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.

 

SCC Comment on Airport Review

Commenting on the Court of Appeal’s judgement on the judicial review of the Airports National Policy Statement, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

 

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“We can’t keep bouncing back major infrastructure projects that are crucial to regional connectivity. Without expansion, it is likely airport capacity will be rerouted where there are lower ambitions for carbon reduction.

“We acknowledge the climate emergency and fully support a just transition which ensures that the costs of addressing climate change are shared equitably. We believe this judgement puts at risk thousands of jobs that Heathrow expansion would create and would have a detrimental impact on Scottish business’s ability to invest and trade. We urge the UK government to go ahead with expansion so we can get down to business.

“Business communities in Scotland will be disappointed that plans for a world-leading hub airport in the UK are now at risk. There has never been a more important time to demonstrate that Scotland and the UK is open for business.”

LOCKERBIE BASED FARMFIT SHOP NOW OPEN!

Come and see FarmFit’s ever-extending range of farm internals and accessories available PLUS LOTS of smaller accessories including heat lamps and calving gloves to view and buy from our easily accessible shop in Lockerbie, OPEN MONDAY TO FRIDAY 7.30AM TILL 5PM or online today!

 

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Farmfit shop is on the North side of Lockerbie with plenty parking, onsite Rijo coffee machine, snacks and treats for on the go!   We are the first in Dumfries and Galloway to stock the infamous Grassmen range, Schleich toys and of course many essentials for our countryside community including Buckbootz, Flexophane waterproofs, PPE, Hi Vis clothing, gloves, nuts, bolts, fixtures, fittings, DIY tools and necessities at very competitive prices!   We even have a fantastic range of kids farming related items from 25p!

 

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The new shop premises will complement our reliable agricultural equipment and you can come in to discuss the full design, fitting and installation service we can offer.  They developed an ergonomically efficient range of quality products that will deliver added value to your operations for generations to come. The FarmFit range includes; gates, feed barriers, Agritubel self-locking yokes, cubicles, posts and attachments, Galebreaker, cladding, timber, rainwater goods, fibre cement and fixings.  

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ADMINISTRATION BUDGET WILL PROTECT EDUCATION

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Labour and SNP coalition Administration’s balanced budget proposal will protect education.
 
Dumfries and Galloway Council will meet on Thursday 27th February to set a balanced budget for financial year 2020/21. Earlier this month the Council decided to decouple its council tax setting and full budget setting due to delays in both the UK Government and Scottish Budget setting processes. On Thursday the Council will meet its legal obligation to set council tax rates and a balanced budget whilst delaying full spending plans until the end of March, by which time the Scottish Government’s Budget Bill is expected to have passed Scottish Parliament processes.
 
At a meeting of the Council’s Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee on 11th February, Councillors unanimously agreed that the Council should lobby the Scottish Government for a fairer funding settlement as the Council faced a £10.8 million revenue funding gap and a £4 million cut in its capital funding.
 
The Administration’s budget proposal, if agreed by Councillors, will protect education spend by asking local residents pay on average £1.09 more a week in Council Tax rates. This follows extensive consultation prior to Christmas in which local residents made it clear they were prepared to pay a little more in Council Tax to protect local services, in particular schools and teacher numbers.
 
Council Leader Elaine Murray, “This Administration budget proposal will ensure that we protect our schools from further cuts which will be welcomed by pupils, parents and teachers across Dumfries and Galloway.
 
The Scottish Government are clear that local authorities have thus far been provided with merely indicative figures for next year. Our Council, along with COSLA nationally, have made it clear that local authorities must receive a fair funding settlement to protect vital local services, end the cuts and start investing in schools, roads and local priorities. Our administration will not make any unnecessary cuts to services and jobs. Our use of flexibility measures means that if the Scottish Government provide a fair settlement for local authorities our Administration will allocate investment before the beginning of the next financial year investing in our region’s priorities.
 
Our budget proposal will ask local people to pay on average an additional £1.09 more a week in council tax to stop further cuts in education. If the Scottish Government end the cuts to our Council we will be able to rule out further cuts to all service areas.”
 
Depute Leader Councillor Rob Davidson said, “Our Administration’s proposal shows that we are listening to local people across our region. Local people have made it clear that they want to see education protected and that is exactly what this balanced budget achieves.
 
“The draft Local Government settlement is better than our Council was planning for and this, coupled with the budget decisions we took before Christmas, allows us to be confident in our commitment to protect education both in setting Council Tax this Thursday and in our finalised budget at the end of March.
 
Despite delays in the UK Government and Scottish budget setting processes, our balanced budget proposal will allow for Head Teachers to plan for the next academic year and ensure we give all of our children and young people the best start in life.
 
At the end of March Dumfries and Galloway Council will meet to set its full Budget. The Council’s Administration’s proposal will outline full spending plans for the year ahead as well as updates to the Council’s Capital Investment Programme.

APPALLING TRANSPENNINE CANCELLATION FIGURES ARE THE FINAL STRAW, SAYS LOCAL MSP

South of Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Scotland has reiterated his call for First Group to be axed from running Transpennine Express rail services following the publication of figures which show the company one of the worst performing rail franchises in the UK.

Quarterly passenger rail performance figures released last week by the Office of Rail and Road reveal 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. 

 

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South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said: “Time is up for Transpennine Express: this is the final straw. The UK Government needs to get a grip and axe this failing franchise.

“These new 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. But sadly 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. 

“The delays and cancellations for the company’s Scottish routes are appalling and the recent fare hike of 37 per cent for some fares simply show this firms isn’t fit to run our trains. 

“A slap on wrist by the UK Government isn’t going to be enough. For once the Government needs to stand up for passengers, not the big rail firms. 

“It is time for the Government to axe First Group and remove the Transpennine Express franchise from them. The Government plan to end Northern’s rail franchise so why should Transpennine be treated any differently.”

Community to Lead on New Plans for Town Centre

A new project starting this month will bring together the views of local people, groups and businesses to create a 10 year priority action plan for Dumfries town centre. This is a partnership approach led by Dumfries Partnership Action Group (DPAG) and Dumfries and Galloway Council, who have appointed place planning specialists PAS to develop the project.

DPAG Chair, Leah Halliday, says: “This action plan is different to anything that’s come before. It will build on previous work, bring together the public and private sectors, and provide us all with an agreed focus and direction to move forward as a town. This project will ask for people’s ideas for positive change. This is the community’s opportunity for their voice to be heard so that funding can then be found to make these improvements a reality. This plan is about strengthening the can-do spirit of Dumfries and taking real action.”

 

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DPAG, is a volunteer group made up of local businesses and community organisations who, together, are actively involved in promoting change in the town centre. DPAG membership is open to groups, businesses and projects with a connection to the town centre. The new Action Plan will also gather together research into the current position of the town and will be used to attract public and private investment that will breathe life into the future Dumfries that the community wants to see.

Recognising the need to adopt a fresh and collaborative approach in Dumfries, Councillor Rob Davidson Chair of Economy and Resources says “It is recognised that to address persistent challenges in the town centre an open and inclusive engagement process must be undertaken to ensure the local community are central to any future vision for the area, and this is combined with a robust evidence base to strengthen action on the ground. A delivery focus is instrumental in attracting investment to Dumfries and in identifying local priorities for action.”

It is really important that as many local people as possible get involved in the making of this action plan, which is being facilitated and project managed by community engagement charity and social enterprise PAS (Planning Aid Scotland). Julia Frost from PAS says: “We are very excited to be working with the people of Dumfries, and listening to their views. Together, we can come up with a delivery plan for the town’s future which builds on all previous and current plans and activity. Look out for events over the coming months. We’ll also have a stall at the launch of Dumfries Market Festival on 14th March in Dumfries Town Centre, so see you there!”.

All are welcome to attend a first event on 3 March (6.30-8.30pm) at Saint George’s Church Hall, hosted by Loreburn Community Council. For more info contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The final action plan will be ready around Summer 2020. Full details of all events and progress with the project will be available on the DPAG website. Updates can be found on facebook and twitter