News

The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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

 

BSW Timber Purchased by Endless LLP

BSW Group, the UK’s largest integrated forestry and sawmilling business, has been acquired by private equity firm Endless LLP as part of a multi-level growth plan for the company.

 

The market-leading sawmiller, which employs over 1,200 people and turns over £350 million annually, has previously expanded the business and integrated its supply chain through acquisitions such as Tilhill Forestry, Alvic Plastics and, more recently, Maelor Forest Nurseries.

Endless’ purchase of BSW provides the capital to support BSW’s ambitious future growth plans through further expansion of its market position.

As well as adding BSW to its portfolio, the Leeds-based private equity firm also own a number of large UK-based businesses including cake manufacturer Bright Blue Foods, golf retailer American Golf and national distribution firm Menzies Distribution.

BSW CEO, Tony Hackney, and CFO, Alan Milne, will remain at the helm of the business and will continue to assist in driving the group’s future growth.
Tony Hackney, CEO of BSW Group, said: “This is fantastic news for BSW. Whilst it is business as usual, we are excited by the opportunities new ownership will bring us and we look forward to entering a new era of rapid growth and development under Endless’ ownership. We would also like to thank the Brownlie family for creating such a strong legacy and supporting the growth of the company and its employees.”

Aidan Robson, Partner at Endless, added: “We are delighted to have been selected to support the acquisition of BSW, a business with fantastic prospects and one that we believe has a very exciting future. As the country’s largest timber producer, BSW plays a critical role in supporting the UK’s commitment to using more local and sustainable raw materials and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
“We look forward to working closely with Tony, Alan and the rest of the BSW team to deliver continued organic growth and further diversification through investment and acquisition.”
Founded in 1848 in Berwickshire, BSW is the largest sawmilling group in the UK and within the top twenty timber producers in Europe.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (‘RBoS’) Asset Based Lending team supported the transaction. Andrew Barraclough, Head of Regional Asset Based Lending at RBoS ABL, added: “We are delighted to be continuing to support such a fantastic Scottish business and long-standing client of the bank.”

 

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SCC comments on UK Government proposals for new UK immigration system

Commenting on the proposals for a new UK immigration system post Brexit, announced by the UK Government today, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

 

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“Scottish companies are committed to investing and growing our talent but these proposals will require continuous review to address increasingly critical labour shortages. Current high employment is welcome but it means that companies need to secure talent which is both domestic and international.

“The expansion of the seasonal workers scheme is clear recognition of the important economic contributions the agriculture sector makes to Scotland. However, the proposed salary threshold does not go far enough to support specific sectors in Scotland – the UK Government needs to set out how they will support these companies to recruit and grow. Businesses will be taking a close watching brief to determine whether this expansion will effectively service the whole of the United Kingdom.

“The proposals will present major challenges for key sectors, such as hospitality, care and tourism to be able to recruit and we urge the UK Government to ensure all workable options are in the mix including proposals from the Scottish Government and other partner agencies. The UK Government needs to continue the dialogue further with businesses to ensure immigration and skills policies work for business and the economy.’’

Trade Mission to Dubai

Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce in partnership with SDI are delighted to invite you to join a delegation of business on their multi-sector Trade Mission to Dubai from 18th to 22nd April 2020.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the UK's most important trading partners and one of the fastest growing markets for UK exports. In 2018, exports to the UAE from the UK totalled more than £10.5 billion and we had a trade surplus of more than £4 billion Dubai is a regional hub and commercial capital for the Middle East, North Africa and beyond and an important market for re-export into other countries.

 

The majority of the UAE’s population consists of expats, including a considerable British presence. British companies operating in the UAE include BP, Shell, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Mott McDonald, HSBC, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and John Lewis.

Key sector opportunities

  • Education
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Airports and aerospace
  • Defence and security
  • Water
  • Tourism 
  • Cyber security
  • Fintech
  • Railway     

Trade Mission Criteria 

  • Open to any company in Scotland looking to grow their international trade activity
  • Companies do not need to be a member of a Chamber of Commerce
  • Non-refundable deposit of £200 required to secure each delegate place
  • Cross-sector delegation

Draft Programme

The following is a draft agenda only and will be subject to change.

Saturday 18th - Delegation to Travel to Dubai

Sunday 19th - Market Awareness welcome lunch

                      - 1-2-1 Meetings & Site visits

                      - Delegates Dinner (PM)

Monday 20th - 1-2-1 Meetings & Site Visits

                       -Free evening 

Tuesday 21st - Evening networking reception

Wednesday 22nd - Delegation to return to UK

Support

  • 1 day export training tailored specifically to doing business in the UAE (the contract for this will be issued this week and the consultant is confirmed to deliver)
  • Access to SDI and DIT contacts in market to help with making connections on the ground for one to one meetings
  • Hosting the delegation at the embassy

APPLICATION FORM (please return completed forms to the email address below)

You can watch our Doing Business in the UAE - Opportunities in Dubai Webinar - BY CLICKING HERE

 

 Further information coming soon however please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like to register your interest for our Trade Mission. 

CALL FOR GOVERNMENT RETHINK AS SNP BUDGET PLAN LEAVES COUNCIL FACING £11M OF CUTS

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth and Labour Council Leader Elaine Murray have called for an urgent rethink by the SNP Government after it was revealed that their proposed budget will leave Dumfries and Galloway Council facing £11m of cuts in day to day services, and a loss of £4m capital funding for projects such as new schools.

 

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Last week Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes announced the Scottish Government’s budget in Parliament following the resignation of Finance Secretary Derek MacKay. The budget included yet another real terms cuts in council funding.

Council Leader Elaine Murray has written to Kate Forbes calling for a rethink by the Government after it was revealed at meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Finance Committee by officials that the SNP’s budget will leave the local council with a total of £10.883m of savings to find this year through cuts and higher charges and council tax. 

So far the council have agreed £5.686m of savings but will need to find another £ 5.197m to balance the books. The paper to councillors revealed that over the next three years nearly £40m of cuts will be required- on top of over £106m saved since 2010. 

The SNP Government have indicated to councils that they can raise council tax by 4.84% in Dumfries and Galloway (currently 7.3% below the national average) which would generate an estimated £3.576m.

In a shock move the SNP Government have also slashed capital funding to councils for programmes such as new schools. In a separate paper to the Council’s Finance Committee yesterday it was revealed that the council face a £3.951m cut in core capital funding compared to last year. 

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “Locally people need to wake up to what the SNP Government’s budget means for our area- more cuts and higher council tax. I am not prepared to sit back and watch that happen, so unless there is an urgent rethink by the SNP I will vote against the Scottish Government’s budget in Parliament. 

“I am sick and tired of seeing our local services cut year on year by a Government who could not care less about the services people in our region rely. Thousands of jobs have also already been lost as a result of cuts in council funding and more will go if the SNPs budget goes ahead.”  

Councillor Elaine Murray said: “The Scottish Government’s budget will leave the council having to find £11m through more cuts and higher council tax yet again this year, at a time services have already been cut to the bone. These cuts come on top of the £106m made by the council in the past nine years and shows that once again it is local services bearing the brunt of austerity from the UK and Scottish Government. 

“What is particularly disappointing is that as well as the £11m cut in day to day services, we are also receiving nearly £4m less for capital projects such as new schools. I have written to Finance Minister Kate Forbes calling for an urgent rethink before MSPs vote on the budget. Local people will be furious that once again because of the SNP Government’s budget they face a council tax rise but will still see local services reduced because of Government attacks on council budgets.” 

MSP SLAMS BUDGET PLAN TO AXE £4 MILLION FROM NEW SOUTH OF SCOTLAND ENTERPRISE AGENCY

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy Spokesperson Colin Smyth has slammed the Scottish Government for proposing a cut of £4 million from the planned budget for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency (SOSEA) - before the new Agency has even been established.

 

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In the draft Scottish Government budget published 6 February 2020 the budget for the new Agency, which will be up and running on 1 April is set at £28.1 million for 2020/21. 

However, in the financial memorandum that accompanied the legislation setting up the new Agency the promised budget from the Government for its first year was almost £4 million higher at £32 million.

The Government pledged that the funding for the new Agency would be same per head of population as the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). As a result of the proposal in today’s Scottish Government budget to slash funding for HIE from £61.1m to £58.2m for 2020/21 (on top of the cut from £71.7m to £61.1m for 2019/20) the funding per head of population will fall, resulting in a cut in the planned budget for South of Scotland Enterprise Agency

When the SNP came into Government the budget for HIE was £103m for 2007/8 but next year in 2020/21 it will fall to just £58.2 m. Had it kept pace with inflation the budget would have been more than double that level at £130m. That would have meant the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency having almost double the planned budget in its first year. 

South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “This is a real kick in the teeth for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency even before it has started its work. When the legislation was passing through Parliament the Scottish Government were at pains to  claim it would have a projected budget of £32m in its first year but it turns out it will be nearly £4m less. That will mean less money to support local businesses and create jobs at a time the local economy continues to fall behind much of the rest of  Scotland”.

“The budget for the new Agency is linked to that of Highlands and Islands Enterprise Agency who are suffering massive cuts. Had their budget risen by inflation in the last decade it would have been double the level it is now. That would have meant our new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency would have a budget of nearly £60 m when it is set up not the cuts it is facing now.”