Here are the business stories making the headlines across Scotland and the UK this morning.
House prices show further growth after pause in interest rate hikes, Nationwide says
House prices recorded a second month of growth in November, according to a closely-watched report.
The Nationwide House Price Index showed average values were 0.2% higher, building on the 0.9% increase it measured in October.
It meant, the mortgage lender said, that prices were 2% down on an annual basis - outperforming the expectations of economists in a poll for the Reuters news agency which had forecast a 2.5% decline.
The rolling 12 month measure stood at its strongest level since February.
Keep interest rates high or risk a return to 1970s inflation crisis, IMF warns
Central banks must keep interest rates high for at least another 12 months to fully conquer inflation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.
The Fund has urged central bankers to “pay the most attention” to the lessons of history, which suggest it takes “years to ‘resolve’ inflation by reducing it to the rate that prevailed before the initial shock”.
Economists Anil Ari and Lev Ratnovski warned in a report for the IMF: “Countries have historically celebrated victory over inflation and loosened policy prematurely in response to an initial decline in price pressures. This was a mistake because inflation soon returned.”
They cited Denmark, France, Greece and the US as among the countries which made this error in the 1970s when much of the world economy was hammered by oil price shocks.
Record revenues at UK gambling firms amid rise of online slot machines
Gambling firms are raking in more money than ever from UK punters, fuelled by a surge in the use of online slot machines, which the government is considering curbing due to their association with heavy losses and addiction.
The betting and gaming industry’s revenues reached £15.1bn in the year to March 2023, or £10.95bn excluding the National Lottery, figures from the Gambling Commission released on Thursday show.
The record high returns mark a bounceback for an industry that suffered a £1.5bn hit in the year most affected by Covid-19, due to the cancellation of sporting events and the enforced closure of betting shops.
In that period many punters switched from betting on sports to online casino games, and the figures indicate the trend has stuck.
We also use surge pricing for drinks, admits All Bar One owner
The boss of All Bar One and the Nicholson’s pub chains has admitted to charging more for drinks during busy times, claiming that so-called surge pricing is common practice in the industry.
Phil Urban, the chief executive of the chains’ parent company, Mitchells & Butlers, said the practice of charging higher prices during times of high demand has been around “forever and a day”.
Mr Urban said: “In our case, yes, we do it. It’s always been around in the industry, when the costs of operation for particular events are high, then sometimes people price accordingly.”
Surge pricing came to public attention in September when Stonegate, the UK’s largest pub chain, announced it would increase drinks prices at around 800 sites when footfall matches were on, charging customers as much as 20p more per pint at busy times.