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Potential disaster for Scotland’s seafood industry

Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing has written to DEFRA to highlight the potential impacts to Scotland’s salmon and other seafood products, unless issues surrounding export health certificates are resolved immediately.

Letter from Mr Ewing to Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

Dear Michael

I am writing to express concern that the practical consequences of a no-deal Brexit become more stark by the day. Last September, at the Ministerial Forum (EU Negotiations) discussion on the future relationship with the EU on agri-food I raised the issue of export certification for salmon and other seafood products, where the practical requirements of certification together with the need for border inspection posts would be resource intensive. I raised the issue with you again in the DEFRA/Devolved Administrations Ministerial meeting on 14 January. In the context of no-deal Brexit, these issues are even more stark, and would be hugely damaging for our most valuable food export.

The clock must be stopped on the Article 50 process as this is the only way to avoid any possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU on 29 March without a deal. Failure to do so, in knowledge of the catastrophic consequences, would be unpardonably reckless.

Our work on contingency planning has identified that the number of export health certificates required by the salmon industry could quadruple from around 50,000 per annum to 200,000. This would cost around £15m extra each year – even if the EU’s more stringent requirements for certificates are disregarded. Industry will see no benefit from this additional paperwork. At the same time, imports of similar products to the UK from the EU will not be subject to these requirements, creating an asymmetry that is only to the detriment of our own industry. As a minimum, we would expect the UK Government to be exploring with the European Commission urgently whether a temporary derogation from export health certification requirements could be possible.

The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and Scotland’s public finances should not bear the costs of EU exit. I therefore seek your commitment that the UK Government will reimburse these costs, whether borne by the public sector or by industry.

Can this be done?

Fergus Ewing

Hard Work or Smart Work.

Businesses, whether a SME or large orginastion are now more aware than ever of the importance of utlising office space, employee time and productivity. The beneifts aren’t just another money saving incentive to make the companies more profitable and staff to work harder. Working hard is something we’ve all been taught since our childhood but the paradigms are evolving and ‘Working hard’ isn’t the way of the modern office. Working Smart is very important, but working Smartly can be quite hard, if you don’t know how.

Companies and employees are smart when they can figure out that the tasks they are doing can be done in a more efficient manner, thus by optimising their efforts it will result in more efficient results.

Less Effort = More Results. But, how to you figure out a way to complete tasks with less effort and better results? The answer is simply by working in a Enriched Working Environment. The way we embrace our own space, office space and working habits all join to make a more beneficial working atmosphere. Simple changes from making the office more visually appealing, better lighting and more stimulating surroundings will help our brains focus on the tasks in hand and process information quicker and more efficiently. But, how do we work smarter when work consumes us almost 24-7? Work follows us everywhere, it doesn’t just stop after 5pm, with technology allowing emails, phone calls and instant messages at any moment of the day it means we all always connected to our office, even when it is family time, gym time or bed time. You are just one email away from a happy mood to complete stressed out.

As simple as it sounds, the easiest way is to try to stick to strict working patterns, switch off your emails, or your phone when you finish work. Your body and brain both need time to relax and recover. You cannot be your best if you constantly clear emails until 9pm every day. So ask yourself, does dealing with 10 emails after 7pm really save you time the day after in work? The answer is not really, as there is always more work to fill those gaps. Resting is more important. When in work try to prioritise the tasks for the day ahead, so set clear targets and check emails only at certain times, otherwise one email could swallow up more time than you could imagine, this will make you behind on your daily tasks, more stressed, less productive and making you be less focused and productive, filling you with negative energy which can affect you and your colleagues.

So how do we become more focused in work? It’s not just the mental approaches and clear time management that will benefit your daily work routine but also by embracing software which gives you little nudges throughout the day and encourages you to be more active both physically and mentally. The Work & Move software by BakkerElkhuzien is an easy solution. The software is quick and easy to download and install on your computer, it has 4 intuitive tools which will improve the efficiency and comfort of each user. Scientific research shows that the brain gets tired after just 40-50 minutes of continuous effort, this contributes to less speed and more mistakes. A simple 3 minute pit-stop will allow your brain to recharge, re-align and you’ll actually speed up after and make less mistakes. So, the 3 minutes isn’t actually lost, you are just more efficient after.

The Work & Move Software gives subtle nudges, suggestions and pop-ups to vary your day. From Pit-Stops, to exercises, sit-stand coaching and even tips on keyboard short-cuts you could use to save you time throughout your day. Naturally, working smart is the only way forward, by embracing little changes your whole work and life balance could be vastly improved, showing health and mental benefits that you make you happier, freeing up time for some of the more important things in life. Evenings and Weekends with family and friends. Embracing life is what we all want, so by learning to work smarter we will naturally find more time to relax and enjoy the best things.

For more information please Visit


South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth and Council Leader Elaine Murray have criticised the SNP/Green Budget deal in the Scottish Parliament as it leaves Dumfries and Galloway Council with a £16million funding gap.


In an e-mail from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Head of Finance and Procurement to councillors, officials have confirmed that the funding gap is be £15.969 million.

The deal means council tax can be hiked by 4.79% instead of the previous 3% cap. However, in total this would generate £3.37 million still leaving a funding gap of £12.599million to be filled by cuts to services.

Councillor Elaine Murray said, “Despite SNP and Green spin this budget deal is not extra money for Dumfries and Galloway Council. It is a massive cut in our grant and leaves the council having to find £16million in higher taxes and cuts to local services.

After already making almost £100 million of cuts over the past eight years, our Council services have been cut to the bone. Councillors of all parties a week ago called for a fair funding settlement and for local services to be protected. It is disappointing that the Scottish Government and the Green party have failed to listen to our call. The  people of our region will feel aggrieved that Government cuts mean that to balance the books the council will have to reduce services even although the council tax is going up”

Analysis from independent experts the Scottish Parliament Information Centre shows that £230.7million of real terms cuts will be imposed on councils across the country.

That means cuts to lifeline services for the most vulnerable people in our society, whilst at the same time SNP Cabinet Secretaries will pay £140 less in tax next year.

Colin Smyth said, “The SNP and Greens have once again joined together to impose cuts in our local council budget and that will hit the lifeline services so many local people rely on in our area. While council workers face the threat of losing their jobs, SNP Cabinet Secretaries will be £140 richer thanks to income tax cuts agreed in the budget and that is an utter disgrace”.


South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said that Young’s Seafood should handover their Pinney’s Site on Stapleton Road, Annan rather than profit from any sale.

It comes as Young’s Seafood posted Profits before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of £23million for last year. An increase of 2.7% from the previous year.

Young’s Seafood confirmed the closure of their Pinney’s factory in Annan in June last year following a 45 day consultation with employees and trade unions. Approximately 700 permanent, agency and seasonal workers lost their jobs as a result of the closure.

The Stapleton Road Site is still up for sale and calls have been made by other politicians for the taxpayer to pick up the bill for buying the site from the company. However, Colin Smyth MSP believes that Young’s Seafood should hand the site over to allow for the factory to be demolished which could make it more attractive to new enterprises and help create more jobs, especially if new purpose built units were built.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said, “Young’s Seafood showed utter contempt for the Pinneys workforce. Rather than show any loyalty to a community who showed loyalty to them, the company did little to try to turn Pinney’s around but just cast it aside. This reinforces my view that Young’s should not profit from any sale of the Pinneys factory but for once do the right thing for the community and hand the factory over. That way we could get on with demolishing the site and make it more suitable for new companies to be based at their custom built facilities. The factory is now clearly of no use to the company and getting rid of it now is not only the right thing to do but would save them a huge business rates bill. These profits show that Young’s could easily afford this small act of corporate and social responsibility.”


South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has called on the UK and Scottish Governments to announce funding for the Borderlands Growth Deal Initiative.

The call comes as the UK and Scottish Governments have this week announced funding for the Ayrshire Growth Deal ahead of the agreement and signing of Heads of Terms for that particular Growth Deal. That particular Growth Deal has had a pledge of £100million from the UK Government and £100 million from the Scottish Government.

The Borderlands Growth Deal is a proposed deal from both Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council on the Scottish border and Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and Northumberland County Council on the English side.

The Deal proposals were formally submitted by the local authorities in September last year. A clear deadline was set by the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, which meant proposals being submitted by the local authorities by the end of September would see a monetary value in the UK Government Budget last year. After this broken promise there is still no date set for reaching Heads of Terms and no funding announcement has been made.

Colin Smyth said, “The five Borderlands local authorities met the deadline set to them by David Mundell to submit proposals for a Borderlands Growth Deal last year. Despite meeting this deadline the UK and Scottish Government have not committed a single penny to the Growth Deal.

The concentration so far has been on agreeing and signing Heads of Terms which could end up being after the English local council elections in May due to election rules. With the announcement of funds for Ayrshire Growth Deal by the UK and Scottish Governments that means the Borderlands is the only current deal proposal that hasn’t had any funding announced by either Government. Both the UK and Scottish Governments should now commit to funding for the Borderlands Growth Deal. As the Ayrshire Growth Deal shows, they don’t need to wait until the Heads of Terms are agreed and signed as they previous claimed.”