Scotland‘s first Minister Alex Salmond has assured the nation that the country will enjoy 100% of its electricity needs from the renewable power by 2015.
Speaking ahead of an International conference which will take place at Edinburgh International Conference Centre and, which will debate on low carbon developments and renewable energy projects, Mr Salmond was confident that the project will meet its target by 2025.
The government now requires 80% of electricity consumption to come from renewables, such as wind, tidal generation and wave power. By 2020 the 50% of the target is expected to be met.
Around 500 delegates are expected for the conference and an animated film on the Scottish Government’s National Renewables Infrastructure Plan has also been commissioned by the organisers to exhibit to open the event.
The conference will provide a forum for government, international finance, utilities and developers to engage directly, bringing projects and investors together. It is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.
The Scottish economy is regaining its strength from the vacuum created by the recession which lasted a period over a year. The latest business survey reports have found that the growth is steady yet, weak and muted.
The surveyor Lloyd’s TSB Scotland Business Monitor says that the consumer and business confidence is still remains low, and this affects the growth of the economy in turn. By the end of 2009 the Scottish economy gained a growth of 0.3%.
Although the reports show that the export activity fell, it “remains positive”, with marginally more firms reporting an increase in exports than a decrease.
Only 26% of firms reported a rise in exports. While 24% reported a fall giving a percentage balance of 2% down from 12% in the previous quarter. And 38% of firms said they expected export activity to increase in the next six months.
But inflation still continues to put pressure on Scottish firms, with the net balance of firms reporting an increase in costs to those reporting a decrease. standing at 44% – up from 28% in the same quarter last year.
New research details reveals that the rate of unemployment in Scotland has rose to three times faster than in England within the last 12 months.
The research was commissioned by Labour Shadow Scottish secretary Jim Murphy, who is also the Labour MP for East Renfrewshire. He said, the number and the proportion of Scottish households which are workless have both increased by around 10% compared to England which have an increase by 3%. So he came to a conclusion that the percentage increase in workless households in Scotland is over three times greater than in England.
He is in the opinion that Scotland always suffers under a conservative government and the things are getting worse under the Tories in charge. Also, he added that the Tory-Lib Dem coalition costing jobs and an SNP government not doing enough to protect them.
Mr. Murphy is backing the contest to support the labour leadership of David Miliband. While Miliband says that he have plans to cut the deficit to promote jobs and growth.
Scotland’s tourism sector is now having the worst time ever, the new reports says. Numbers of tourists travelling into the country for visits are found on the decreasing level. The major reasons sighted behind this beat is said to be the bad weather and recession.
There have been visible fall in the number of visitors at tourist attractions throughout the north and north-east areas of Scotland. This slump reveals that the vital industry is almost certain to miss ambitious targets to boost its income.
Although goals have set in increasing revenue by 50% until 2015, the Scotland Government’s tourism unit have revealed that the industry is now running on a trajectory level. But, now the situations show that the industry is not on trajectory to meet 50% growth in the decade up to 2015.
The tourism industry was one that had better performed than any other sectors in Scotland. Most of the tour organisers face heavy decline in the number of visitors this year than that they had in the previous year. There are rising opinions from the part of experts in the field that, Scotland would have to change its marketing policy to succeed and not simply drop prices to increase business.
Also it is opined that Scotland needed to look further afield than the traditional domestic and North American markets because of the struggling economies. For instance, to the east, to places like China where the economy is still strong, and sell the state as an all-year-round tourist destination.
A new report says that, more than 700 pubs in Scotland have closed since the smoking ban was introduced. Scotland was the first country in UK to bring in smoking ban in public places. It was in March 2006 that Scotland brought in legislation outlawing smoking in enclosed public places.
Research conducted by Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign showed that 11.1% of pubs north of the border had shut over the past four years. Price slashes in drink prices have got to do something with this, the report says.
Oliver Griffiths, director of CR Consulting, which carried out the research, said: “The decline of the British pub had started before the smoking ban but at a low level. The ban had a sudden and marked impact, accelerating the rate of decline.”
The report showed that almost three years after the smoking ban was introduced 7.1% of pubs in Scotland had closed, rising to just over 11% after four years.
In England and Wales – where smoking in public places was banned later -the report said more than 7% of pubs had closed after almost three years.
Paul Waterson, president of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association says that these factors have strong impact on the closure of pubs and it is time for the government to do something to help the industry and relax the ban.
Seperate smoking rooms to be included in pubs was suggested as one option. But in the positive side, the doctors says that it helped people to change their attitude towards smoking and have clearly underlined the dangers associated with smoking. As a result many have chosen to quit smoking.