The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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


Former Pinney's Site to Reopen Under New Owners

More than 100 jobs are set to be created at the former Pinneys of Scotland plant in Annan, the Scottish Government has announced.

The factory in Dumfries and Galloway has been purchased by food processing company Bhagat Holdings Limited which said production would begin in the autumn.

The area was left devastated when it was announced last year that the Pinneys of Scotland factory was being closed by parent company Young's.

New owners Bhagat said the company is investing £9 million of capital funding at the site.

It plans to create an initial 120 jobs and said there is the potential for more in the future.

The Scottish Government, through Scottish Enterprise, has invested £1.7 million through a Regional Selective Assistance grant to support the company to expand its European interests to Scotland.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: "This is great news for the people of Annan, and for the South of Scotland more generally.

"I'm delighted that an international company like Bhagat Holdings has chosen to invest in Scotland, with the immediate creation of a significant number of jobs, which will make a real difference to local people and the local economy.

"When Young's closed last summer, I said that we would leave no stone unturned and we would keep working to find a solution and an alternative use for this site.

"That hard work has now paid off and it is Annan and the local community and families who will benefit."

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Cllr Elaine Murray said: "I am very pleased with this announcement and hope it signals an upturn in the region's economy, following the closure of Pinneys last year.

"We welcome Bhagat Holdings to our region and wish them well in the future."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said:

“The re-opening of the former Pinneys factory and creation of 120 jobs is very welcome news for Annan and the surrounding area. Pinneys closure last year hit hard. I saw first-hand the tremendous efforts partners, workers and the whole community made to try and save the site.

“I welcome Bhagat Holdings Limited’s arrival and plans to start production in the autumn – with the prospect of even more jobs being created in the future.

“It’s a double boost for the Borderlands coming just a few days after the UK and Scottish governments announced £345 million funding to drive economic growth in the region by helping existing business, encouraging new ventures and bringing a wealth of improvements to people who live and work here.”

Local Labour MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the sale of the former Pinneys site on Stapleton Road, Annan but has reiterated his call for a £10 million Economic Action Plan for the town.

The sale of the site to international firm Atlantis Pak is set to be announced in Annan on Monday 18th March. The firm is expected to create jobs at the site. However, it is unlikely that the number of workers employed by Atlantis Pak will match the numbers previously employed by Young’s Seafood.

The Pinneys of Annan factory was owned by Young’s Seafood, but it closed its doors in August last year. Approximately 450 direct posts and hundreds more agency and seasonal posts were also lost as a result of the closure.

Colin Smyth has previously called on the Scottish and UK Governments to be ready to invest up to £10 million in an Economic Action Plan.

Colin Smyth said, “The news that a buyer has been found for the Pinneys factory at long last will be welcomed by the community and the hope will be that the new owners can grow the workforce once more. However, the number of posts being created initially will be a fraction of the jobs lost at Pinneys. There is still an urgent need for the UK and Scottish Government to properly invest in the local economy and that’s why I have renewed my call for a £10 million Economic Action Plan for Annan.

The tragedy of the closure of Pinneys was the fact there simply weren’t enough alternative jobs in the area when the economic tsunami of its closure hit Annan. The closure meant people having to move away or travel long distances to find work. More needs to be done to grow existing businesses and attract new ones to the area so we don’t have to rely so heavily again on a very small number of big employers.”

New Radio Station POP’s up to help promote Young Enterprise Business.

Stranraer Young Enterprise Team 'Moments' know that it's music that helps to create those magic times, those moments of your life that you remember forever.

The Young Enterprise team from Stranraer Academy merged music and time seamlessly with their beautiful vinyl clocks, produced from classic 12' records.

Following a successful festive trading period, Managing Director Sophie Thomson and team were looking for a unique way to continue to promote the business and to reach a new audience to generate sales of their clocks when they had the idea to create their own POP-UP on-line radio station playing some of the best music from the past 40 years, where they could also promote their clocks through radio advertising. 

"Our clocks make fantastic gifts for any occasion, birthday, anniversary, we even made some special valentine day clocks – they look great in home’s offices and studies. We’ve created 4 designs and we’re sure that there’s something for everyone, you can purchase a clock by getting in touch through our facebook page or by calling 07843 837157.

We thought that Moments Radio would allow us to help create more memories with some of the greatest musical tracks of all time. We’ve been really lucky that there are some great local businesses that have been able to support us to set up this pop-up station.

Anyone can listen to us by visiting our facebook page and clicking on the 'listen live' link, by visiting or by downloading the NOBEX RADIO app from Google Play or the iStore and searching for Moments Radio."

Moments Radio plays general music through the day with the Airplay40 Chart, Sunday afternoon from 4pm, Dave MacFarlaine hosts The Positive Spin Breakfast Show, Monday to Friday 7-9am, Spencer James asks can you guess the year in the Airplay40 Rewind weekdays from 10am while rock fans are also catered for with Dominic Forbes ROCK TALK weeknights from 10pm."

The station will be running until May 1st 2019.

Council Leader Issues Open Letter Over Budget

Following last weeks Council Budget announcement, Leader of the Council Elaine Murray has written an open letter explaining some of what happened before and after the announcement.


Dear Editor

On 25th September 2018 Dumfries and Galloway agreed the recommendations of a paper by the Chief Executive on modernising the council. The included agreement on the timetable of the budget, and that proposed final budgets required to be consulted on by the Section 95 officer 5 days before Full Council and published on 26th February. I applied the agreed procedure in chairing last week’s budget meeting. Only two proposals had been submitted by 26th February, the administration’s and Councillor Scobie’s, which he later withdrew, therefore there was only one budget proposal to debate. That was our agreed procedure.


The Conservative group had the same opportunities as the administration  to bring forward a budget by the required date. They received the transformation board proposals at the same time as the administration, and they could easily have asked the Council’s chief officers to produce papers based on a across the board cut across directorates, as we did. For whatever reason, they chose not to do so. Instead, they responded after the budget by issuing a wish list with no indication how it would have been paid for. Hardly responsible for a group who think of themselves as an administration in waiting.

Where I did deviate from the practise of previous leaders was by accepting an amendment from the Conservative group which would have resulted in the one valid budget proposal, ours, falling and, with it, the administration. I fail to see how this was dictatorial, I recognised that we no longer have a majority on the council and the council was entitled to decide as a body that it wanted a change of direction. As it happened, our budget passed.

 No member of the administration is rejoicing at some of the decisions we had to make, these are exceeding hard time, but we have produced a fiscally competent budget which, as I said during the debate, we felt was the least worst option,

Yours sincerely

Councillor Elaine Murray

Leader, Dumfries and Galloway Council


The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee has given it’s backing to calls by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to be subject to local accountability.



The Committee's support for local accountability is contained in the Stage 1 report from the Committee on the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill.

The Committee has been considering the Bill, which aims to establish the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency specifically covering the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. 

The Committee gave its full backing to the establishment of the new agency. However, as well as calling for more local accountability than is currently planned in the bill, the committee made a number of other key recommendations on the role the new agency should play including ensuring that the new Board running the agency properly reflects the interests, skills, expertise and experience relevant to the South of Scotland.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth will now table a number of amendments to the bill including one setting a legal requirement for the new agency to consult locally over its Action Plan, performance and effectiveness.

Colin Smyth, who is the only MSP from the South of Scotland who sits on the Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee said, “This is an important Bill for the South of Scotland as the new Agency will have a key role to play in tackling the big economic challenges we face in the area. However, as only South Scotland MSP who sits on the Parliamentary committee scrutinising and amending the Bill, I am determined to ensure the agency is very much rooted in the South of Scotland. It needs to have the local membership, budget and powers required to deliver the real change the South of Scotland economy needs”.

“One of the weaknesses of the Bill as it stands is that the proposed Agency is entirely accountable to Government Ministers in Edinburgh. I’m pleased the Committee has backed my calls for that to change and for there to be proper local accountability. I will now table a number of amendments to the bill including one making it a legal requirement for the Agency to properly consult the local community and to put in place mechanisms for the Agency to be held to account by people in the South of Scotland not just report to the Government”.    

As part of the Committee’s evidence gathering for their report a formal Parliamentary Committee meeting was held in Dumfries on 14 January and a workshop in Galashiels on 23 January. 

The Committee’s report will now be considered by the Scottish Government who will respond before the first debate on the Bill which is set to take place in the Scottish Parliament before Easter.

If Parliament votes in favour of the bill, it will move to Stage 2. That is when the Committee will have the opportunity to vote on possible amendments to the bill including a number planned by Colin Smyth. Finally, the bill will return to the main Parliament Chamber for Stage 3 where MSPs will have the chance to make further amendments and vote on the final amended bill.


Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety. Are you up to date?

Dumfries Chamber of Commerce would like to you to attend our complimentary event for local business owners at 9.30am on Wednesday 1st May 2019.

Join our expert HR and health & safety speaker from Peninsula at this brief but invaluable event, which will enhance the way you run your business by giving you the knowledge and advice to resolve any employee challenge.

Topics covered on the day will include:

Staff behaviour – such as performance, attendance, attitude
Contracts & handbooks – reviewing your documents of employment
Dealing with – sick pay, maternity leave, harassment and discrimination
Health & safety – risk assessments, fire & safety policies and procedures

During this upcoming event, you will discover the latest updates on the new "Good Work Plan" announced by the government on December 17th, which outlines details of the largest overhaul to employment rights for years and how these changes to legislation might affect your business in the near future.

Our Guest Presenter Ian Langford asks you this question -

"Your staff are your most valuable asset and they need protecting – but so does your business. How do you ensure you have everything covered?"

The event takes place at The Cairndale Hotel, May 1st between 09.30-12.30 with a free buffett lunch.