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

 

Applications Open for Annan and DG12 Property Improvement Grant Scheme

Dumfries and Galloway Council is launching a Property Improvement Grant Scheme for proprietors and occupants of commercial properties in Annan town centre and other neighbourhood centres in the DG12 post code area.

During 2019 a number of community engagement events were carried out: the Annan Town Centre Regeneration Plan was developed though this work. This plan identified a building facelift programme as a priority action.

This new Property Improvement Grant Scheme will open for applications on 1stSeptember 2020 and will operate up until 31st March 2022 or whenever the grant fund of £50,000 is fully allocated.

The Scheme provides applicants who own, or are tenants of, commercial properties in Annan town centre, or in commercial properties within neighbourhood centres within the DG12 post code area, with an opportunity to apply for a grant towards eligible repairs and improvements to the front of their commercial properties.

Up to 50% of the cost of eligible repairs or improvements is available as a grant, up to a maximum grant of £5,000.

The amount of grant available will be specific to each applicant and individual circumstances. Where landlords are seeking grants for more than one eligible property this may be considered, however all grant awards are subject to the Council’s discretion.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Repairs to and reinstatement of any part of a commercial property that is visible from the street in an eligible town centre or neighbourhood centre within the Annan and DG12 postcode area;
  • Reinstatement of original architectural features on property:
  • ornamental masonry, stucco and other applied finishes or details, historically patterned woodwork, ornamental metalwork, historic glazing patterns or other features of historic significance
  • Other repairs to the principal elevation above a qualifying commercial property will be considered;
  • Repairs and reinstatement of guttering and down-pipes to match historic materials;
  • Repainting or re-rendering prominent elevations in suitable heritage colours;
  • Repair or replacement of external stonework and brickwork and rendering;
  • Re-pointing using traditional materials;
  • Signage and fascias – NOTE UpVC signage is not eligible;
  • Roof repairs are not eligible;

 

Rob Davidson

Rob Davidson, Chair of Economy and Resources Committee said: "This is wonderful news for the Annan and DG12 area. This Property Improvement Grant Scheme will help to improve the exterior of commercial properties.”

 
Archie Dryburgh, Vice Chair of Economy and Resources Committee and Chair of the Chapelcross Site Stakeholder Group said: “We are delighted that The Town Centre Capital Fund is supporting property improvements in the Annan and DG12 area.” 

Sean Marshall, Chair of the Annan Regeneration Steering Group said: “As Chair of Annan Regeneration Steering Group I am pleased that the Council’s Strategic Projects Team are taking forward a Property Improvement Grant scheme worth £100k to local businesses.”

For further details telephone: 030 3333 3000 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Markets Praised by MSP For Keeping Sales Going Through Covid-19 Crisis

Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell, Scottish Conservatives' Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, has visited local livestock auction market, C&D Rural in Dumfries, to thank the team for their efforts in keeping sales running through the challenging Covid-19 period.

 

Oliver Mundell at Rural Cattle Market

A relatively regular visitor, Mr Mundell was keen to see the additional measures that had been put in place to help keep everyone safe and was shown round by Director Stuart Thomson.  

The local MSP was impressed by the set-up and by the team's dedication to customers. He felt this reflected the fact that sales were not just vital for farm businesses but that with social distancing measures in place, they provided a much needed chance for people to get off the farm and catch up. 

It also served as a welcome opportunity for the MSP to chat with some of the region's farmers on subjects including food security, Brexit negotiations and, of course, the weather.  

He was also keen to recognise the hard work of farmers who have continued to produce food and keep the shelves stocked throughout the global pandemic. 

Meeting sellers and buyers, Mr Mundell commented that the health emergency had served as a timely reminder of just how important the industry was for the country to be able to feed itself.

Mr Mundell said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit C&D Rural in Dumfries and get a better idea of how the team and local farmers were adapting to the new normal.

"The good news is that the additional safety precautions didn’t seem to be having any impact on trade with much needed, stronger prices up on last year.  

“There is no doubt auctions remain vital, helping farmers achieve the fairest and best price for their livestock. But it is also important to remember that farming can be a lonely job and these sales are a rare opportunity, even with social distancing, for people to catch up.

“It was certainly useful for me in my new role to hear the views of local farmers and I am determined to see the efforts and importance of rural Scotland recognised.” 

SOS Praises Party's New Jobs Recovery Blueprint

A POSITIVE economic package, proposed by the Scottish Conservatives, could help boost prospects for Dumfries and Galloway moving forward.

 

That was the view of constituency MP Alister Jack who praised the party's 'Power Up Scotland' jobs strategy launched by new leader north of the border Douglas Ross on Monday.

 

The Scottish Secretary stated the series of policies clearly addressed key areas such as jobs, business, education, town centres, transport infrastructure and rural growth which required urgent attention.

 

Mr Jack said: "All these policy areas will strike a chord with my constituents from Dumfries across to Stranraer as the Scottish Parliament elections next May draw nearer.

 

"Douglas and his team provide a stronger alternative to what the SNP have been offering for many years and a new approach is clearly needed as the country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic."

 

Mr Jack stated that his former Scotland Office ministerial team colleague had the ability and potential to help deliver a more vibrant Scotland as part of a well integrated UK.

 

He said: "Together the Scottish and UK Governments can achieve far more by working more closely together and focusing on infrastructure and economic growth rather than constitutional matters like independence."

Changes to the Furlough Scheme

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The HMRC is making changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1‌‌st September and what this means for you.  

What you need to do from 1‌‌ September

  • From 1‌‌ September CJRS will pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.
  • You will still need to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself.
  • The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in September, you are entitled to claim 70% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work up to £1,093.75 (50% of the £2,187.50 cap).
  • You will continue to have to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions from your own funds as per the changes made from 1st August.

HARPER CALLS ON UK GOV TO EXTEND FURLOUGH SCHEME TO SAVE LOCAL JOBS

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has issued a fresh call for the UK government to extend the furlough scheme into 2021 – after Germany indicated that it will look to extend its version of the scheme by an additional 24 months.

 

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The UK Conservative Chancellor has already cut back on the Job Retention Scheme, with the furlough scheme set to end entirely on 31st October 2020.

With chains such as River Island, Boots and HSBC – not to mention public service operators such as Royal Mail and Scottish Power - who employ hundreds of staff across Dumfries and Galloway announcing widescale job loses – the SNP MSP has said that a premature end to the furlough scheme in the middle of a global pandemic could be ‘catastrophic’ to the local economy.

 

Commenting, Ms Harper said:  

“In the past few weeks alone we’ve seen businesses such as River Island, Boots, HSBC – and public sector operators such as Royal Mail and Scottish Power - announce substantial job loses that could affect staff across Dumfries and Galloway.

“In European countries like Germany, reports of an extension to their version of the furlough scheme will come as a welcome relief to millions of workers and businesses who are worried about their future.

“Yet in stark contrast, the UK Conservative Chancellor at Westminster is choosing to prematurely shut down the furlough scheme and throw thousands of Scottish jobs on the scrap heap.

“The jobs and livelihoods of working families across Dumfries and Galloway are on the line. It’s time for the UK government to rethink its catastrophic plans to scrap the furlough scheme early and extend the measures into 2021.

“If they continue to refuse, then the Tories should let Holyrood have these powers so Scotland can take the action we need to save jobs. I’d encourage anyone with any concerns to contact my office at any time.”