Leading business group publishes letter signed by leaders of 52 Chambers of Commerce — every accredited Chamber of Commerce in the UK — demanding improved digital and mobile connectivity for UK business

On the closing day of the government’s consultation on the UK’s future digital strategy (19 January), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) calls for the government to match the scope and ambition of other countries to create a solid foundation for future business growth.

In a letter signed by all 52 Accredited Chambers across the country to the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, the leading business group has highlighted areas where a lack of action is impeding business growth — including mobile coverage, supplier competition, and insufficient broadband coverage and speeds. BCC Director General, John Longworth, presented the letter to the Culture Secretary at a meeting on 14 January.

Unless UK businesses see swift improvements in reliability, speed, coverage and competition, individual companies’ performances – and UK productivity – may be severely affected.

Commenting, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

 “The digital world is changing daily, and UK firms have a track record as global innovators and leaders. However, the infrastructure they rely upon is failing to keep pace.

“Britain may lead the world in e-commerce, but many offices, business parks and road and rail routes lack both mobile and broadband connectivity. Unless we set the bar high – and ensure UK companies have access to world-class digital infrastructure – we will be out-competed by others around the globe.

“The UK government must set a far more ambitious digital strategy, starting with an immediate action plan to boost mobile and fibre connections for business. Companies of every size and sector, in every nation and region, are reporting connectivity problems. We need action from ministers, regulators, service providers and businesses themselves if we want to stay competitive in future.”

Specific areas of concern highlighted by the BCC were:

  •  Broadband – 24Mbps is the speed the government defines as superfast, but this does not compare favourably with many other EU countries who define it as 30Mbps+. To ensure strong performance there must be funding equivalent to the rollout of superfast broadband to extend Ultrafast broadband across the UK, as outlined in the BCC’s spending review submission.
  • Mobile coverage – Mobile phones are crucial to businesses for many aspects of their daily work, and for this reason poor mobile coverage must be eliminated. The government, regulators and service providers must act now to target areas of low connectivity, including many business parks and on primary road and rail routes.
  • Improved competition – Improved competition and investment in the broadband market will boost access and choice for businesses. Ofcom’s review of the UK’s digital communications markets has come at the right time, and we look forward to the full findings and recommendations of this review.
  • Lead the world in developing 5G technology – The government must ensure necessary funding is in place to drive research into 5G in order to make this a reality in the next decade. If the UK is a leading player in technologies like 5G, it can roll out the technology more quickly to give businesses a strong competitive advantage and boost productivity.
  • The consumer price index rose by 0.2% in the year to December 2015, compared with a 0.1% increase in the year to November 2015
  • Movement in transport costs, particularly air fares and motor fuels, were the main contributors to the rise
  • Downward pressures from alcohol, tobacco and food partially offset the rise
  • Goods annual inflation in December 2015 was -2.1%, while services annual inflation was 2.9%

Commenting on the Inflation Figures for December 2015, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“UK inflation is edging up slightly but remains very low, and inflationary pressures in the foreseeable future are set to remain very weak. Recent falls in oil and commodity prices will have a dampening effect on inflation, while labour costs remain subdued.

“Turmoil in the global economy and weak UK trade and manufacturing figures are powerful arguments for postponing any rise in interest rates. Our main policy priority must be to nurture the fragile recovery in the face of major global headwinds.”

“Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society is proud to join the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and offer preferential rates on golf days and business networking events. Why not bring your clients to the world’s fourth oldest golf club this summer and enjoy Bruntsfield’s legendary golfers lunches which are said to be on a par with those served at Muirfield and Prestwick.

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Richard Brian and his professional team are delighted to offer expert tuition on Bruntsfield’s driving range or golf course, which this June hosts the official Open Championship Qualifying a testament to the design and condition of the course.

To view more information just visit our website: www.bruntsfieldlinks.co.uk or contact Callum Taylor, callumtaylor@bruntsfield.sol.co.uk / 0131 336 1479

Avinash Business Consultants CEO and small business growth expert and strategy Consultant Sudha Mani can find ANY business owner a minimum of £5,000 lying hidden in their business… in just 30 days.

“In order to survive, all small businesses need to generate more revenue,” according to Sudha Mani, CEO for Avinash Business Consultants. “The problem is they have no formal process for doing that. The vast majority attempt to generate more revenue by running an ad in the paper… or using direct mail… or offering something for sale on their website. If you’re a small business owner, and you’re doing these exact same things, then I can show you where you’re leaving at least £5,000 in hidden profit lying dormant in your business… and I can do it in just 30 days” according to Sudha Mani .

Sudha Mani is an expert in small business growth and business strategy. Ms Mani has applied her IT and business consultation and training skills to help business owner’s increase their revenues and profits for more than 22 years. Sudha has developed a keen understanding of the complex issues facing small and large businesses in today’s volatile marketplace.

Her expertise in simplifying and explaining the complex strategies used by successful businesses provides incredible value. She is expert in implementing right strategies in particular business because all strategies doesn’t work in all businesses.  Sudha says, “Many small business fails are because of following reasons, not having right Business Model, Business Strategy and Business Plan just because it works for one business doesn’t mean it should/must work with yours.  There is no use in spending money on marketing and advertising hoping and praying that customers would come knocking your door or pick up their phone to call you.”

A company that delivers small business consulting services, Avinash Business Consultants helps entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses faster by mastering a proven and tested strategies that helps them to immediately generate more leads, attract more clients and make more money than they have ever made before. “The small businesses owners are the “lifeblood” of  U.K. economy,” said Mr.Cameron when talking to FSB (Federation of Small Business).

“At Avinash Business Consultants, we get a kick out of showing business owners around the world how to remove the risks of owning a business and the proven ways they can achieve immediate results,” Sudha Mani said when speaking to us. “We show our members how to create a continuous cycle of innovation and combine those innovations with proven strategies and tactics that helps them to find more leads; convert those leads into paying customers, and dramatically increase their revenue and profits, even in this recession plagued economy” she concluded.

Visit www.avinashbusinessconsultants.com and www.earnbeforeyoubuy.com/myguidedtour to know more about their initiatives.  You can also opt-in for their newsletters to get value added articles and tips to help you in your business.

Assean is doing a LIVE Q.A. on Scotland Now’s Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/kvwwrwx) on Monday 11th May at 12:30pm where he will answer your questions publicly.

As a direct follow-on from the recent “Building Bridges” conference at RBS Headquarters, Asia Scotland is committed to equipping Scotland’s future leaders with the knowledge and skills to engage effectively on a global scale. Taking the discussion to a broader audience, this is the second in our tech Q.A. series.

Assean Sheikh is a Babson trained, data driven Entrepreneur and the CEO of Flavourly – the UK’s fastest growing personalised gourmet food, snack & craft beer discovery service.

Joining Flavourly in 2014, after completing the Saltire Fellowship, Assean has grown the business from a single founder to a team of 10, increased year on year monthly sales by over 300% and raised £500,000 investment via crowdcube.

He is also active in the Entrepreneurial community, being alumni of Entrepreneurial Spark, PSYBT, Power of Youth, Scottish Institute for Enterprise and a mentor at Project Scotland.

Prior to Flavourly, Assean founded and piloted Direct Mechanics, an alternative approach to car servicing in the UK and has a background in financial services, working for Morgan Stanley.

Students from Queen Margaret University’s Costume Design and Construction degree are set to take the University’s annual costume showcase to new heights. This year’s event is set to dazzle with a harlequinade of outfits from the past, present and future.


Themed in black and white, the 2015 show will transform the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh’s old town.

Taking place on the 15th May, Costume Showcase 2015 will feature an array of costumes created and modelled by Queen Margaret University’s Performing Arts students. The breadth of work will reflect the Costume Design and Construction students’ portfolio, with the supporting exhibition featuring illustrations of costumes, masks and millinery.
The audience should prepare itself to be transported to different worlds – from the 17th century court of Charles II, stopping for a moment in an Edwardian musical hall, and reaching into the future with space aged mutants

Sarah Paulley, Programme Leader in Costume Design and Construction at Queen Margaret University, explained: “It will be a visual rollercoaster which moves from bold black and white harlequin costumes to gloriously colourful African textiles. This year, an entire collection of costumes are themed around the Tempest, Shakespear’s mystical island, with costumes inspired by birds, fishes and spirits.

Dr Richard Butt, Dean of Media, Communication and Performing Arts at Queen Margaret University, said: “This event is a highlight in Queen Margaret University’s calendar as it allows us to celebrate our students’ creativity and to unveil costumes they have worked on over the last year.”
After the matinee and evening shows, guests will have the opportunity to meet the student designers and makers, and to get an insight into the research, creativity and skill that goes into developing their creations.

Some of the students from Queen Margaret University’s Costume Design and Construction degree have gone on to create costumes for Holywood blockbusters such as ‘Gravity’ with Sandra Bullock and Cluny, the new TV series ‘Outlander’ and some TV drama favourites such as ‘Mr Selfridge’. Other graduates have worked with companies such as Scottish Ballet and the Welsh National Opera.

‘Costume Showcase and Exhibition’ will take place at the Pleasance Theatre Hall, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ on the 15th May 2015. Matinee performance, doors open at 2pm, performance followed by the exhibition. Evening performance, starts at 7.15pm, followed by exhibition.

Tickets for the show can be purchased via Eventbite at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/costume-showcase-2015-tickets-16232491820

Spring may be here but we all know how unpredictable the Scottish weather can be. That’s why Edinburgh Airport has teamed up with Edinburgh-based Kiltane to create an exclusive retail POD selling luxury cashmere, knitwear and accessories.


Passengers travelling through Edinburgh Airport are now able to browse beautiful woollen and knitwear products from scarves and hats, to blankets and gloves from House of Edinburgh, a branch of the Kiltane group.

This new retail venture with House of Edinburgh is the latest luxury mobile POD to open at the airport following the success of previous units for the Ryder Cup, Wizz Toys and Scottish Rugby.
Specialising in luxury cashmere, fine woollens and Scottish tweed, Kiltane operates a joint venture with Harris Tweed Hebrides and has the first stand-alone store outside of Stornoway.

Richard Townsend, Head of Retail and Property at Edinburgh Airport, said: “Having this adaptable retail unit gives us the opportunity to offer passengers a diverse range of different products and tie into the various events that happen in Scotland throughout the year.

“Luxury cashmere and Harris Tweed are incredibly popular and we identified that there was a gap for ladies and gents fashion and accessories in our departure lounge. We’re delighted to be working with House of Edinburgh to offer passengers something a bit different – and exclusive to our airport.

“We’re heading into the very busy summer season with millions of passengers travelling through the airport from all over the world. We have a number of new routes launching soon to America, Canada and the Middle East. We believe our House of Edinburgh POD offers customers beautiful traditional products which they can buy as a personal treat or a gift to take home for friends and relatives.”

Mark Keane, Managing Director of Kiltane, said: “House of Edinburgh is delighted to collaborate with Edinburgh Airport to launch this exciting new retail concept.
“Our exclusive retail POD will offer customers from all over the world the chance to browse and buy traditional Scottish products not available anywhere else.

“Everything available in our stores is designed in Scotland and all of the stock at the airport is exclusive to House of Edinburgh. We look forward to showcasing our extensive selection of products to passengers travelling through the airport over the coming months.”

In the first of its kind in Scotland, Edinburgh Airport will be leading a pioneering trial to introduce a new departure route from the airport to ensure capacity for the future of Scotland’s aviation industry.

Route map

From 25 June, Edinburgh Airport will begin its Airspace Trial supported by air traffic control providers NATS and in line with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidance. This trial will run for approximately six months and will introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route for certain aircraft taking off from the airport.

David Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “As we continue to see more passengers travel through our airport, it’s more important than ever to increase airspace capacity above Central Scotland to cater for this growth.
“At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st century.”

Introducing a new SID route will allow aircraft of a certain size to depart in one minute intervals – allowing the airport to encourage and maintain safe and sustainable growth whilst ensuring punctuality is unaffected.
The Airspace Trial will give more modern aircraft the opportunity to take off on a new westerly departure route. The aircraft likely to be using this route are B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s.
Edinburgh Airport’s new SID route will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, climbing above water before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft.

To ensure key groups and individuals are kept informed and engaged, Edinburgh Airport has created a dedicated microsite at sid.edinburghairport.com.
As well as explaining about the project, the site features an interactive map showing the exact SID route, estimated minimum altitudes aircraft will be flying at and what level of noise may be generated.

Sandy Legget, General Manager of NATS at Edinburgh, said: “A new departure route would enable sustainable and safe growth at Edinburgh Airport.
“NATS has supported the airport in preparing for this trial, ensuring the design delivers benefits for the airport and airlines and mindful of the airport’s commitment to its local communities.”
Colin Keir, MSP for Edinburgh Western and Convener of the Cross Party Group on Aviation at the Scottish Parliament, said: “I welcome this trial and hope it proves successful in upgrading and improving the flight departure routes.
“The need for this trial surely indicates the success of Edinburgh Airport as a business that is working hard to improve its services while keeping safety and sustainability to the forefront.”

The iconic Royal Highland Show has just released details on its impressive line up for this year’s 175th event, taking place from 18-21 June at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh. Featuring the very best of Scotland’s musical talent, there is a packed programme of music and entertainment across several dedicated stages throughout all four days of the Show.

Fresh from her success as Winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2015, Claire Hastings and her all female quartet, Top Floor Taivers, will be performing traditional and contemporary Scottish songs and tunes. Combining stunning vocals with piano, fiddle and clarsach the group performs unique arrangements of traditional folk songs and tunes as well as their own compositions.


Making their second appearance at the Show – and hot on the heels of their recent and highly successful Canadian tour – will be the hugely talented National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland. They will be joined by fellow young musicians representing Stirling’s Schools, the host area for this year’s Show

The Royal Highland Show would not be complete without the traditional drone and beat of the pipes and drums and this year it comes courtesy of The Royal Scots and Scots Guards Association. These pipe bands both have an impressive musical heritage going back several hundred years and their musicians are all ex-servicemen and women performing to the highest standard.

The traditional line up will also feature: the Royal British Legion Band performing classics, film music and show tunes; the Queen Victoria School Pipes, Drums and Dancers who are regulars at the Edinburgh and Basle Tattoos; Ceilidh Minogue, known for their performances on BBC Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations; and celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, the internationally acclaimed fiddle supergroup, Blazin Fiddles will be making their debut at this year’s Show.

The extremely popular Farmers and Farmers’ Wives Choir, under the direction of their conductor Kate Picken, will be returning after their successful 2014 Show to treat Showgoers to a performance filled with new songs.

As well as traditional music, this year’s Show also features a range of innovative performers: John Barker, one of the UK’s finest trumpeters, will bring his beautiful clear tone to a repertoire that ranges from classics to pop; Dick Lee, Scotland’s top clarinettist, will lead his multi-talented jazz band, the Dick Lee Swingtet, through the music of the greats ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Glen Millar and Billie Holiday; and there will also be a flavour of the East to this year’s Show too as Dance Ihaymmi, Scotland’s leading Indian dance company, will be showcasing their innovative dance pieces bringing with them a splash of colour.

Commenting on the musical line up, David Jackson, Show Manager says: “Scotland’s cultural heritage is an important element of the Royal Highland Show and music plays a huge part in this. Our line up this year reflects the very best of traditional, classic and contemporary music from Scotland and further afield, and there is really is something for everyone – all included in the cost of their ticket. We invite this year’s visitors to throw down their tartan rugs, tuck into our tasty treats and tap their toes to some first class musical entertainment”.
The Royal Highland Show is proudly supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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