Here are the business stories making the headlines locally and across the country this morning.

Scottish government budget passes final vote

The Scottish government's budget has passed its final vote at Holyrood.

Finance Secretary Shona Robison said her £59.7bn spending plans would protect frontline services and include funding for a council tax freeze.

Extra revenue will be raised by new 45% and 48% income tax rates for higher earners, which were voted on last week.

But opposition parties warned the measures could harm economic growth and they criticised cuts for affordable housing.

The budget was passed by 68 votes to 55 with one abstention.

Revealed: Council’s failed bid to cover Aberdeen M&S in greenery as ‘living wall’

The woman responsible for leading Aberdeen’s city centre masterplan has revealed her struggles to get M&S bosses to invest in their ageing flagship.

And Marie Boulton revealed that, if she had her way, the front of the store would have been transformed into an eco-friendly “living wall”.

The Independent councillor was at the forefront of the multi-million-pound masterplan scheme since it began in 2015 until quitting in late 2021.

Her job was to brainstorm ways to regenerate the struggling city centre.

But the Lower Deeside representative regrets that, during her six years in the high-profile role, she failed to persuade M&S chiefs to see a viable future in the traditional St Nicholas Street shop.

Asda loses out in battle for supermarket shoppers in new blow for Issa brothers

Asda is losing out in the battle for supermarket shoppers, new figures reveal, piling fresh pressure on its billionaire owners as they struggle to cut costs.

The grocer is lagging all its major rivals on sales growth, this month’s Kantar figures showed, with sales up just 1.9% on the year despite inflation pushing prices up across supermarkets.

Across the grocery sector as a whole, sales were 5.1% higher in the 12 weeks to Feb 19 versus the same period last year, with Tesco recording 6.2% growth and Sainsbury’s 7.6%. Only Co-op performed worse than Asda in the latest period.

It means that Asda’s share of the grocery market has slipped to 13.8% from 14.3% this time last year. The supermarket had held a 14.8% share of the grocery market when brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa and TDR Capital completed their takeover of Asda in early 2021.

Aberdeen brewer Fierce Beer to launch new £100,000 crowdfunding campaign

Aberdeen craft beer brand Fierce Beer is to launch a new £100,000 crowdfunding campaign.

The Dyce-based brewer wants to use the cash to “go green” by becoming more sustainable, efficient and slash CO2 emissions.

Starting on Friday supporters will have the option to invest in one of six different tiers and receive 1.5 times their pledge in credit.

All supporters will also be entitled to a 10% discount for life and will receive a Fierce Card.

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