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



South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has launched a major report into the economic impact of Robert Burns which has revealed the Bard is worth over £20m a year to the local economy of Dumfries and Galloway.


Joan McAlpine - Burns Report

The MSP attended the meeting along with representatives of Ellisland Museum which was highlighted in the report as a destination which could generate many more visitors with the right investment.

The report, carried out by Professor Murray Pittock of Glasgow University’s Centre for Robert Burns Studies and funded by the Scottish Government, also found that the national bard is worth over £200 million a year to the wider Scottish economy, with his brand being worth nearly £140 million annually.

The launch took place at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway as part of the annual conference of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,

“The findings of this report are very exciting and highlight how much more can be done to going forwards, not just to maximise the benefits of the Burns brand to the food and drink, retail and tourism industries but also in terms of connectivity and education.

“The study also gives us important insights into the value of cultural tourism to the Dumfries & Galloway; for example, tourists who visit for heritage and cultural reasons tend to stay longer and spend more money. We can use this knowledge to feed into our tourism strategies and help enhance Scotland’s standing as a global cultural destination. The report suggests ways we could further increase the economic benefit to Dumfries and Galloway by focussing on Burns in our tourism approach, linking ticket sales and marketing and improving connectivity.

“The report also makes some interesting practical suggestions for things we can do right away. For example it suggests changing the name of Prestwick Airport to The Robert Burns International Airport. I think this is a great idea and I fully support it. It suggests Scotland should look to Austria where Mozart related tourism and sales of everything from chocolate to beer generate billions, not millions for the economy.”

“I’ve lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament welcoming this report which I hope will lead to a debate in Parliament in time for the Bard’s anniversary on the 25th January.”

The full report can be found at this link

DGChamber Update on Non-Domestic Rates

Dear DGChamber Member,

This is an update on some important policy work we have undertaken with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, towards ensuring a business rates system that is responsive, fair, consistent and enables long-term economic growth for business communities across Scotland.

Through engagement with us, the SCC has today (15/01/20) sent a letter to all MSPs ahead of Stage 3 of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill  to express our views over a few transformative changes that have been made to the Bill through its progress in Parliament.


Levying of rates to local authorities

In its current form, the Bill sets out to devolve control of the range of rate powers to local authorities, which is currently set by the Scottish Government. As drafted, this has caused significant concern with the Bill as it stands putting national reliefs such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme and the Business Growth Accelerator in jeopardy. These changes would be transformative in nature, could create an uneven playing field for businesses and create further complexity. We are aware that there are more conversations taking place around how the localisation of powers can support economic growth, and we, alongside, SCC, are committed to detailed dialogue and meaningful conversations on local level autonomy and additional powers as possible mechanisms to support businesses in Scotland.

Changes to Scottish ratepayers appeal rights

One of the major barriers to a more flexible, responsive system outside of the revaluation cycle is the ‘material change of circumstance’ appeal law. Currently, the lack of clarity on this law in Scotland means that there is no clear resolution for firms caught up in major economic events, whether that is the 2009 recession, the latest major oil and gas downturn, or potentially, a disorderly Brexit. We called for a comprehensive independent review of this law. Instead, an amendment brought forward by the Scottish Government at Stage 2 has the effect of completely removing Scottish Ratepayers appeal rights when there is a change in economic circumstances.


New assessor powers

In addition to the damaging amendment to Scottish Ratepayers appeal rights, the new powers granted to Assessors to request information from ratepayers and other partiesare worrying. In particular, the level of penalties for non-compliance and short-time period for compliance appear extremely onerous, specifically for small business owners who often do not understand what information is being requested and for what purpose. The level of fines proposed have increased dramatically via amendments put forward by the Scottish Government at Stage 2 of the Bill.

If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to get in touch and we will continue to work to ensure that your needs and views are shared with the Scottish Government and other important stakeholders.

Kind Regards,


Kenny Bowie, DGChamber President

We're A Nation of Workaholics


Britain is a nation of workaholics, with four in 10 adults admitting they cannot leave work alone.

A study of 2,000 office workers found one in six frequently spends more than 11 hours a week working when they are away from the office, checking emails and making calls.

And while almost half say they enjoy their work, 65 per cent hate the fact they’re constantly taking it home with them.


Incredibly, just three per cent of those polled leave on time every day - and don’t need to take on additional work.

Never taking a lunch break, working on weekends and always being the last one to leave the office were identified as signs of a workaholic.


Ignoring the family, feeling anxious about not working and seeing the boss more than a partner also feature in the top 20 list.


Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries and commissioned the research, said: “It’s clear workers in Britain have a strong work ethic and often put in long hours, going beyond the call of duty for their employers.

“However, most of us are fortunate that, despite the daily grind, we do have adequate annual leave, lunch breaks and weekends away from work.

"Sadly, it’s a very different story for working animals overseas.

"Day-in, day-out, these animals work in punishing conditions, often carrying backbreaking loads, with no holidays, retirement or the rest they need.”


The study also found a third of Brits think they would be considered a workaholic by others.

More than a quarter of those polled have experienced waking up in the middle of the night thinking about work, with one in five admitting to checking their emails in bed.

A third also check their emails as soon as they wake up - with 57 per cent taking a sneaky peak across the weekend, and 30 per cent checking them throughout the night.

About one in 10 have also admitted to taking a work call at an inappropriate time such as a wedding, funeral or even during sex.

Despite attempting to spend quality time with those closest to them, one in five adults will take a work call or check emails while they're with their nearest and dearest.

Unable to leave work alone, 16 per cent admitted they can't eat a meal without checking emails and as a result of working so hard, one in five have suffered a health problem.

Despite having contracted hours, nearly a third of adults will work over these four to five days per week.

Last-minute demands, peace of mind knowing a task is done and employers dishing out unreasonable workloads are among the most common reasons for staying late at work.

And nearly a quarter will work that little bit extra simply to avoid issues with their boss.

After all the hard work, many agreed that it has taken its toll on their relationships - with one in five prioritising work over their personal life.

Interestingly, just over 30 per cent think the work they do is worth the sacrifices they make at home.

Showing next level commitment, one in four admitted they would put their own health at risk to complete a work task - though 66 per cent said impacting their health for a job is simply one step too far.

Despite all this effort, nearly half of respondents said they don't think the additional hours they put in each week would benefit their career progression.

Geoffrey Dennis of SPANA added: “Being overworked can clearly have some very negative consequences, impacting everything from mental and physical health to quality of relationships.

“Many workers are showing real dedication and hard graft, and it’s not without sacrifices.

"Thankfully, there is an increasing focus on work-life balance, and a recognition that taking time to reset and recover is beneficial all round.

“Getting the work-life balance right is a challenge, but leisure time is not a luxury enjoyed by working animals overseas.

"Working horses, donkeys, camels and other animals in developing countries often endure short, painful lives -  working every day in extreme environments.

“That’s why SPANA’s work is so important - ensuring that the welfare of working animals is improved and that they receive the veterinary treatment they urgently need when they are sick or injured.”


1. Never taking a lunch break
2. Working on weekends
3. Always being the last to leave the office
4. Waking in the night thinking about work
5. You can’t stop yourself checking your emails on your phone while in front of the TV
6. Always taking your work laptop on holiday with you
7. Always being the first in the office
8. You check your emails in the middle of the night
9. Never ignoring calls from clients, even in personal time
10. Phoning into work on your day off to check everything is okay
11. Never ignoring a call from the boss, even in personal time
12. Feeling anxious and uneasy when not working
13. Ignoring your family when they are talking to you because you’re working
14. Your partner regularly accuses you of working all the time
15. Regularly missing the children’s parents evening and sports days
16. Waking long before your alarm clock worrying about the day ahead
17. You work even when watching your child at their various sports or clubs
18. Your children pick up on the fact you are working all the time
19. Offering to cover for people when it isn’t your turn to work
20. You see your boss more than you see your partner

Study Reveals Workers Are Too Tired For Life


A study of 2,000 adults found exercise and tidying are among the activities most likely to be avoided due to feeling fatigued.




Half also admitted to ordering a takeaway instead of cooking because they were drained from their day, while almost a quarter have slept in make-up as they were too tired to remove it before bed.

And three in 10 have even cancelled a date or social event.

Other activities adults avoid due to tiredness including washing their hair, going to the pub and driving.

It also emerged that people rely on sugary snacks, coffee and naps to give themselves a much-needed burst.

A quarter have tried to wake up by taking a shower, an eighth have listened to loud music and three in 10 have gone for a walk outdoors.

Julia Cameron-Wallace, from Spatone, which commissioned the research, said: “Tiredness is clearly taking its toll on adults and as a result we’re missing out on activities, social events and healthy lifestyles.

“Turning to sugar is a short-term solution and will only last a few hours before you start feeling tired again later in the day.

“This time of year, when the January blues have kicked in and the days are dark, is when we realise that we need to keep ourselves alert.

“We want to encourage Brits to release their body’s natural energy while keeping healthy and at their best throughout the day.

“Iron is an important mineral which helps support energy and reduces fatigue.”

The study also found the average Brit moans about being tired three times a day and feels their energy levels are at their lowest at 2.43pm, when the afternoon slump kicks in.

In comparison, the highest energy levels are felt at 10.28am.

Additionally, Saturdays are day of the week Brits feel most awake, in contrast to Mondays, which are unsurprisingly the biggest struggle.

During the week, the average adult has three power naps and feels they have ‘no energy at all’ four times out of the seven days.

It also emerged tiredness has led to two in five eating junk food, 31 per cent arguing with their partner, and a quarter in tears.

Similarly, an eighth have fallen asleep at work and four in 10 have been told they look ‘grumpy’.

Fatigue has resulted in three in 10 Brits feeling forgetful and emotional, while a quarter find it leads to anxiousness.

Though 64 per cent of people are aware of the effect of iron intake on energy levels, worryingly, three quarters feel they don’t get enough of the mineral in their diet.

But while a quarter of Brits put exhaustion down to their working hours, stress levels and rainy or dark weather, a fifth have been so worried about how tired they feel that they have visited a doctor or a health professional.

More than half said being tired affects their whole mood and a third wish there were more natural solutions to gain energy.

Of those polled, via OnePoll, 41 per cent have been told they look tired in the past year, with the majority of comments coming from a partner, and a third have been told so by their friends.


1. Exercising in general
2. Tidying a room in the house
3. Having sex
4. Putting clothes away in the wardrobe
5. Cooking dinner
6. Going for a walk
7. Going to social events in general
8. Doing the washing up
9. Going to the gym
10. Going to a friend’s house
11. Going food shopping
12. Going for a run
13. Going to the pub
14. Going out for a meal
15. Washing their hair
16. Reading a book
17. Showering
18. Answering the phone
19. Going to the cinema
20. Driving
21. Brushing their teeth
22. Emptying the dishwasher
23. Removing their make up
24. Prepping packed lunches
25. Applying their make up
26. Talking to their partner
27. Straightening their hair
28. Going to work
29. Hosting dinner
30. Going on a date

Looking for a new job? Create The Perfect CV

An interactive guide to creating the perfect CV has been launched as the UK heads into the busiest job-hunting period of the year.




The visual highlighting the dos and don’ts of resume writing has been created to help guide job seekers in January as they look for a fresh start.

It was designed after a study found just under a tenth of CV-readers hate layouts which are too complicated to actually read, while one in five would be turned off by a rude or inappropriate email address.

The research polled 1,000 UK adults who oversee hiring at their company and found it takes them just 34 seconds to decide if someone’s CV is worth closer inspection.

Commissioned by Adecco Retail, the insight also found including a selfie, rambling across more than two pages of A4 - and sharing unusual hobbies are among the biggest CV faux pas.

Other no-nos include using clichés like ‘I always go the extra mile’ and having inexplicable gaps in your career history.

Shelley Preston, head of Adecco Retail, said: “Your CV is your door opener and it has to be accurate.

“Recruiters will see dozens - if not hundreds - of applications and while it’s important your CV stands out, you want it to be for the right reasons.

“The first step is making sure everything is spelt perfectly, because errors like that show you’re likely to have similar low standards in your career.”

The study also found more than a third said telling an obvious fib on a CV will see it filed in the bin, and just over one in 20 don’t want to see social media handles included.

And a fifth have even been amazed after an applicant got their company’s name wrong when applying for the job.

However, just under six in 10 have made an initial negative judgement on a CV, only for the candidate to turn out to be better than expected.

On the other hand, three quarters have had an applicant turn in a brilliant resume, only to be hopeless once they’d landed the job, according to the OnePoll research.

Half of those polled admitted that a candidate who had a perfectly written CV but didn’t seem like a perfect fit for a job would most likely be invited for an interview anyway.

But four in 10 say a single typo on an otherwise perfect application would hold them back from offering that person an interview.

And on average, for every 10 CVs the average employer looks at, four of them will contain a typo or spelling mistake.

The problem could be generational, as 53 per cent agree that young people today are more likely to have a ‘terrible’ CV, compared to a decade ago.

Around half even admitted to having a CV come their way with an error on it so hilarious, they were moved to print it out and show it to their colleagues.

It also emerged one in 10 experts in perusing job applications describe themselves as ‘extremely good’ at spotting a lie on a CV, and 55 per cent have called someone out on a fib.

As many as four in 10 of these truth-benders admitted to the falsehood, while 55 per cent attempted to blag their way out of the situation.

Adecco Retail’s Shelley Preston added: “Your CV needs to be a true and accurate reflection of yourself and your work experience.

“It really does make the difference between securing your dream role and not, so it’s integral that it only contains relevant detail, is kept concise and includes no grammatical errors.

“Many jobs are in high demand, so you need to ensure you stand out from the crowd right at the start of the hiring process, and a well formatted CV is the way to do it”.

The interactive CV can be viewed here – 


  1. Telling lies
  2. Spelling errors
  3. Including a selfie as a picture
  4. Having a rude or inappropriate email address
  5. General typos
  6. Punctuation or grammar mistakes
  7. Using clichés like 'always go the extra mile'
  8. Including a picture generally
  9. Never holding a single job for more than three months
  10. No contact details
  11. Getting a company's name wrong
  12. Suspiciously long gaps between jobs
  13. Going across more than two pages of A4
  14. CVs which aren't CVs such as a website or blog instead of a printed CV
  15. Layouts which are hard to understand/read
  16. Having hobbies which don't constitute as hobbies such as 'hanging out with friends'
  17. Including social media profiles/handles/links
  18. Not having any references included
  19. Using big fonts or strange layouts to make the CV look longer than it is
  20. Including part-time jobs which are no longer relevant