Here are the business stories making the headlines across Scotland and the UK this morning.

Yousaf set to double council tax on holiday and second home

People who own holiday homes in Scotland face seeing their council tax bills soar under under plans to be announced today by First Minister Humza Yousaf.

The proposal to raise the levy by up to 100% on second and empty properties from next April will be be included in a consultation exercise aimed at tackling housing shortages, particularly in rural areas.

Plans to then charge more than double the rate in future years are also included in the consultation, according to The Times.

The additional charges are likely to be applied to any holiday homes or empty properties that are not rented out on a long-term basis and are not someone’s main residence.

Closure of Aberdeen libraries and pool 'may be unlawful'

The closure of Aberdeen libraries and a city swimming pool may be unlawful, campaigners have been told.

Aberdeen City Council announced the closure of six libraries last month following the passing of the SNP/Lib Dem administration's budget. Bucksburn Swimming Pool is also set to close.

Campaigners met with legal representatives last week, and have told the BBC they could now seek a judicial review.

Libraries in Woodside, Ferryhill, Cults, Cornhill, Kaimhill and Northfield have closed as part of moves by the council to make £47m worth of savings.

ScotRail spent £200k on taxis to replace cancelled services in 10 months

ScotRail bosses have forked out more than £200,000 on taxis for travellers after train services including nearly £800 to send a taxi from Wick to Inverness, figures show.

Data obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and published in today's P&J, reveals that on one occasion, the publicly-owned rail operator spent £798.30 to send an eight-seat taxi from Wick to Inverness, with the vehicle stopping at all train stations in between.

In July 2022, ScotRail’s taxi bill amounted to £29,845.38, with private hires used 230 times.

Transport Minister Kevin Stewart stressed: “Overall, these figures represent a very small number of the passengers carried at any given time – in this case less than 0.004% (2164) of over 58 million journeys between April 2022 and the start of March 2023.”

Greener flights will cost more, says industry

The cost of decarbonising air travel is likely to push up ticket prices and put some off flying, a group representing the UK aviation industry says.

Measures such as moving to higher-cost sustainable aviation fuel will "inevitably reduce passenger demand", according to Sustainable Aviation.

But it found people will "still want to fly" despite "slightly higher costs".

Annual passenger numbers are still expected to rise by nearly 250 million by 2050, the BBC said.

Protected marine areas will lead to job losses, warns fishing industry

Fish industry representatives have expressed “grave concerns” over plans to ban marine activity in Scottish waters, according to The Times.

Salmon Scotland said the introduction of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), which would ban fishing in certain zones, would lead to “significant” job losses. They say the proposal has political motivations.

The trade body is the latest to protest against SNP-Green coalition plans to prohibit human activity in 10% of Scotland’s seas, including a block on fishing, aquaculture, oil and gas exploration, commercial seaweed harvesting and offshore wind turbines.

Donald Trump NFTs net former president up to $1m

Donald Trump may have made as much as $1 million from digital artworks featuring the former president in a series of heroic guises.

Trump launched the digital artworks, known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, in December, for $99 each. They depict him in a series of poses including a superhero, astronaut and sheriff.

One shows him in a space suit wearing sunglasses and another shooting lasers from his eyes, CNBC said. NFTs are unique digital items that cannot be copied, substituted or subdivided, and are recorded in a blockchain, broadly using the same technology as cryptocurrencies.

Downing Street business group is axed

Rishi Sunak is set to scrap Boris Johnson's flagship business council amid growing concerns from senior executives that Downing Street is turning its back on the private sector.

The council – made up of a string of blue chip leaders and intended to provide “frank feedback” on policy decisions – last met in February and has become increasingly irrelevant, sources told The Telegraph.

The decision to abolish it has fuelled fears that the Prime Minister and Chancellor are ignoring businesses' concerns over rising taxes and red tape.

Don’t use ChatGPT to apply for our jobs, bank warns candidates

Monzo has warned candidates not to use ChatGPT when applying for jobs at the challenger bank, as fears grow that the software could trigger widespread cheating.

The fintech company told prospective employees that they will be disqualified if they use the AI chatbot to fill out their job applications, in the latest sign of concerns about the writing tool.

Monzo has added an unusual disclaimer to its job advertisements in recent weeks which says: “You should submit your own application without help from other sources e.g Others/ChatGPT any applications whereby external support has been provided will be disqualified.”

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