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


Sky Announces £1M SME Support Scheme For Businesses To Access TV Advertising

Sky Media, the advertising sales arm of Sky, launches its AdSmart SME support scheme, the SME100. The £1 million fund will provide 100 businesses with TV advertising campaigns via AdSmart to support them during the difficult times. 


sky ad smart

SME100 is open to SMEs that have been running for at least one year in the UK with up to 50 full time employees. Businesses can nominate themselves or be put forward by their own customers. Sky Media is encouraging people to highlight the businesses in their local area that need support during this time and who would benefit from accessing the power of TV advertising at a moment when TV consumption has significantly increased.

“Businesses up and down the country are facing some of the hardest trading conditions in recent memory,” said David Sanderson, Director of AdSmart Local & Development at Sky Media. 

“We want to help our nation’s SMEs where possible by giving access to highly relevant audiences via AdSmart totally for free. SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy, making up 99.9% of all business in the UK. We know that although there are economic slowdowns, people are still spending money and we want to help brands connect to these audiences. This initiative is about giving businesses confidence in advertising and their ability to succeed no matter the situation.”

Creative execution of the ads will be supported by local creative agencies and through an exclusive partnership with Shutterstock. Shutterstock will assist the 100 businesses by providing complimentary access to high-quality images, video and music to aid the creative process and effectively tell their story with engaging content. In doing so, the SME100 and Shutterstock will enable local creative agencies to produce broadcast-ready, 30 second ads remotely and cost-effectively and will bring further investment into local and smaller creative industries.




£50 Million For Social Care Announced By Scottish Government

An initial £50 million to help the social care sector deal with the financial implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed.


Social car imaging

The funding will help address immediate challenges faced in the social care sector and support ongoing provision of social care.

Health and Social Care Partnerships across Scotland have all put in place mobilisation plans to ensure the health and social care system is as well placed as possible to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“We know the social care sector is at the frontline of the current pandemic and the Scottish Government has been undertaking a detailed review of additional costs incurred by the sector.

“This funding is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to support resilience in social care provision and ensure that any increasing need for social care as a result of the pandemic is met.

“I hope this will reassure the social care sector that additional costs related to COVID-19 will be provided and we will continue to work closely with COSLA and NHS Boards to ensure they have the resources needed throughout this pandemic.”

Extra Support For Charities From Scottish Government

Properties occupied by charities can now apply for the £10,000 Small Business Grant Scheme to help with pressures caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The extension of the scheme is expected to result in an additional £31 million being made available to more than 3,000 small properties occupied by charities – including day centres, workshops and halls. It will apply to properties which are in receipt of any Charitable Rates Relief or Sports Relief, but are otherwise eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.


Kate Forbes - Standing in Scot Parl

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, said:

“Our package of business support is under constant review as we look for improvements that can be made to existing schemes, or any gaps we are able to fill.

“It had become clear that many charities which run small premises, such as day centres and halls, had been hit hard by loss of revenue during the pandemic. This is particularly pressing for small and medium-sized charities which deliver health and social care support, and are heavily reliant on income from their retail operations.

“In order to support these vital charities we have therefore taken the decision to open up the Small Business Grant Scheme to allow them to apply for grants of £10,000 on the first eligible property and £7,500 on any additional eligible properties.”



Ministers Finalise Reinsurance Scheme To Rescue Supply Chains

UK Government Ministers are finalising a multibillion-pound plan to prop up industry supply chains amid fears that the withdrawal of cover during the coronavirus pandemic would intensify the UK's economic downturn. 


Hands around money

The industry has proposed a reinsurance scheme, under which the government would share with insurers the risk of providing cover to supply chains, according to insiders. 

A sudden spike in insolvencies arising from the coronavirus outbreak would exacerbate the risk of such insurance contracts being pulled. Trade credit insurers offer crucial protection to companies against the risk that customers will not pay for goods. 

Industry sources said the Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) were in close co-operation about a reinsurance scheme. 

The Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are also understood to be involved in the discussions. 

A reinsurance scheme would be similar to those adopted in other European countries, including Germany, in recent weeks. 

Such a model has been recommended by the industry on the basis that it would be more effective than a top-up scheme used by the government during the 2008 banking crisis.



MP and MSP clarify border rules confusion

ESSENTIAL travel is permitted across the Scotland-England border, local politicians have stressed following widespread public confusion.

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell and Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell say they have received numerous enquiries on the subject from constituents.



Uncertainty arose, they explained this week, after some divergence in the Covid-19 safeguarding guidance from the devolved Scottish administration and that from the UK Government covering England. 

David Mundell said: "The top priority for everyone has got to be slowing the spread of coronavirus and saving lives but, understandably, there has been a lack of clarity in recent days after the different messaging at Scottish and UK levels was highlighted in the media. 


"However, these differences are, in fact, relatively minor contrary to what was sometimes portrayed, and, in my view, that’s what has contributed to the confusion.

"It is absolutely clear that essential journeys are permitted on both sides of the border and when crossing.  Anybody living in the south of Scotland can continue to travel to the north of England for work, essential shopping and medical needs without breaking Scottish or UK Government guidelines."

Both parliamentarians say they take seriously concerns raised by constituents, who feared new, less stringent, rules being introduced in England could lead to rule-breaking leisure trips from south of the border to Scottish towns like Langholm.


They welcomed the clear UK Government guidance that people living in England should not travel to Scotland (or Wales) unnecessarily.

MSP Oliver Mundell partly blamed nationalist activists elsewhere in Scotland for fuelling tensions with alarmist calls to have the border closed or police checks put in place as a Covid-19 prevention measure. 

He said: "The reality is that it is not in the interest of the people of Dumfriesshire or Cumbria to have border crossings restricted.

"It is important we are all able to pass freely on essential journeys both ways without hindrance. Many local people have genuine and important reasons to cross on a regular basis.

"There are, of course, long-established variations in laws between Scotland and other parts of the UK and that rarely causes any issue.

"It remains vital that the public in England and Scotland continue to observe the travel guidelines which remain broadly similar, such as avoiding non-essential journeys and, where possible, to stay safe by being at home."