Business Briefs - May 11

Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC, has announced plans to pump more money into Scotland’s small and medium-sized enterprise sector.

The lender said that it is increasing the size of its loan fund for SMEs from £300m to £400m this year.

The bank said to help SMEs capitalise on favourable economic conditions, it will waive or refund its arrangement and security fees on qualifying business loans through to the end of July.

Head of UK commercial banking Ian Stuart said: “Removing fees from our business loans could save hundreds of pounds for the average firm”.

HSBC said the vast bulk of the preceding £300m had been allocated but did not disclose how many firms had benefited.

A Glasgow pensioner who bet £30,000 on a Conservative majority in the General Election has still not showed up to claim his winnings, according to the bookmakers where he made his punt that bagged him £240,000.

Ladbrokes said there has been no sign of the customer since he placed the fateful wager at odds of 7/1 in a branch in the city centre on April 29.

The bookmaker has appealed for the man to come forward to pick up his prize.

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: “There’s still no sign of our record-breaking election forecaster following on from his incredible political prediction.

“While there’s never a time limit to collect any winning bet, we thought he’d have made a beeline for us as soon as the result was confirmed.

“Again, we’d like to congratulate him on his win. He’s shown pollsters and pundits up and down the land the way to do it.”

Dundee looks set to win the race to build Scotland’s first major purpose-built film studio after developer Studio City Scotland announced it is going ahead with plans to develop a £120 million studio and entertainment complex in the city.

The consortium of developers have settled on a site next to Claverhouse Industrial Park in the north-west of Dundee and have already begun the formal planning consultations for the complex.

Members of the consortium said discussions have already taken place with Dundee City Councilabout the project, which would be entirely privately funded.

 

Savers have just days left to snap up the market-leading pensioner bonds which offer up to 4 per cent interest.

The deals went on sale on January 15 and has already proved hugely popular, with £10 billion worth of bonds being snapped up by 825,000 people in the first eight weeks they were launched.

Savers need to be aged 65 years old or over to take out the bonds, which are available through National Savings and Investments (NS&I) and will close for sale this week.

Customers can buy the 65-plus Guaranteed Growth Bonds online or over the phone up to 11.59pm on Friday.

People can also buy the bonds by post but applications made this way must be received by Friday or they will not be processed.

NS&I recommends that people allow plenty of time to get their postal applications in.

Energy firm IGas has announced plans to shed more than a quarter of its workforce and close an office in Stirling.

The company, which employs about 200 people, said it was taking the step in response to the lower price of oil.

IGas is based in London but runs operations at a number of onshore locations in the UK, including Lybster in Caithness.

The company has not specified how many jobs will go north of the border.

Craft bakery and family owned business McGhees Family Bakers of Glasgow has been announced as the Scottish Baker of the Year 2015.

The award was announced by Mich Turner MBE, owner of Award winning Little Venice Cake Company and Judge on ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery, at a glittering ceremony hosted by Scottish Bakers, the association that supports and promotes the interests of Scottish Bakers across the country.

McGhees were also recognised on the night as ‘The Best Wholesale Baker of the Year’ and ‘Best in Scotland’ for its Morning Roll.

The business also received a Special Bronze award for its potato scone.

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