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The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

Exam results show ongoing positive trend in D&G

The results of SQA [Scottish Qualifications Authority] exams were delivered to pupils on Tuesday, August 6th 2019.

3,253 young people at Dumfries and Galloway schools sat national qualifications in a wide range of subjects and levels.

The overall results, from National 3 to Advanced Higher, show an ongoing positive trend over a 5-year period.

Achievement in the senior phase is now looked at over a 3-year period [S4 to S6] with achievement at point of exit being a key performance indicator.

Councillor Jeff Leaver, chair of the Education and Learning committee, said: “This year’s results present a positive picture of increased attainment for our school leavers. 31% of young people across our region are leaving S6 with 5 or more qualifications at SCQF level 6 [Higher]; 46% with 3 or more; and 65% with 1 or more. This, along with an increasing range of pathways to progress offered by the Broad General Education, provides opportunities for young people to undertake different ways to learn and achieve qualifications, demonstrates the positive learning environment in our schools.”

Councillor Ros Surtees, vice chair, said: “Education improves life chances for children, opens doors, enables young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors to our society. We are determined to improve standards in education and close the attainment gap. These results show that we are making progress in Dumfries and Galloway. Well done to our pupils, parents/carers, and school staff for their work and commitment to achieve these results.”

MSP WELCOMES LOCAL RURAL CRIME PARTNERSHIP AS RURAL CRIME INCREASES

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the establishment of a new Dumfries and Galloway partnership aimed at tackling Rural Crime, which was launched at the Dumfries and Lockerbie Agricultural Show on Saturday 3rd August.

 

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The launch of the partnership comes as the Rural Crime Report 2019 published by NFU Mutual shows that the cost of rural crime in Scotland has increased by 62%.

According to the report the cost of rural crime in 2018 across Scotland amounted to £1.6million, up from £1million in 2017.

The new D&G Partnership Against Rural Crime will bring together partners including the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), Dumfries and Galloway Council, Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Land and Estates to help tackle the increase in rural crime experienced locally.

Colin Smyth said, “Rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway are often viewed as easy targets by criminals hoping to literally move in the dark, hoping that the rurality will make it easier to rob individuals and businesses. The figures in the Crime Report show that rural crime is on the rise in Scotland which is why it essential that action is taken. I therefore welcome the launch of the Dumfries and Galloway Partnership Against Rural Crime which brings together agencies to step up prevention methods and to share intelligence to catch those criminals who plague our rural communities.”

SCOTTISH BUSINESS CONFIDENCE DIPS

Bank of Scotland’s Business Barometer for July 2019 shows:

  • Overall confidence for firms in Scotland fell 17 points in the past month to zero per cent
  • Firms’ confidence in their own business prospects was six per cent, compared with 32 per cent in June

Business confidence in Scotland fell 17 points during July to zero per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking.

Companies in Scotland reported lower confidence in their business prospects, which fell 26 points to six per cent. When taken together with their views on the economy overall, this gave an overall confidence of zero per cent.

Across the UK, overall confidence was steady in July at 13 per cent, in line with the average this year, but below the long term average of 24 per cent. Trading prospects for the year ahead fell by 3 points to 19 per cent, but economic optimism rose 1 point to 6 per cent. Employment expectations rose by 1 point to 12 per cent, when looking at the UK as a whole. 

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

Fraser Sime, regional director at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “Current political and economic uncertainties are clearly at the forefront of Scottish businesses’ minds.

“Whatever lies ahead for businesses, we are by their side to support their growth ambitions.

“We’ve pledged to lend up to £1.6 billion to support Scottish firms this year, which we hope will allow them to hire more people, set their sights on expansion, and ultimately succeed.”

Across Scotland, a net balance of 25 per cent of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, down four points on a month ago.

Elsewhere in the UK

Businesses in the South West were the most confident, at 29 per cent, ahead of the East Midlands (26 per cent) and West Midlands (19 per cent).

Those in Scotland were the least confident, with an overall confidence of zero per cent, 13 points below the national average. Confidence also fell significantly in the North West, down 17 points to 3 per cent. Yorkshire & the Humber (up 1 point to 6 per cent) and the South East (down 10 points to 4 per cent) made up the bottom four.

Sector snapshot

Manufacturing was the most upbeat sector, with overall confidence rising nine points to 19 per cent and overtaking retail, which fell five points to 17 per cent. Overall confidence among services businesses was unchanged at 12 per cent, but construction dropped 11 points to six, the sector’s lowest reading in more than 18 months.

Paul Gordon, Managing Director for SME and Mid Corporates, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The UK manufacturing sector may have been boosted by the truce in the trade war between China and the USA, which hopefully marks an upturn for this sector and could paint a more optimistic outlook for coming months but broader political uncertainty is expected to weigh on the outlook.

“The fact that business confidence has been boosted in the South West and East Midlands with confidence up 21 points and 18 points respectively could be a sign of an upturn, but we will need to wait and see what the coming months bring. It is certainly a continued indication of the UK’s business resilience.”

 

Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It is promising to see national confidence levels continuing to beat the dip seen in February despite business confidence remaining below the long-term average and overall business confidence remaining unchanged this month.

“Coupled with this, employment expectations still remain largely unchanged from last month, with only one-third of firms planning to increase their staff levels, compared with more than 40 per cent of firms last year, suggesting cautious business behaviour in the current economic environment.”

More Choice on the Dial?

More choice could soon be appeareing on your Digital Radio dial following the news that WestSound and CFM Radio owner Bauer Media has announced its intention to make a local DAB application to Ofcom following their recent advertisement of DAB digital radio multiplex licences for the Morecambe Bay, North and West Cumbria and Southwest Scotland areas through their Bauer Digital Radio service.

Bauer Digital is one of the largest operators of local digital radio multiplexes in the UK, operating DAB multiplexes across Scotland, the North of England and in Northern Ireland. Parent company Bauer Radio is also a joint venture DAB multiplex partner with Global in London, Birmingham and Manchester and also recently acquired interests in the MuxCo network of multiplexes.

Grae Allan, Bauer Digital’s DAB Radio Director says: “Digital Radio listening has expanded significantly in recent years. DAB multiplexes provide the lion’s share of digital listening across the UK, so we’re excited that Ofcom has now advertised local DAB licences for the Cumbria area, and that BDR will be making an application”.

The BDR application to Ofcom will provide an opportunity for a wide variety of current or new radio stations to get on-air on the first local DAB services to become available in the area.

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Get Ready to Taste the Flavours of D&G

DG Chamber, Developing the Young Workforce (D&G), Food and Drink Federation (Scotland), The Dumfries and Galloway Food and Drink Sector Forum and Skills Development Scotland are delighted to announce a special day - ‘The Flavours of D&G’

 

 

Held at the Bridge, Glasgow Road, Dumfries, DG2 0AW on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th, this free event is a celebration of our businesses and the thriving food and drink sector in Dumfries and Galloway. 

This event is  part of  Scotland’s Food and Drink fortnight, a 2 week celebration of this fantastic industry.   

The day is a great opportunity to promote several different aspects of our regions sector: awareness to the general public of the many businesses and organisations, the importance of the sector to the region and it’s economic contribution and platform, exactly what they do  and also how they do it and to also illustrate the future career opportunities for our regions young people.  There are currently Foundation Apprenticeships available in Food and Drink Science, Technology and Engineering and we are looking to inform young people as well as the adults around them as to exactly what these careers actually are.

The day involves several elements and we would like to extend an open invitation to all to get involved in whatever capacity they can. 

  1. A marketplace where local businesses can have a stall and present and sell themselves and their goods to visitors.
  2. Masterclass workshops where businesses/organisations can present activities where young people especially can participate in understanding more about the industry and the business (activities to be presented regularly throughout the day)
  3. ‘Live’ Presentations – an opportunity for businesses to present showcasing themselves and their product to customers, eg cookery workshops

 

For more information and to book, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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