The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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


Ruth Davidson Unlikely To Stand Again But Hints At Openness To ‘No’ Role In Indyref2

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP has confirmed that she is very unlikely to stand at the next election but may be open to “No” role in a second independence referendum.



( Image credit: Ruari Barber-Fleming for Wigtown Book Festival)

In a wide-ranging talk at the Wigtown Book Festival she also said that she believed that the public would soon demand higher standards of public debate.

Asked if she worried about the tone of public discourse – especially on social media - she said: “Yes, I do. I personally think that it will self-right. I think there comes a point where the public of this country will be so disgusted that they will demand better.”

She went on to tell event chair Sarah Smith that she left her leadership job because she was “hopelessly conflicted by Brexit” and also wanted to spend more time being a mum.

While saying that it was true that she and Boris Johnson were “not buddy, buddy pals” she did not leave due to disagreements with him.

Turning to the issue of a future second Scottish independence referendum – she said that she hoped there would not be one. 

Asked if she would consider leading any future equivalent of Better Together Ms Davidson said: “Look, I hope there won’t be a next time … I will do what I can to stop that happening, but if it is happening there is absolutely no way that I am going to sit it out. 

“This is my country it’s what I’ve fought for, it’s what I believe in. And whether anyone wants me to hold a position or whether they want me to go round, knock doors and hand out leaflets, I’m happy doing both.”

She added: “I’ve just left a big job, I’m not angling for another, I could be yesterday’s news a week on Tuesday. I’m not going to pretend that I would be best the person for the job, if it ever happens, in ten or 15 years time, but if people want a hand then I’ll help.”

After saying that she is unsure what direction her career will take in future, it may be in business or charity, Ms Davidson added that she “was gainfully employed until May 2021”.

Asked if this meant she would not be standing for the Scottish Parliament again she said: “It’s a fairly open secret that I think I’m going to see out my term … I’m giving myself the option to change my mind but I don’t think that I will stand again.” 

Ruth Davidson was speaking at a sold out event taking place in the Festival Marquee and was followed by a book signing of Yes She Can, a book in which she interviewed inspirational women about their lives and work.

Have You Started To Prep for BREXIT?

Our round-up of Brexit planning advice from government and other organisations

It's almost here, BREXIT DAY and we have grouped all the latest details on what you can do to prepare your business for November 1st 2019. 


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has produced a leaflet providing signposting advice and key considerations for  businesses. Click here.

There’s a lot more detail in the Government’s technical notices here.

To help ypur businesses figure out exactly what information you need, the Government has developed an online Prepare for Brexit tool. Answer just a few questions to get guidance tailored to your business. Click here.

Sign up for email alerts to be notified every time the Government publishes information relating to Brexit by clicking here.

The British Chambers of Commerce has loads of information on its dedicated Brexit Hub including a Brexit checklist, no-deal guidance and research and analysis into the likely impacts of Brexit. Click here.

Lloyds Bank has put together Brexit FAQs in response to questions raised by business customers. Click here.

Make UK’s Brexit Toolkit (you must register to use it) helps businesses deal with trade and migration issues arising from Brexit. Click here.

Local line up for Kirkcudbright Food Festival - 26 / 27 October

Kirkcudbright’s food festival this October has a truly local theme, eat local, cook local, shop local and all the Chef demonstrations are by local Dumfries and Galloway chefs including the BBC Masterchef semi-finalist David Henry from Castle Douglas.

All Chef demonstrations will be held in the regions only cookery school – Station House Cookery School where the state of the art equipment and viewing gallery allows up to 50 to attend each session. Ticket prices for Chef demonstrations are priced at £5 or £15 for all day access.

The new Kirkcudbright Galleries will host a series of free “food” related talks including talks on Food Blogging, Bee Keeping and growing your own herbs and Harbour square will once again play host to the food producers market with over 40 stalls set to showcase some of our local fayre.

The full timetable of the weekend’s events are as follows:

Thursday 24th October – Gourmet and wine night at the Selkirk Arms Hotel – 7 course menu with 5 selected wines £65pp hosted by Enotria wine merchant Jason Baillie

Friday 24th October – The great Gin explosion – The Masonic Arms

Saturday 26th October 

10am Producers Market opens in the Harbour Square

11am – Session 1 at Station House Cookery School  – Melissa Maxwell

 Sous Chef – The Selkirk Arms Hotel  – Vegetarian dining  £5

11.30am  – Gallery Mezzanine – Rachael Hattersley – Healthy eating options, mind body and soul come together – our diet and how it makes us tick. FREE

11.30 – 1.30pm  Chef Masterclass with Tony Budde – Station House Cook school – Seafood Masterclass for 2 hours in the cookery school practical kitchen £10

12.30pm – Session 2 at Station House Cookery School – Will Gill

Chef / Proprietor – The Auld Alliance – Kirkcudbright Scallops – West Coast Seafood £5

2.30pm - Session 3 at Station House Cookery School – Douglas Lisi – Italian classics

Head Chef – Tigh Na Mara Hotel – Sandhead  £5

3.30pm - Gallery Mezzanine – Chat “My Story” with Tom Kirkpatrick – FREE EVENT

Local chef Tom Kirkpatrick talks about his career from working with national football teams, to top Scottish chef positions and running his own restaurant in Kirkcudbright.  FREE

4.30pm – Session 4 at Station House Cookery School – Jason Keenan – From burger van to Head Chef – Classic Scottish dishes £5

Saturday night – various events at local establishments including a Halloween Party at The Garret along with a special Food Festival Seafood menu

Sunday 27th October



10am Producers Market opens in the Harbour Square


11am Session 1 - Station House Cookery School  – Chris Walker – Chef / Proprietor– The Selkirk Arms Hotel – Kirkcudbright–  30 years in Dumfries and Galloway – some classics £5

11.30am - Chef Masterclass with Tony Budde – Station House Cook school – Seafood Masterclass for 2 hours in the cookery school practical kitchen £10

12.30pm - Gallery Mezzanine - Foraging in Galloway– lecture from  Ed Pook of Mr Pooks restaurant Castle Douglas FREE

1.30pm - Session 2 - Station House Cookery School – David Henry BBC MASTERCHEF Professional semi-finalist – Seasonal game

2.30pm - Gallery Mezzanine – “Bees, Honey and Me”  - Dave Brammer

Ever wondered what Bee Keeping was all about? Local Kirkcudbright bee keeper gives an insight into beekeeping. FREE

3.30pm - Session 3 - Station House Cookery School  – Rotary Young Chefs

Two local Kirkcudbright Academy pupils managed to get through to the Rotary International regional finals having cooked up two amazing dishes – watch them re-create them at the final demo of the day – FREE EVENT

Tickets can be booked via the Station House Cookery School Website for demonstartions, the Kirkcudbright Galleries web page for Gallery talks and The cookery school site for Tony Budde Masterclasses.

Scotland’s transport minister has agreed to meet Langholm Campaigners for the reopening of Langholm Station.

Michael Matheson MSP agreed to meet the Langholm station action group after being contacted by South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine.

Joan McAlpine MSPMs. McAlpine, an SNP MSP, said:

“I have taken a keen interest in the campaign and was delighted when a previous transport minister a couple of years ago agreed at my suggestion to include Langholm in a feasibility study about extending the Borders railway to Carlisle.

“Since then, the need for Langholm to get a connectivity boost is even greater given the move of Edinburgh Woollen Mill to Carlisle and other closures.

“But Langholm also has many historic attractions and the emergence of new small businesses which could really be boosted with a future rail link.

“At my recent surgery in Langholm I was visited by Andrew Scott of the railway action group and agreed to write to the Cabinet Secretary to once again push Langholm’s case.

“We know there is still competition from Newcastleton, but Langholm has a very strong case in terms of its size, the technical feasibility of running the line to the town, and economic opportunities.

“Also, any future extension of the Borders railway to Carlisle which didn’t include Langholm would be likely to bypass Dumfries and Galloway altogether, which would be wrong given that we are setting up an economic agency to boost the economy of the entire south of Scotland.

“I made this point to the leaders of Dumfries and Galloway council shortly after meeting with Mr. Scott and I got very positive replies from Cllr. Elaine Murray and Cllr. Rob Davidson.”

A date is currently being arrange for the meeting which will take place in the Scottish Parliament


MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine has said that SNP plans to establish a Scottish National Investment bank will help encourage economic growth across South Scotland. 

This week in Holyrood, MSPs debated the Scottish Government’s blueprint for the investment bank that will begin investing in businesses and communities from 2020 – committing to invest at least £2 billion in its first ten years. Earlier this month, the First Minister also confirmed plans for an initial investment in the bank of £130 million this year during the Programme for Government.

The bank will have an important role in helping Scotland meet its ambitious climate change targets - forming part of the SNP’s Green New Deal to kick-start investment and build the momentum needed to reduce emissions and create high quality jobs in the process.  

Joan McAlpine MSPCommenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:

“The Scottish National Investment Bank has enormous potential to transform communities here in South Scotland and ensure Scotland’s economy is fit for the future.

“Operating within a core set of principles, the bank will help us reach our world-leading climate change targets by upping investment in businesses and community projects that are looking to play their part in tackling the climate crisis.

“We know that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy in Dumfries and Galloway and this bank will become a cornerstone in Scotland’s economic architecture, supporting businesses and driving Scotland towards a low carbon economy.”