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The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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

 

SCC Budget Statement

Commenting on the UK Budget announced today by the Chancellor, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

 

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“Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget brings some relief for businesses in the face of coronavirus impact as well as further Barnett consequentials for Scotland.’’

“Some of the investment announcements in the Budget are particularly welcome, such as the £5bn for broadband connectivity and the Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, these will benefit Scottish businesses.’’

“We urgently need the Scottish Government to invest any extra funds into business support and boosting the economy, which faces huge challenges in the coming weeks and months. The Scottish Chamber Network is ready to work with Scottish Government on how these funds are best used in order to protect jobs and businesses.’’

“In the first instance, we call on the Scottish Government to support small businesses by immediately adapting the Small Business Bonus scheme to match the chancellor’s pledges of support for small companies in England. And to consider also suspending rates bills for retail, leisure and hospitality firms in Scotland as the UK Government have announced.’’

“Unless mitigated, the effect of a coronavirus pandemic in the coming weeks – coupled with ongoing uncertainty in other areas such as Brexit - risk heaping long term damage to the Scottish economy, leading to further underperformance in terms of GDP growth and productivity which our businesses and people can ill afford. Scotland needs investment in better transport infrastructure and swift reductions in the cost of doing business.’’

RECORDING MEMORIES OF THE CRICHTON ROYAL HOSPITAL

As part of a new Oral History Project at The Crichton, The Crichton Trust is keen to hear from former patients and staff who may have lived or worked at The Crichton Royal Hospital and particularly from those who are willing to share details of their experience.

Dr Valentina Bold has recently been appointed as the Heritage Project Co-ordinator at The Crichton Trust and will be leading the new Oral History Project.

The Crichton Trust would therefore be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to find out more about the project including former patients and staff of the Crichton Royal Hospital.  To help facilitate this, Valentina is holding a drop-in information session at the Ewart Library in Dumfries on the 9th March. This is an ideal opportunity to find out more and to have an informal chat about how to get involved.

Valentina said: “I look forward to meeting everyone at the drop-in session or receiving enquiries by email. As the project progresses, I will be conducting interviews with willing participants to help me understand the history of the Crichton Royal Hospital and what this means for its former staff and patients and of course the wider community.”

The Crichton Trust would like to acknowledge The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Crichton Foundation for financially supporting this project.

If you would like more information about the project, please come along to the drop-in information session at The Ewart Library in Dumfries on Monday 9th March from 4-6pm. Alternatively, please contact Dr Valentina Bold, Heritage Project Co-ordinator by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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LOCAL MSP CHALLENGES TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS TO SIGN UP TO HIS 10-POINT IMPROVEMENT PLAN

South of Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has challenged Transpennine Express to sign up to a 10-point improvement plan he had compiled, ahead of a public meeting being held about the failing train franchise in Lockerbie.

 

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Just some of his demands include:

  • A commitment to urgently return punctuality on the Scotland routes to above 80% (the average the first half of 2019) with a clear timetable to move above 85%
  • A commitment to reduce to below 10% the monthly cancellation and significant lateness rate on the Scotland routes urgently (the average for the first half of 2019) with a clear timetable to reduce to 5% or below (which has been achieved twice within the last two years) and a clear commitment to meet the franchise annual CASL target of 3.6% in year 6 of the franchise (2020-21)
  • Review of pricing including a reintroduction of off-peak fares for early morning services to Edinburgh until a direct morning service to Edinburgh to arrive just before 9 am is introduced.
  • A review of ticketing to introduce a Flexipass ticket for regular commuter tickets who travel on a regular basis
  • A commitment to put on extra carriages during busy periods such as the Edinburgh festival and international rugby matches at Murrayfield

Following requests from regular passengers to the South West Scotland Transport Partnership (SWestrans) Board, the Lockerbie Station Liaison Group will be reconvened and will hold a meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the performance of rail services at Lockerbie, rail timetable and fares.

The meeting will be open to the public and TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast and ScotRail have confirmed their attendance.

It will take place in the town hall at 7.30 pm and comes on the back of recent figures which revealed that TransPennine’s cancellation rate was the worst in the country at 6.6 per cent for Q3 (October, November and December 2019), an increase of 0.2 per cent on the same period last year.

Punctuality was second worst in the country, with only 41 per cent of trains running on time. 

Colin Smyth said: “I have put together a comprehensive list of demands for TransPennine Express and I expect them to start listening.

“We need real answers at Thursday’s meeting, rather than more empty promises. I also firmly believe that Lockerbie passengers deserve a proper apology for the years of appalling service they have had to put up with.

“The recent figures show the company is one of the worst performing rail franchises in the UK. In fact, the cancellation rate is the worst in the country. For those of us who regularly travel on TransPennine Express services from Lockerbie, this won’t come as a surprise. 

“Cancellations when there are regular trains is one thing but at Lockerbie, where at some parts of the day there is a four-hour gap between trains to Edinburgh, a cancellation could mean the difference between getting to the capital on the same day or not.

“Commuters from Lockerbie station have been treated as second-class passengers for far too long, this firm isn’t fit to run our trains. 

"In the absence of action from the UK Government I have set out a 10-point plan which would make a huge difference and I hope the company will sign up to it."

Shape the new South of Scotland Vision, by joining the Regional Economic Partnership

Dumfries & Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council are looking for representatives from across a range of sectors to apply to become a member of a new partnership body which will play key role in driving forward the South of Scotland regional economy.

 

 

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This new Regional Economic Partnership (REP) will bring the Councils, the new South of Scotland Enterprise agency, and other key public agencies together to formulate a new Regional Economic Strategy.

While South of Scotland Enterprise will bring significant new momentum to economic development in the South of Scotland, it is essential that all partners and stakeholders are involved to ensure that a shared vision and strategy for the South of Scotland is delivered.

This vision isn't just that of the agency but will be that of the public sector, universities and colleges. Businesses, social enterprises, the third sector, community groups, and registered social landlords (RSLs) will be key partners in driving inclusive growth. The REP is designed to be the forum that brings together this expertise and sets the direction of our regional economy.

The REP will develop and monitor the delivery of an economic strategy for the South of Scotland. It will ensure that the actions taken to drive forward this strategy are informed by a broad base of expertise to ensure a focus in the right areas. It will also be a forum to address the key economic challenges that we need to overcome in the region.

The REP is looking to appoint a total of 12 additional members. These are:
• Four Private Sector Representatives
• Two Social Enterprise Representatives
• Two Third Sector Representatives
• Two Community Representative
• Two Representatives from Registered Social Landlords


Do you have what it takes to sit on the REP? 

 

Click the link below and help shape the future of the South of Scotland.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 8 March 2020. You can find more information at http://www.scotborders.gov.uk/REP

HOGGETT GO MAD FOR PRINT

Hoggett Creative is celebrating over 10 years of printing in Dumfries & Galloway by offering a month-long discount on print.

For Hoggett Creative, March 2020 marks a significant milestone. The graphic design specialists, based on Annan High Street have been in business for over 12 years and have grown from one man, Simon Woolley, to a full team of designers delivering printed and digital solutions across the world.  At first, Hoggett was focused on establishing a reputation for high-quality graphic design but in 2010 began building up their in-house print facilities, 10 years on and Hoggett's print department has continued to grow featuring a state-of-the-art digital printer along with a range of print finishing equipment.

Despite recent trends of businesses favouring digital marketing over print, Hoggett takes pride in its multichannel approach, believing that a combination offers the best solution. This has led to Hoggett investing over £20,000 in print last year, most notably in a print MIS (Management Information System). The Tharsterns system has helped Hoggett deliver print projects quickly, efficiently and improve their customer's experience. To celebrate this success, Hoggett is offering their biggest promotion to date, a 25% discount on all small format print.

 

Hoggett's Creative Director Simon Woolley said,

"When delivering campaigns for our clients we've found that people respond best to a consistent brand message across both digital and print. That's why we have a team of designers with a mix of skills to help businesses with anything from social media and websites to branding and print.

 

Personally, I've always been crazy about anything printed. As a designer, there's something special about seeing your design turned into something you can hold and feel. When print is done right it really grabs your attention, more than any website or digital advert ever could. As a team of designers we're all mad about print here! We want to share that passion and that's what inspired the idea for 'Mad March'.

 

Print is a highly competitive market and that's why we're discounting all our small format prices by 25%, to let people experience the difference when you work with a local printer, being able to talk to someone face to face, see the stock it'll be printed on or check out samples, it really is invaluable."