Business Briefs - April 27

The price of oil is holding steady at a four and a half month high driven up by concerns over disruption to supplies from the Middle East.

Brent crude oil is at $65.37 per barrel and has gained around $9 since March.

A slowdown in US shale oil production and the conflict in Yemen have been cited as the main reasons for the rise in the oil price in recent weeks.

Edinburgh’s flagship year-round cultural venues are worth almost £200 million a year to the nation’s economy, a new study funded by Scottish Enterprise has found.

That equates to more than £500,000 every day.

Research commissioned for the first time into the value of the capital’s permanent arts infrastructure also found that it supports more than 5,100 jobs.

Some 6.2 million visitors were attracted into the capital’s main performing arts spaces, museums and galleries in 12 months, according to the study.

Call centre group Webhelp UK is creating about 400 jobs to effectively double the size of its operations in Dunoon and Kilmarnock.

The company has its UK headquarters in Larbert, near Falkirk, and already employs thousands of people across Scotland.

It said the latest expansion comes on the back of increasing demand for its services from blue-chip clients.

Current customers include Sky, EE, Vodafone, First Utility, Office Depot, Mobile by Sainsbury’s and Plusnet.

As many as 180 houses could be built in and around the Islay village of Bowmore after Argyll and Bute Council’s planning committee agreed Islay Estate’s strategic masterplan.

The plan identifies areas for the homes as well as 4.9acres for business development and a further area for community use.

Argyll Community Housing Association has already built 20 affordable flats as a first development phase, with a planning application being considered for 10 houses. Offices, tourist accommodation, retail and leisure facilities are planned.

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