you have something to ask Mr Murphy, email

    Please put "webchat questions" in the message field of your email.

    You will be able to watch the one-to-one interview, hosted by BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor, via BBC Scotland's politics website.

    12:09: Footballer 'will be sadly missed'

    Tributes have been paid to a footballer who died suddenly at the weekend.

    It is understood that 29-year-old Maybole Juniors player Stuart McGrady died in his sleep on Saturday night, hours after scoring for the Ayrshire side.

    McGrady played for Ayr United, Cumnock and Queen's Park before joining Maybole in 2009.

    Cumnock Juniors FC said: "Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of former player Stuart McGrady. You will be sadly missed."

    12:00: Never Miss A Beatt...

    Tune into the show, presented by Ken Macdonald today, here.

    The John Beattie Show
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews Puntastic shops - Get involved

    Graeme Donaldson: There used to be a kids' clothing store in Argyle Street called "Weans World" - puntacular.

    Village Man: There's one in Battlefield area called 'Wafer a Cone'

    Craig: Dan Druffs - the hairdresser in Galston, and the Tak A Wa in Dundee

    11:52: Two charged after dog bites child

    A man and a woman are due in court after a young girl was bitten by a dog in Kirriemuir.

    The two-year-old was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee with facial injuries following the incident in the Glamis Road area of the Angus town on Friday.

    A 45-year-old man and a woman, 38, have been charged in connection with the incident.

    They are due to appear at Forfar Sheriff Court.

    11:40: Jay Beatty: Online abuse investigated by police

    Police are investigating "offensive comments" made about a young boy with Down's Syndrome who won the Scottish Professional Football League Goal of the Month award.

    Celtic fan Jay Beatty

    Celtic fan Jay Beatty lifted the award for January with 97% of the vote.

    However, comments on social media provoked a backlash at the weekend.

    A Police Scotland spokeswoman in Aberdeen said comments after the game between Celtic and Aberdeen were being investigated.

    @bbcscotlandnews 'Bring harmony' Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    "I am a non-confrontational man and have always tried to bring harmony": David Somers on his exit from #Rangers:

    11:25: Edinburgh jewellery theft

    An armed thief is being sought by police following a robbery following a robbery at an Edinburgh city centre jewellers.

    The man targeted Laing the jewellers in Frederick Street at 09:30.

    Police are appealing for information

    There have been unconfirmed reports he then hijacked a private hire car with a passenger inside and forced them to drive to the north side of the city.

    A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "We can confirm we were called to Frederick Street this morning to reports of a robbery taking place."

    Email: Gordon Brown - Your views

    Mark, Aberdeen: I find it strange that Gordon Brown is suggesting that some of the North Sea fields or installations could be closed down prematurely by operators. Doesn't he know that the premature closure of a viable UK Continental Shelf installation or field already requires approval for cessation of production from the UK government - through DECC - and that this process takes years? So the required controls on premature closure already exist, and they sit with the UK government. If Gordon Brown really wants to do something useful about relieving pressure on operators, he would be better placed to use his influence with his chums in the coalition government, and address the taxation issues that are compounding the current price issues in the industry.

    11:12: Glasgow gig for Madonna

    Madonna will play Glasgow later this year as part of her latest tour.

    The Queen of pop, 56, announced the details of her Rebel Heart tour this morning on Twitter.

    Madonna Twitter feed

    The tour, which kicks off in Florida in August, will visit 35 cities in Europe and the US, and includes a date at Glasgow's SSE Hydro on 20 December.

    Fans will get access to pre-sale tickets on 10 March at 10:00, with general sales available six days later.

    11:00: Chemical scare at Prestwick meat plant

    Firefighters have evacuated a meat factory in South Ayrshire after a suspected ammonia leak.

    Crews were called to Halls of Scotland food processing plant in Prestwick at 04:40 after staff raised the alarm.

    They called in an advisor from Glasgow Scientific Services before firefighters in atmospheric suits entered the premises in a bid to isolate the leak.

    No one has been injured. The fire service said the incident is likely to continue for some time.

    @bbcscotlandnews Get involved - shop puns

    Rachel: Bloemen Ecke in Edinburgh is a double pun. Blooming Heck & Bloemen Dutch for Flowers, Ecke German for corner.

    Amna Hayat, Karachi: The Codfather!! Missing my Edinburgh neighbourhood.

    10:42: Brown says UK government could part own oil fields

    Former prime minister Gordon Brown believes under-threat North Sea oil fields could be part-owned by the UK government.

    Gordon Brown

    The Labour politician will back the idea of public-private ownership deals when he delivers a lecture in Glasgow.

    He said they could be the solution for those fields that were under threat of being mothballed.

    However, the SNP's Stewart Hosie accused Mr Brown of failing to act during his time as Chancellor.

    10:36: Moray class sizes 'could increase'

    Class sizes could increase in Moray in an effort to tackle a teacher shortage and concerns surrounding school capacities.

    Moray Council

    Councillors will this week be asked to change the limit for P2 and P3 classes to 30 from the current 25 pupils.

    Moray Council recently warned that more children could have to be sent home from schools across the region unless it addressed a teacher recruitment crisis.

    Earlier this year there were 70 vacancies across Moray.

    10:32: Roll over Beethoven...

    Dogs in rescue centres can be calmed by having music piped into their kennels - but will eventually get bored with the same tunes.

    That's what researchers at the University of Glasgow discovered when they played classical music to animals at a Scottish SPCA centre.


    After a week the calming effect was lost. Despite the findings, the initial benefits have prompted the charity to look at installing speakers in its homes in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

    Any decent suggestions for dog songs? The Scotland Live recording studio has thrown up: Florence & The Machine's Dog Days Are Over, Baha Men's Who Let The Dogs Out, Live Furever by Oasis or The Clash's I Fought The Paw...

    We know you can do better!

    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews Best pun shop names - Get involved

    Shaun Gentleman: 'Pulp Fiction' second hand book store in Edinburgh.

    Text using 80295 Dog music - Your views

    Craig, Dundee: My dogs listened to classical music in their run. They loved it. Even calmed down the mental collie... That was until the radio station had a special Rachmaninov day!!! They were a touch excitable that day!

    10:11: Appeal over Glasgow bus sex attacks

    Police have released CCTV images of a man they want to trace in relation to a series of sex attacks on Glasgow buses.

    Three women were sexually assaulted on different buses in the city centre between 19 and 27 November last year.

    Man police want to trace

    Officers have appealed for anyone who recognises the man, or who may have witnessed the attacks, to contact them.

    The man was said to be about 5ft 9in tall and of medium build with short brown hair and a receding hair line.

    • The first incident took place on 19 November on a number 57 bus at Jamaica Street at 14:45
    • The second attack happened on 24 November on a number 6 bus at Argyle Street, in the city centre, at 15:15
    • The final incident took place on 27 November on a number 61 bus at Maryhill Road at about 08:50.
    Email: Best pun shop names - Get involved

    Rachael Lochtie sent us this picture of her favourite puntastic business in Glasgow's Argyle Street...

    Lettuce eat
    09:52: Castle's costs Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    The cost of opening Inverness Castle's North Tower and its look-out as a new tourist attraction has been estimated at £360,000.

    Built in stages in the 1800s on the site of previous historic castles, the sprawling site was first used as a county hall and later a jail.

    Inverness Castle's North Tower

    In more recent times it has served as Inverness Sheriff Court.

    Highland Council owns the North Tower and is leading a project to make it available to tourists.

    High Life Highland, an organisation running leisure sites in the region, has estimated that the tower could attract almost 30,000 visitors every year.

    The look-out gives views across the city, the Beauly Firth, Moray Firth and surrounding hills and mountains.

    Highland Council has earmarked £200,000 for the project and hopes £100,000 will be made available from the Inverness Common Good Fund and £60,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    The rest of the castle would continue to be run as a sheriff court.

    09:43: Brown: government should finance oil revamp

    Gordon Brown is to set out a plan to assist the North Sea oil and gas industry, following recent falls in price.

    In a speech in Glasgow today on the future of the Scottish economy, the former prime minister - who is standing down as a Fife MP later this month - will suggest the government should forge a partnership with the firms operating old oilfields and provide finance to ensure they don't shut down prematurely.

    Gordon Brown

    The government could go even further, Mr Brown will argue, taking over oil fields and paying for infrastructure to be kept in place until fields become financially viable again.

    09:35: Forest seeds arrive at 'Doomsday Vault' Mark Kinver Environment reporter, BBC News

    The Svalbard "doomsday" vault - widely known for protecting global food crop seeds - has accepted its first delivery of forest tree species seeds.

    Norway spruce and Scots pine samples have entered the vault inside a mountain on the Arctic archipelago.

    Since opening its doors in 2008, the vault now stores 840,000 varieties of food crops

    The frozen depository opened in 2008 and is designed to withstand all natural and human disasters.

    Researchers hope the tree seed samples will help monitor long-term genetic changes in natural forests.

    09:24: 'Best ever' festival

    This year's Glasgow Film Festival, which closed last night, has been praised by organisers as the best ever.

    There were 174 events at the festival this year, taking in 11 world premieres, 33 UK premieres and 65 Scottish premieres - including Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning turn in Still Alice.

    Julianne Moore

    Audience figures passing 40,000 for the second year running, with the inaugural Audience Award for best film by a first-time director won by Radiator, a low-budget British film created by Tom Browne.

    Email: Best pun shop names - Your views

    Marie Wilkson: I just wanted to send a picture of my favourite shop name pun. The shop is a dog groomers in Hawick, Scottish Borders. Genius!

    Shop in Hawick

    Keep them coming! Email us here, tweet @bbcscotlandnews or text 80295.

    @bbcscotlandnews Best pun shop names - Get involved

    @AyrshireOutdoor: I remember an Ayrshire takeaway called Abrakebabra.

    08:57: Rise in scams

    There has been a "shocking" rise in the number of Scots hit by scams including fake phone calls, online offers and doorstep callers, says Citizens Advice Scotland.


    Between April and December 2013 there were 4,800 reports of scams to CAS - up 11% on the previous year.

    A CAS report found one man was conned out of £4,000 in an online dating sting, while others lost significant sums of money from fake passport and driving licence renewal websites.

    Some contacted the charity for advice on how to stop scam mail being delivered to relations with dementia who have lost hundreds of pounds.

    @BBCchrismclaug 'Santa on the roof' Chris McLaughlin BBC Sport

    Craig Houston, of Rangers fans' group Sons of Struth, said it was like Christmas Eve when James Easdale quit. Rangers fans now hear Santa on the roof but will he bring them what they want?

    08:50: Gordon Brown: nationalise the oil fields Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Gordon Brown is starting his final month as an MP with a thundering speech on the economy. It's the only type of speech he's ever done...

    Gordon Brown

    Read my blog here.

    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews Best pun shop names - Get involved

    Andy Fitz:

    Shop sign

    Need to check the fine print of the Chewin The Fat "conetract" on this one, Andy...

    Revel: How's about Re-inkcarnation for printer ink top ups in Edinburgh?

    08:34: Fares to fall

    The new private operator of the East Coast Mail Line has promised to increase the frequency of Edinburgh-London trains and reduce ticket prices.

    David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains East Coast, told Good Morning Scotland some fares on the line would be reduced by 10% from May, while in the future journey times between Edinburgh and London would drop below four hours.

    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews Best pun shop names - Get involved

    Naughty by Niger tweets: Coffee shop, Southside, 'Java Minute'

    Fay Young: Thistle Do Nicely, tartan stuff North Bridge, fortunately it didn't.

    Rob Wilkinson: Used to live opposite the "Supper Bowl" takeaway in Gilmerton, Edinburgh!!

    Here at Scotland Live Towers we remember a piercing and tanning emporium called Pierce Bronzenan. Not sure whether 007 was shaken, not stirred by that one...

    08:22: Historic mansion's uncertain future

    A review is being sought for a rejected residential development on the site of a historic mansion near Dumfries.

    Proposals have been lodged to convert Carnsalloch House and build a number of new homes.

    Developers say the buildings have been targeted by vandals, fireraisers and drug users

    However, Dumfries and Galloway Council ruled that the project is not in keeping with the A-listed building.

    Developers said all technical issues had been resolved and that design concerns were a "subjective issue".

    The Palladian mansion house at Kirkton, built in the middle of the 18th Century with a number of extensions over the years, has fallen into disrepair.

    08:15: Read all about it

    This morning's papers take in Rangers, Gordon and the "Beast of Butlins".

    front pages

    Read more here.

    @BBCRadioScot Coming up... BBC Radio Scotland

    Wind, coal or nuclear: what's the best way to power Scotland's future?

    Morning Call

    Have your say on Morning Call with Cathy Macdonald from 08:50.

    We'll also be asking: is a two-pint glass a practical solution to big bar queues?

    Listen live to the programme here.

    08:03: You're the pun that I want...

    Earlier we asked you for your favourite shop names featuring puns.

    Gary Lazarowics likes this Airdrie pet grooming business - Captain Dugwash.

    Tweet us your faves @bbcscotlandnews or email them here.

    07:59: Scotland's punniest shops...

    A hair salon in Falkirk has won a poll to find the shop name pun of the year.


    Hair Dot Comb attracted the most votes from the 10 shop names on the shortlist compiled by the Local Data Company.

    Another Scottish shop on the list was Glasgrow, a hydroponics store in Glasgow's Merchant City.

    What is your favourite shop name? Send us a photograph and we'll stick the best in a photo gallery.

    Email your pictures to with the subject "shop names".

    07:57: Rangers analysis Chris McLaughlin BBC Sport

    It's quite simply a case of jumping before he was pushed. David Somers has decided against the public humiliation of losing the shareholders' vote at Friday's extraordinary general meeting.

    A meeting called by major shareholder and former director Dave King, who wants a clear out at the top. Somers' resignation just leaves chief executive Derek Llambias and finance director Barry Leach.

    Ibrox Stadium

    They too face being booted off the board on Friday but could also quit beforehand. All on the day when Mike Ashley faces charges by the Scottish FA for his dual interest in Newcastle and Rangers. He owns 9% of Rangers but his influence in the boardroom appears to be coming to an end.

    Text using 80295 Railways - Get involved

    Anon: All this talk of re-nationalisation of the railways sums up how pathetic our thinking is. How much for new rolling stock and engines? Michael Hogg is simply an outdated socialist.

    John, Glasgow: It's not rocket science, a nationalised railway is better for everyone. Private companies work for shareholders, not the public: simple economics.

    07:50: 'Re-nationalise our railways'

    As the East Coast Mainline returns to a private franchise today for the first time since 2009, Michael Hogg, of the RMT union, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland the UK's railways should be re-nationalised.

    "Where the two previous franchises failed, East Coast Trains has been an absolute success under public ownership," he said.

    "The quicker our railways are returned to public hands, the better."

    Rangers - Your views

    What do you think about David Somers' resignation as Rangers chairman.

    Scotland Live

    Tweet using @bbcscotlandnews, email or text using 80295.

    07:40: Union flag on public works

    Plaques featuring the union flag and the line "funded by the UK government" are to be displayed on publicly-funded projects.

    It is part of plans being announced by the Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, who said the aim was to recognise UK taxpayers' contributions.


    The SNP has branded the plan a "silly gimmick" that won't disguise cuts to public services.

    Projects funded by the European Union already display the EU flag.

    07:37: Coming up... BBC Radio Scotland

    On Good Morning Scotland this morning:

    • "Tidal lagoon" power

    • 300 years of weather

    • East Coast main line

    @BBCDouglasF Rangers latest Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Now ex-chairman of #Rangers, David Somers looks back: at least #rfc paid its bills + didn't go under on his watch.

    07:24: East Coast back in private hands

    After six years of public ownership, East Coast Mainline rail services have been re-privatised.

    East coast

    Virgin, which already operates West Coast rail services, has taken over the East Coast franchise, in partnership with Stagecoach.

    The line links London with Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.

    The companies are promising to improve the service for passengers, following two failed private franchise ventures.

    07:19: Rangers 'avoided going under during my tenure' - Somers

    David Somers, who has resigned as Rangers chairman, says he tried to bring "harmony" to the club after enjoying "considerable success" in the City.

    "When I was approached about the chairmanship of Rangers, friends warned me that the world of football has different rules and codes of behaviour," he said.

    Former Rangers chairman David Somers

    "I now know that is a gross understatement. I am a non-confrontational man and have always tried to bring harmony to boardrooms and with stakeholders.

    "At the risk of antagonising my army of critics I would point out that Rangers managed to pay its bills and avoid going under during my tenure.

    "These critics might not agree with how we achieved this. I look forward to alternative solutions from whoever is running the club in the future.

    "Despite the personal attacks on me from various sources I genuinely wish the club the very best in the future and I am confident that, with such a passionate and vociferous fanbase, they will be restored to their former glories."

    07:15: 'Families to lose out'

    Single parents with young children could lose more than £1,800 a year under the UK government's welfare reforms, according to research.

    Couples with young children will be only £400 better off than single parents, the Scottish Parliament's Welfare Reform Committee said.


    Research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University claimed families with children will lose an estimated £960m a year under the reforms.

    The Department of Work and Pensions said the report did not take into account increases in employment and the personal allowance and the introduction of the new Universal Credit.

    07:10: Breaking News

    Rangers confirm David Somers has resigned as chairman with immediate effect. The move is confirmed in a statement to the Stock Exchange.

    07:09: Capital growth

    Scotland's hotel sector will continue to grow over the next year with Edinburgh expected to be among the most popular cities in Europe, a report says.

    Along with London and Paris, Scotland's capital is one of only three cities in Europe forecast to have occupancy rates more than 80% in the next year.

    Edinburgh Castle

    A series of events elsewhere in the country over the next 12 months, including the World Gymnastics Championship, the Turner Prize and the Year of Food and Drink, will boost the sector in Glasgow and elsewhere, PwC's latest European hotel forecast says.

    07:06: Murder inquiry into Hamilton death

    Detectives have launched a murder inquiry into the death of a man in South Lanarkshire.

    Stephen Coutts, 35, died following an incident in Mayfield Road, Hamilton, on Saturday evening.

    Stephen Coutts died and another man was taken to hospital

    Another man, also 35, was injured and is in a stable condition in hospital.

    Det Insp David Moran, of Police Scotland, appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

    "Officers are conducting inquiries in the surrounding area to establish what happened," he said.

    @BBCScotWeather 'Risk of ice BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Morning, Gillian here. There's a risk of ice and frequent snow showers today, especially in western Scotland. Accumulations, mainly over high ground. Becoming windy. 4C.

    07:02: Somers to leave Ibrox? Chris McLaughlin BBC Sport

    Rangers chairman David Somers is to step down just days before his future in the position is due to be voted on by shareholders.

    Rangers chairman David Somers

    An extraordinary general meeting is being held at Ibrox on Friday, 6 March, at which the future of the current board will be decided.

    It is unclear if chief executive Derek Llambias and finance director Barry Leach will also go before Friday.

    An announcement is expected this morning regarding Somers' position.

    07:00: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland Live, bringing you all the latest news, sport, weather and travel from across the country until 19:00.

    Stay in touch via Twitter @bbcscotlandnews, by email on or by text on 80295.



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