The e-petition asking the Prime Minister to "Scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy" has now closed. This is a response from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
A major report, published today (Wednesday 21 February 2007), sets out the case for a review of the Crown Estate in Scotland so that the resources involved, including Scotland's seabed and much of its foreshore, produce greater benefits for local communities. The report - ~The Crown Estate in Scotland ~ New Opportunities for Public Benefits - has been produced by the Crown Estate Review Working Group, which consists of representatives of all six local authorities covering the Highlands and Islands as well as Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).
New laws come into effect later this year which mean that anyone who wants to run a gambling business in Scotland, including local betting shops, amusement arcades, bingo halls and casinos, must apply for a licence. The Gambling Commission will be responsible for licensing and regulating gambling in Britain under the Gambling Act 2005 which comes into force on 1 September 2007.
UNEMPLOYMENT DIGEST SUMMARY The January 2007 unemployment figures were released on 14th February 2007. During the month, December 2006 to January 2007, the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Great Britain rose by 4.6%, from 897,758 to 938,625 (40,867 claimants).
The Pulteneytown electoral ward has shown an increase over last month recording 64 males and 22 females registered as unemployed. This compares to the previous month of December when the figures were 57 Males and 22 Females.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Caithness and Sutherland are being urged to grasp a unique opportunity to help boost future company growth, by tapping into a ready-made resource based within UHI Millennium Institute that helps companies crystallise opportunities to move the business forward. This free service - a ground-breaking university-based initiative called HI Links, is a three-year project funded by a SEEKIT grant from the Scottish Executive, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and UHI.
UKAEA was fined £140,000 at Wick Sheriff Court today having plead guilty last week to four breaches of the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 between 1963 and 1984. UKAEA expects to announce in May the preferred option for the retrieval of radioactive particles from the environment around Dounreay.
Scrap metal from the strip-out of the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) secondary sodium circuit cells is being re-used by UKAEA at the T3uk purpose built trials centre at Janetstown, on the outskirts of Thurso. The redundant steel sections, once used to support pipework within the cells, were identified for re-use to assist with other Dounreay decommissioning projects.
DOUNREAY DIRECTOR NAMED AS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE Norman Harrison, currently acting chief operating officer of UKAEA, has been appointed its chief executive officer. A chemist by profession, he was appointed director of Dounreay in 2003.
Public Meeting Thursday 15th February at 6.00pm - Royal Hotel Public Exhibition Thursday 15th February from 2.00pm Options to agree the physical condition of the land that will be available after the Dounreay site has been decommissioned - the site end state - will be the subject of a public meeting. This will allow the Dounreay Stakeholder Group (DSG) to draft a recommendation for consideration by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
Highland councilors will be asked at a meeting of the Resources committee on 14th February 2007 in Inverness to approve the use of contractors who are registered with Constructionline, an Approved List register of assessed companies. See www.constructionline.co.uk Several councils and other public bodies in Scotland already require contractors and consultants in the construction industry to be registered with Constructionline as part of the pre-qualification requirements when applying for property-related construction tenders.
Norman Harrison, currently acting Chief Operating Officer for the UK Atomic Energy (UKAEA), has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 February 2007. Announcing the appointment, UKAEA Chairman Barbara Thomas Judge said: "I am delighted that Norman has been chosen as our new Chief Executive.
UKAEA pleaded guilty on 6 February 2007 at Wick Sheriff Court to four charges under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. The charges related to the disposal of radioactive waste to a landfill site at Dounreay between 1963 and 1975, and the release of particles from the site to the environment on dates between 1963 and 1984.
A golf enthusiast from Wick has been using his networking skills to help build a range of new contacts for future business. John Hunter owns and runs Hunter's Promotions Ltd, along with his wife Christine.
A new internet-based guide, accessible via the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website for people who trade online is being launched this week. It outlines the rules for people who trade online for a profit, as opposed to others who are just clearing low value items from the attic.
Customs officers investigating a suspected £250 million VAT missing trader fraud made 10 arrests this morning in UK-wide raids. Codenamed Operation Euripus, today's action follows a five year investigation, which included one of the biggest swoops ever undertaken by Customs.
The Centre for Transport Policy (CfTP) at The Robert Gordon University (RGU) is challenging members of the public to travel to work a different way for one day in February and record their experiences on camera. The project is being run as part of the Festival of Social Science, organised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), who have given £2000 funding towards the project.
The average hourly wage paid to UK workers is 26.5 euros (£17.40), more than a euro higher than the average eurozone total (25.2 euros/£16.55) and sixth in the list of the world's top payers according to a new report, the Global Sectors Outlook (December 2006) from Euler Hermes, the world's largest credit insurance group. Sweden heads the list of top payers, their employees earning an average of 32.8 euros (£21.53) an hour, closely followed by Denmark, (31.7 euros/£20.81), France (29.6 euros/£19.43) and Germany (28.1 euros/£18.45).
Commercial beef herds in Caithness and the Borders have claimed the top two places in the annual Bank of Scotland Aberdeen-Angus Suckler Herd of the Year awards. Overall winner is Hamish Pottinger, and sons, Michael and David, who run a 210-cow breeding and finishing enterprise at Greenland Mains, Thurso, Caithness, and runner-up - for the second time - Douglas Tweedie, whose 130-cow breeding and finishing enterprise is based at Middlethird, Gordon, Berwickshire.
Scotland's budding new business brains have just one week left to make it into a new million pound initiative which will help fund the country's next generation of entrepreneurs. The Starter for 6 project will build the enterprise skills of up to 300 new entrepreneurs over three years, working in Scotland across all business sectors.