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  By Stefan Bienkowski
 
Scotland's economic recovery is well and truly underway with businesses reporting higher levels of confidence and optimism in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period twelve months ago.
 
In its quarterly business survey published today, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce(SCC) stated that all sectors had reported back with higher levels of confidence in Q1 of 2014, whilst construction, wholesale, retail and tourism saw continued growth.

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  Employment levels in Scotland are at their highest since records began with 2,575,000 people over 16 now employed, according to labour market figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
 
The employment level is now 13,000 above its pre-recession peak of 2,562,000 in 2008.  According to the latest statistics, 2.575m people over 16 – 13,000 more than the previous record pre-recession - are now in employment.

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  By Martin Kelly

An academic think tank has today claimed that the pound is not an asset that can be 'shared' following a Yes vote, but has said that a newly independent Scotland free from UK debt will benefit to the tune of billions of pounds. 

In its latest report on the financial status of an independent Scotland, the Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR) has claimed that the Scottish Government's argument that sterling is an asset jointly owned by Scotland, is "flawed" and that the value of the currency is purely symbolic.

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  By Sean Martin
 
The world must move away from carbon-intensive fuels and aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions if it is to avert the more serious consequences of climate change, a United Nations report has warned.
 
Revealing a contradiction between Conservative party policy – in particular its plan to cease further construction of onshore wind farms – and leading scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said there should be a conscious move towards renewables rather than away from them.

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  By Russell Bruce
 
The Scottish Purchasing Mangers’ Index (PMI) produced by Markit Economics for the Bank of Scotland shows sustained and strong growth in the private sector for March.  Building on solid figures in the January and February reports, the March results end the first quarter of 2014 on a very positive note.
 
The service sector inflow of new business is now running at 19 months of continuous growth. New business levels are clearly adding to growth in overall business activity in the service sector running at 39 months of continuous growth. The number of service businesses reporting higher business activity throughout the first quarter of 2104 ends with March on a high of +22.5% (January +5.2%, February +20.1%).

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  By Sean Martin
 
Top finance experts including the author of the McCrone Report are to appear in front of a Holyrood Committee in order to answer questions on the future of Scotland's public finances.
 
Throughout the next three months, the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee will hear analysis and opinion of the country's financial outlook post-2014 from renowned experts including Professor Gavin McCrone, who wrote the now infamous report into Scotland's oil revenue capabilities in 1974, Professor Jo Armstrong of the University of Glasgow's Centre for Public Policy for Regions, and Professor Andrew Hughes-Hallett of the Fiscal Commission Working Group.

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  By Sean Martin
 
UK Government attempts to freeze Scotland out of a European Commission investigation into the funding of a new nuclear power plant proves it has something to hide, the SNP has said.
 
Westminster had moved to block Scottish Government Ministers from taking part in the EC inquiry into the UK Government's plans to subsidise an EDF power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

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