Cable and a drink problem
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable was making headlines this weekend after warning that a Brexit no deal could mean the pubs “running dry” of some of our favourite tipples, including Guinness and Bailey’s.
At least that’s what he said the chaps at Diageo had told him after meeting the producers of these drinks at the Scottish head office of the company in Edinburgh.
“They want frictionless borders and anything that screws up trade is a problem for them,” he thundered, sufficiently for The Scotsman to give his comments the best part of two pages.
After Daily Business pressed him on whether this was his view or the company’s, the anti-Brexiteer and People’s Vote campaigner, insisted: “The company is very anxious to avoid anything that closes borders. That’s the key message from the company, not just me.”
Odd then that after his meeting a company spokesman said: “Regardless of the outcome, rest assured we will ensure Guinness…is available to be enjoyed throughout the UK and Ireland for decades to come.”
Seems a bit like the “smoke and mirrors” that the Lib-Dem leader said surrounded the latest reports that Theresa May had reached a Brexit deal on financial services.
“None of us knows what is going on,” he said. Now that is indisputable.
Not such a city revelation
PwC put out its latest Good Growth for Cities Index last week and it had the Scottish media cooing over the inclusion of Edinburgh and Aberdeen in the top ten (six and nine respectively).
The report, produced with Demos, sets out to show that there’s more to life, work and general well-being than just measuring GDP.
Glasgow also boasted job-creation, skills and work-life balance as above average, though it managed only 25th on the 2018 Index, up a couple of places on the last ranking.
Aberdeen is also up two places, an encouraging sign of growth returning after a tough few years for the oil industry.
Edinburgh actually fell two places because of the soaring cost of buying a home, so in that respect life just got a bit harder for those living in the capital.
Health was once again Scotland’s poorest performing variable, with all cities at or below the UK average. However, there has been an improvement in work-life balance, as defined by the percentage working more than 45 hours per week, and a strong performance in skills improvements across all Scottish cities.
Overall, Scotland’s cities are in a stronger position today than prior to the financial downturn, according to David Brown, PwC’s head of government & public sector in Scotland.
However, he was stating the obvious when he said the public sector, business and the higher education institutions must “collaborate effectively, to ensure our cities are ‘investor ready’.”
And it was hardly earth-shattering news when Lindsay Gardiner, regional chairman at PwC Scotland, said “Edinburgh remains one of the best cities in the UK in which to live and do business.”
Now we know why these guys are so handsomely rewarded.
Cheque this out
A cheque has arrived unexpectedly from Lloyds Bank; unexpectedly, not least, because it’s a refund on home insurance dating back to 2013.
Now it’s only a modest amount and it’s good of Lloyds to ‘fess up to owing the money – the full benefit of a no claims discount on extra cover that was added at the time.
But why has it taken five years to discover this? And how many other folk are due a refund?
What is ironic is that the repayment came as a cheque, rather quaintly through the post. The banks keep telling us they want to phase out cheques as, a bit like branches, fewer people are using them. So why didn’t the bank pay the money directly into my current account?