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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.

 

HARPER WELCOMES SNP GOVERNMENT AMBITIOUS PLAN TO REBUILD ECONOMY

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has welcomed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s ambitious Programme for Government aimed at ensuring a strong economic recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.  

 

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Under the commitments, all young people in Scotland aged 16 to 24 will be guaranteed a job, education, apprenticeship or formal training through a new £60 million government scheme.

By this Autumn, a £100 million Green Jobs fund will be launched to help up to 10,000 people of all ages retrain for jobs in growth sectors such as renewables.

The Scottish government has also announced a new £10 million Tenant Hardship Fund, which will open later this year and offer interest-free loans to those unable to access other forms of support for their housing costs.  

A comprehensive independent review of adult social care will also take place – setting out options for the creation of a National Care Service.

Welcoming the proposals, Ms Harper said:

“Coronavirus has been the greatest public health crisis in our lifetime – impacting our health, economy and our way of life.

“The SNP Scottish Government has made it its mission to create new jobs right across Dumfries and Galloway, and indeed Scotland. This is a Programme for Government that protects people’s livelihoods, guarantees opportunities for all our young people and points the way to a future with better, greener jobs as Scotland looks to becoming a net-zero country.

  

“We can’t simply go back to how things were – we have an opportunity to build back a fairer and better Scotland. This is why the First Minister has announced these unprecedented measures to help us reform social care, protect our young people, invest in our local economy and improve digital infrastructure – all while continuing to suppress the virus.

“As ambitious as these commitments are, the Scottish Government continues to fight Coronavirus with one hand tied behind its back. Westminster’s plans to end to the furlough scheme prematurely and crash out of the EU without a deal later this year, will be deeply damaging.  

“As an independent European nation, we could do so much more. I look forward to continue to work for constituents across Dumfries and Galloway – ensuring  that all benefit from this progressive, fair approach to government here in Scotland.”

UK Government Kickstart Scheme Launched

The government will introduce a new Kickstart Scheme to fund the direct creation of high-quality jobs for young people at the highest risk of long-term unemployment. It will give young people the chance to build their confidence and skills in the workplace and to gain experience that will improve their chances of going on to find long-term, sustainable work.

 

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

More information:

  • Grants will be around £6,500 per placement
  • There will be no cap on the number of places available and the £2.1bn will be increased if need be. It is expected that more than 250,000 placements will be funded out of the initial funding, however.
  • Funding is conditional on the firm proving these jobs are additional
  • Employers will need to provide Kickstarters with training and support to find a permanent job

The scheme will open this month, with placements starting in autumn. For more information, read the policy paper here.

Call for Communities to share their views on Town Centres

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Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), was recently appointed as a member of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan Expert Review Group and is encouraging residents, businesses and communities across the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway to give their views on their towns via a new survey just launched by the group.

On 1st July 2020, Scottish Government announced that a range of experts will build on the progress of the Scottish Government’s 2013 Town Centre Action Plan. The group is tasked with issuing its report and recommendations for consideration by the Scottish Government by the end of 2020.

Professor Griggs said: “The Expert Review Group, which I am proud to be a member of, has launched this very important survey in order to gather the vital views of local communities on the future of their towns.

“Community input is absolutely vital for the success of any future vision for town centres and we need to get this right. Now more than ever, we need to ensure there is a national vision which reflects local people’s views and ideas.

“Our communities are the life blood of our towns and villages. During this pandemic, more than ever, we have seen true community spirit shine through across Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders, and this is what we must build upon for the future of our economy and our society.

“I would really encourage as many people as possible to give their views, experiences and ideas via this survey. The aim of the Review Group is to ensure any strategy we develop has community input so we can get full support and ensure it reflects what our residents really want to see, and be part of going forward.”

You can take part in the survey here and submit your views until 30th September 2020 at 5pm.

Small Business Grant Scheme for Annan and DG12 Launched

 Dumfries and Galloway Council and Annan Regeneration Steering Group, through the Annan Solutions Team, have announced the launch of a Small Business Grant Scheme for Annan and DG12 businesses.

 The £75,000 scheme is being funded through the Magnox socio economic fund.  The scheme will run for a year and will be open for applications on 1 September 2020.

 The Annan & DG12 Small Businesses Grant Scheme offers a discretionary grant of up to £5,000 to SMEs within Annan & DG12 post code area. The purpose of which is to support and stimulate the local economy and assist with the generation of employment thus ensuring long term business sustainability.

 The grant scheme will contribute a maximum grant of 50% of the eligible project costs.  This level of funding is specific to each application and individual considerations. 

 Eligible Projects

•   Marketing and E-business initiatives to increase sales in the area and/or attract additional visitors to the area. This can include the design and production of promotional material, investment in E-business projects or bespoke solutions. IT hardware, in any guise will only be eligible as part of a broader E-business development.

•   Procurement of manufacturing and other equipment as part of business improvement and expansion planning. (Routine replacement or repair will not be eligible for support.)

•   Selection and procurement of specialist consultancy and training – this will exclude meeting regulatory or legislative requirements.

•   Improvements to supply and production processes.

•   Working capital expenditure including running costs, staff costs and purchase of stock is not eligible

 

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Rob Davidson, chair of Economy and Resources Committee says “this is wonderful news for Annan and DG12 area.  This small business grant scheme will help business grow and help create jobs.  This is another great news story for Annan and DG12.”

 

Archie Dryburgh, vice chair of Economy and Resources Committee and chair of the Chapelcross Site Stakeholder Group says, “we are delighted that Magnox have given this welcomed boost to businesses in Annan and DG12 area.”

 

Sean Marshall, Chair of the Annan Regeneration Steering Group says, “As Chairman of Annan Regeneration Steering Group I would like to commend the Annan Solutions Team for securing a business grant scheme worth £150k to local businesses. This emphasises that despite the potentially devastating impact on the UK economy due to Covid 19 we have not forgotten the equally devastating impact locally within the hardest hit area of Annan and surrounding DG12 area of the recent Pinneys closure and hopefully this will go some way to mitigating the impact the Pinneys closure has had within the immediate area.”

 

David Wallace, NDA Stakeholder Relations and Socio Economics Manager, said: “Support for this project has leveraged much-needed match-funding and will help build a sustainable future long after Chapelcross site has closed. The Magnox socio-economic scheme has provided invaluable support in the early stages of the project for small businesses, which will bring employment opportunities and attract much-needed investment to Annan and DG 12’s economy post Covid-19 lockdown.”

 

For further details on the grants scheme please contact the Annan Solutions Team on Telephone 030 3333 3000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.