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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Dundee gaming entrepreneur among Abertay honorary graduates

July 7 2017

Dundee gaming entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl has been named among Abertay University’s honorary graduates. He joined trauma expert Professor David Alexander and nursing expert Professor Laura Serrant in receiving honours in a ceremony at the Caird Hall yesterday, alongside 800 other graduates. Having co-founded Dundee-based 4J Studios, the firm which brought Minecraft to consoles around the world, Mr van der Kuyl has been instrumental in promoting Dundee as a worldwide gaming hub in recent years. His latest effort will see the city’s newest creative hub Water’s Edge open later this summer, a work space which will see around 300 people work within 11 offices at City Quay, and which also includes a 200-seater restaurant and bar. The Dundonian received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology from the university and in a speech spoke of the lure of Abertay’s gaming courses to budding developers around the world. A former student at the city’s other main further education hub, Dundee University, Mr van der Kuyl said: “Abertay is undoubtedly the best academic institution for computer games in the world and the best and the brightest students flock to the University in huge numbers,” he said. “Today’s graduates are graduating at an extraordinary time and in an extraordinary city. “We must now all make sure we not only sustain what we achieved so far, but strive to make it the best it can possibly be.” Head of Arts, Media and Computer Games, Professor Gregor White thanked Mr van der Kuyl for his “generosity and enthusiasm” which he said will benefit future generations for years to come. Emeritus Professor of Mental Health at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University, David Alexander, led the response to the Piper Alpha oil disaster in 1988, and has been an expert adviser following a number of major international incidents and conflicts. Professor of Nursing Laura Serrant is Professor of Nursing in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield’s Hallam University, and one of only six black professors of nursing in the UK. She has frequently found herself as the sole voice representing nurses and minority communities. As well as the honorary graduates, students from Dundee Business School and the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games joined others from the schools of Science, Engineering and Technology and Social and Health Sciences in receiving their various degrees. Speaking to the hundreds packed into the hall, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Seaton, urged them to grasp the opportunities lying before them. He said: “Abertay is a learning community, and you have all contributed to the learning of others, and to the richness of their lives. The challenges you have faced have been personal challenges, and your achievements are your own.”


Game designer to receive honorary degree

June 27 2017

Dundee game designer Chris van der Kuyl will be honoured by Abertay University next week. The 4J Studios chair and Minecraft supremo will receive an honorary degree on Thursday July 6. Mr van der Kuyl is set to open Dundee's newest creative hub, Water's Edge, later this summer. Also receiving honorary degrees from Abertay are Emeritus Professor of Mental Health David Alexander and Professor of Nursing Laura Serrant. David Alexander is Emeritus Professor of Mental Health at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University. Mr Alexander has studied at a range of institutions including Dundee University and the FBI Academy. Having led the response to the Piper Alpha oil disaster in 1988, he has been an expert adviser following a number of major international incidents and conflicts. Professor Laura Serrant is Professor of Nursing in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield's Hallam University, one of only six black professors of nursing in the UK. Professor Serrant has frequently found herself as the sole voice representing nurses and minority communities. She is one of the 2017 BBC Expert women, chair of the chief nursing officer for England's BME Strategic Advisory group and a 2017 Florence Nightingale Scholar. Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said the honorary graduates had been chosen for excellence in their respective fields. He added: "Through their outstanding achievements, and by their personal qualities, our honorary graduates represent the values of Abertay University, and are hugely inspiring role models to our students. "I look forward to welcoming all of our honorary graduates to this year’s ceremony." Around 800 students from the schools of Arts, Media and Computer Games; Science Engineering and Technology; Social and Health Sciences, and Dundee Business School will graduate this year.          


Independence campaign says families hundreds of pounds worse off under UK austerity

June 11 2013

People in east central Scotland are a combined £255 million worse off under UK austerity measures, Yes Scotland has claimed. The pro-independence campaign group used research by professors Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill of Sheffield Hallam University, which uses figures in the Westminster Budget and Autumn Statement to project the regional and UK-wide impact of cuts to welfare spending. Yes Scotland claims this translates as every person in Angus being on average £414 worse off under the schemes, with people in Clackmannanshire hit by £550 per head, Dundee £595, Fife £480 and Perth and Kinross an average of £382 per person. Chief executive Blair Jenkins said: “This is one of the reasons why we need the full powers of independence. These cuts, which only prolong the economic slump and which even the IMF has condemned, would never have been imposed if Scotland had full control over its own spending.” Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has said a future Labour Government would continue coalition austerity spending if elected in 2015. Citing a leaked cabinet paper by Finance Secretary John Swinney, which talked about welfare “volatility” in the event of independence, a spokesman for Better Together said: “What the SNP say in public about welfare is very different from what they say in private.”

Business news

Golfers’ UK economic impact worth billions, R&A-funded report shows

March 22 2016

Golfers in the United Kingdom spent £4.3 billion on their sport in 2014, accounting for 14% of all consumer spending on sport, according to a report funded by The R&A. Golf also paid £990 million in taxes to the Government, said the independent study by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC). More than half of consumer spending on golf, £2.2bn, was channelled through the UK’s near 3,000 golf clubs. Meanwhile, golf equipment and clothing accounted for £939m of consumer expenditure, and golf-related tourism, events and accommodation a further £775m. The report highlighted that the golf industry in the UK employs 74,480 people, with one-third employed directly by golf clubs in Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Golf’s gross value added (GVA), the wages and profits measure of economic activity, is calculated at £2bn, or 7% of GVA attributed to all sport in the UK. After accounting for indirect and induced economic impact effects, the turnover of the UK golf industry is estimated at £10.3bn for 2014. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said: “Golf is the first sport in the UK to evaluate its contribution to economic development in line with the Government’s ‘Sporting Future’ strategy, and these findings give us an important economic baseline for the golf industry against which we can measure future growth. “There is plenty of room for optimism that golf can maintain and develop its position as one of the most popular sports in the UK, particularly in the year when it makes its return to the Olympic Games in Rio.”

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

British supercar industry set to boom as McLaren invests

February 18 2017

McLaren is set to build a new chassis manufacturing and development facility that will be based close to the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. The new Composites Technology Centre will be built with support from Sheffield City Council and the AMRC through a combined investment of £50 million, and is tipped to create 200 new jobs. It will form the base from which McLaren develops and manufactures its Monocell and Monocage carbon-fibre chassis for future cars. Advanced automated manufacturing techniques developed with the AMRC will be used to build the next-generation Monocell. Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive, said: “In 1981, McLaren was the first company to recognise the exceptional properties of carbon fibre, and we have designed the highly-technical material to be at the heart of every McLaren road and racing car ever since. “The now-iconic McLaren F1 was the world’s first road car to be built with a carbon-fibre chassis and every car built more recently by McLaren Automotive has the same. Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon-fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step. “We evaluated several options to achieve this objective, but the opportunity created by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield was compelling. At the AMRC, we will have access to some of the world’s finest composites and materials research capabilities, and I look forward to building a world-class facility and talented team at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre.” Construction will begin early this year, with the first pre-production carbon-fibre chassis expected to be delivered to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking in the second half of 2017. It is hoped the new facility will bring cost savings of roughly £10 million when compared with current costs, and add £100 million to the local economy by 2028.


Dundee among areas to be hit hardest by welfare reforms

April 11 2013

Scotland’s most deprived areas including Dundee will take the biggest financial hit from Westminster welfare reforms, according to a report published today. Research by Professor Christina Beatty and Professor Steve Fothergill, of Sheffield Hallam University, estimated the changes will take more than £1.6 billion a year out of the Scottish economy by 2014/15. That is equivalent to around £480 a year for every working age adult. Dundee is the third worst hit in the country, according to the report compiled for the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, with an average loss of £58 million per year, or £600 per working aged adult. Only Glasgow and Inverclyde will lose more money. Committee convener Michael McMahon MSP said: “We have been hearing during the past year people’s concerns about the reform and to see these numbers in black and white demonstrates just how bleak the picture is.” The research focused on adults of working age as it identified them as the group most affected by welfare reforms. Its conclusion about how much money will be lost from the economy is considerably higher than previous estimates as it takes into account changes to incapacity benefits, tax credits and child benefit. It shows that although child benefit changes affect the largest number of households, the largest financial impact is on those in receipt of incapacity benefits £500m a year and Disability Living Allowance. Overall, the impact in Scotland is roughly in line with the UK as a whole. The north of England and Wales will see bigger losses than north of the border, according to the report. Fife is expected to lose out on £30m per year, or £480 per working aged adult, with Angus £30m or £410 per head. People of working age in Perth and Kinross and Stirling can expect to be on average £380 worse off, as the local authorities lose out by £36m and £22m respectively. Professor Fothergill said: “It is important that the impact on different places is fully exposed because this is a key dimension that is too often overlooked. “The impact on different places is also one of the yardsticks by which the reforms should be judged.” A Government spokesman said:“Around nine out of ten working households will be better off by on average almost £300 a year as a result of changes to the tax and welfare system this month. Raising the personal allowance to £10,000 will have lifted 224,000 people out of income tax in Scotland since 2010. “Our welfare reforms, including reassessing people on Incapacity Benefit, will help people back into work which will benefit the economy more than simply abandoning them to claim benefits year after year. These changes are essential to keep the benefits bill sustainable, so that we can continue to support people when they need it most across the UK.”

UK politics

Former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg loses seat

June 9 2017

Former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has lost his seat to a Labour candidate. The one-time leader of the Liberal Democrat party was beaten by Jared O’Mara in the battle for the Sheffield Hallam constituency. Mr Clegg held the seat since 2005. Follow our General Election live blog by clicking here.    


Welfare Reform to cost city economy £100 million annually

February 8 2017

The UK Government's welfare reforms will cost Dundee's economy almost £100 million annually by 2021, according to a report on welfare reform impact. A report published by the Scottish Government, conducted by Sheffield Hallam University in 2013, estimated the impact of welfare reform on the city's economy annually would be £58 million. Subsequently, another report compiled by the university to the Scottish Government's social security scrutiny committee in 2016 has revealed an additional loss of £36 million to the city's economy – resulting in an estimated annual loss of £94m by 2021. Additional changes to Universal Credit, brought in by the election of the Conservative Government in 2015, are identified in the report as the reason for the increase. The council's policy and resources committee will hear on Monday how the authority are trying to mitigate the impact of the move to Universal Credit in a series of support measures. Councillors will also hear how the welfare reforms will have implications in terms of increased debt, potential increases in homelessness and demand for advice services from various organisations and the voluntary sector. Depute policy and resources convener Councillor Willie Sawers said the report was one of the most "harrowing" the council has had to produce. He said: "This report lays bare the cost of the UK Government’s welfare reform to the poor and vulnerable across our city." "The council is working hard to help individuals and I am pleased to see how various measures like the Scottish Welfare Fund are helping to mitigate the situation for some people. "I look forward to the Scottish Government having greater control of welfare powers as this will make a significant contribution to improving the situation. "As a council, we are working very hard with our partners and promoting innovative methods with technology to help people make the most of what is available to them." The full Universal Credit service is expected to be introduced in Dundee this November. Introducing Universal Credit and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to the Personal  Independence Payment (PIP), as well as Concentrix tax credit problems people experienced in the summer, is being blamed on the increasing number of Dundee residents needing to use foodbanks. A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: "Our welfare reforms are incentivising work and ensuring we have a system which is fair to those who use and those who pay for it. In Scotland there are near record numbers of people in jobs and unemployment has fallen by 12,000 in the last year. "Under Universal Credit, people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the previous system, and by the end of this parliament we will have given local authorities over £1billion in extra funding to help local people adjust to our reforms."