Scotland’s labour market continues to tighten

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(Credit: Wikipedia)

Demand for permanent and temporary staff in Scotland has increased in the past few months, according to a new jobs survey.

Statistics put together by Royal Bank of Scotland have indicated that IT and computing saw the highest level of permanent vacancies in January. However, while temporary positions have increased slightly overall, the largest number of unfilled part-time vacancies were in medical, nursing and care professions.

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Report on Jobs determined that the rate of deterioration in permanent staff supply was the strongest it has looked since 2014. The report consists of multiple responses to a survey sent to around 100 recruitment and employment consultancies.

Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said:

”Continued expansion in permanent job placements and temporary staff billings across Scotland was seen in January, indicating further signs of a tightening labour market.

”Overall, survey data portrayed a favourable labour market for workers in Scotland, with pay pressures rising as a result of strong imbalances in staff supply and demand.”

 

Backlash over RBS branch closures

Royal Bank of Scotland is coming under pressure to reverse plans to close 62 branches across Scotland. 

RBS said the cutbacks, which would see 158 jobs lost, were a result of more customers using online banking. However, research by the Scottish Rural Group (SRA) suggests the closures would have a negative impact on small towns and villages.

In a survey of 1100 people, the SRA found 95% of people do not want the closures to happen.

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee met this morning to discuss the plans. Chair Pete Wishart MP of the SNP said plans to offset the proposals by installing cash machines in local Post Offices were “totally disingenuous”.

RBS Chief Executive, Les Matheson told the committee that changes in the way customers are using services was the reason behind the closures. After being asked several times to reconsider the plans, Matheson said:

“What we are saying is that we will talk to customers about the changes.”

Matheson also added that less than 1% of RBS customers visit their local branch once a week. However, Pete Wishart continued to press RBS representatives: “I get the sense you’re not prepared to look at this again,” said the MP for Perth and North Perthshire. Matheson retorted that RBS is a commercial enterprise.

 

RBS played a role in the collapse of Carillion claims acting CEO Keith Cochrane

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Keith Cochrane Acting CEO of Carillion | Image Credit: Construction News

The acting chief executive of Carillion has accused lenders of undermining the company’s efforts to save money.

Keith Cochrane accused tax-payer backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) of taking “unilateral action which, in the company’s view, undermined the group’s efforts to conserve cash”, in his statement filed at the High Court in London.

According to reports, Cochrane said that RBS informed Carillion, the UK’s second biggest construction services company, that it wanted the company to pre-fund supplier payments made through the bank. This meant that Carillion would have to make payments two days earlier than planned.

The interim CEO said this “negatively impacted Carillion’s liquidity by between £2m and £20m.”

Cochrane added that RBS had insisted changes would only be in place until the UK Government had provided support.

Update:

The company was discussed at Prime Ministers Question Time – with Theresa May stating she understands that it is a “difficult time” for many people.

However, she said that those who work for Carillion in the public sector should keep turning up to work, and they will be paid.

May added that the government is “looking very carefully” at the issue involving apprentices.

Jeremy Corbyn challenged May about the governments involvement with the company. The labour leader questioned the prime minister on £2bn of contracts that the government gave Carillion after it had issued a profits warning last year.

Corbyn stated that either the government gave Carillion contracts to keep it afloat or it was negligence.

May insisted that a profit warning only means that the company is going to make lower profits than expected, and that if the government pulled out every time a company issued a profit warning, then companies would definitely fail and jobs would be lost.

Corbyn also asked May if she could guarantee that no more money is handed to the chief executive and directors of Carillion, at a time when 8,000 workers on its private sector contracts face not being paid?

The prime minister replied that some of the staff who work on private sector contracts will keep getting paid.

She stated: “There are a number of facility management contractors who have come to an agreement with the Official Receiver which means their workers will continue to be paid.

“The official receiver is doing their job and working with these companies.”

Political editor of the Huffington Post, Paul Waugh, took to twitter to express his disagreement with the prime minister:

 

Paul Waugh took to twitter to criticise the prime ministers defence | Image credit: @paulwaugh on twitter

MPs also took to twitter to react to today’s PMQs discussion about Carillion. Labour MP for East Leeds, Richard Burgon, stated that he does not believe Theresa May answered Corbyn’s questions well enough.

MP Richard Burgon stated that the prime minister failed to answer the questions she was presented with | Image Credit: @RichardBurgon on twitter

However, Conservative MP Greg Hands stated that Corbyn was ill informed about profit warnings going into the debate:

Chelsea & Fulham MP stated that Corbyn was ill informed about profit warnings | Image Credit: @GregHands on Twitter

DiMaggio’s restaurant to open in former bank HQ

A historic location in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square will be the home of a new branch of Scottish-based Italian restaurant DiMaggio’s as part of a wider refurbishment scheme.

The former HQ of the Royal Bank of Scotland, known as The Registers, will be transformed into a restaurant that will cater to 200 people as well having two bars. The development is estimated to cost around £2 million.

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RBS left the location in 2005 when it moved to Gogarburn, but has kept a presence at the Dundas Street branch just three doors down.

The location will also feature 50 apartments, shops and office spaces. Work is being done by the Chris Stewart Group, and is due to start in October 2017.

Managing director of The DiMaggio Group, Tony Conetta, said in a statement that “This is an incredibly exciting project for us, in both an iconic building and location.

“The Edinburgh Grand Banking Hall is rich in history, both for the capital and for Scotland as a whole. By carefully retaining and restoring the many original features we will bring this heritage to life.”

Chris Stewart added, “The ambition The Di Maggio Restaurant Group has for the space both in terms of design and quality is a perfect fit for The Registers, and we are delighted to welcome them as tenants.”

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The location was previously owned by former Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov, who planned on turning it into a hotel but could not get the funding. The site was then sold at auction after Romanov’s businesses collapsed.

 

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