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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.

 

Business Breakfast

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell was guest speaker at an early morning gathering of business people at Smiths Hotel, Gretna Green on Friday.

The former Scottish Secretary gave an insight into current developments at Westminster as well as a wide range of other issues facing businesses and residents in his diverse and geographically large constituency.

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Mr Mundell, who also took part in a Q. and A. session, praised the work of business breakfast organisers, Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce and its members.  He was thanked as guest speaker by Chamber president Kenny Bowie and service manager Lee Medd.

 

A57I0039.jpgLee Medd with David Mundell MP

DGHP Tenants Being Urged to Use Their Vote

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) tenants are being urged to use their vote from this Friday (October 18) in a ballot to decide on partnership plans with Wheatley Group. The independent ballot will see tenants decide if DGHP will form a partnership with Wheatley Group and DGHP’s Chairman, Bill Robertson, has urged tenants to vote in favour of it. He said the partnership would bring millions of pounds worth of additional investment with a host of benefits to our tenants, the local economy and the local construction industry.

Bill, who is also a tenant of DGHP, said: “I firmly believe this is a fantastic opportunity for our tenants. It is hugely important to us that this proposed partnership offers something for every tenant – in all of our towns and villages across Dumfries and Galloway.

“The benefits of the partnership speak for themselves, for example – keeping rents affordable through smaller annual increases, more investment and a new approach to delivering repairs.”

However, Bill highlighted that the partnership will only go ahead if tenants vote in the ballot – which is open from October 18 and closes on November 18.

Mary Muir, Chair of the independent Dumfries and Galloway Federation of Tenants and Residents, said: “We would really encourage tenants to use their vote from Friday – as a tenant you have a voice, so please have your say.

“From the discussions DGHP have had with tenants, we know that replacement doors and windows is a priority. These, along with other improvements to their homes, will happen sooner if the partnership goes ahead. We are particularly excited about the introduction of a free handyman service for older tenants and those with disabilities.”

There are several ways tenants can vote, making it quick and easy to make sure they have their say. Tenants will receive their independent ballot paper and letter in the post and there are details on how they can vote either by post, online or via telephone or text.

DGHP staff will also be happy to speak to tenants to explain the methods of voting. In addition, there will be videos on our website and social media clearly showing the different ways to vote.

Bill added: “I would encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote – it’s very important. The ballot is completely confidential and we won’t know how you have voted – but please make sure you use your vote. And if anyone has any concerns or questions they can contact DGHP on freephone 0800 011 3447, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or contact us through social media.”

 Lesley Baird, Chief Executive of Tenant Participation Advisory Service (Scotland) said: “Part of our role as tenant advisor is to independently assess the partnership proposals. We have examined the proposals from Wheatley and in our view they are robust and achievable and, from our analysis, they are financially robust. It is our view that the proposals offer a good deal for DGHP tenants.”

TPAS is available to offer free independent and impartial advice for tenants by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Freephone 0800 049 5761.

In summary, some of the benefits of the proposal include –

  • Lower rents than planned with increases capped at 2% a year for the next three years – creating significant savings for our tenants
  • Creating an in-house repairs workforce where local operatives will be employed directly by DGHP (rather than contractors)
  • Creation of 500 new jobs and apprenticeships
  • Enable DGHP to accelerate investment plans for things like e.g. windows, kitchens and external rendering and also provide additional investment to address issues with e.g. fencing, kerb appeal and improve communal areas
  • 1000 new homes for older people and families across the region over five years
  • Handyman service free for older and disabled tenants
  • comprehensively upgrade DGHP’s technology systems, enabling staff to provide even better, more efficient services;
  • providing a 24/7 customer contact telephone service.

Bill added: “We’ve spoken to the majority of our tenants and they’ve been very positive about this – however, now is the time to make a difference and place your vote. This is the approval stage that is required for DGHP to become part of Wheatley Group.”

 

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Scottish Conservatives Name Jack as Candidate for Dumfries & Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack has been reselected as Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for the constituency at the next General Election.

Mr Jack, who also serves in the UK Cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland, was chosen by members of the party's local branch at a special meeting in Dumfries.

He said afterwards: "It has been a great privilege to serve as MP for my home area at Westminster and I feel honoured that the local party members have again put their trust in me.

"Throughout my time as MP I've strived to be a strong advocate for our area and actively taken up issues on behalf of constituents, no matter what their political allegiance.

"I look forward to standing on my record during what has been a difficult period in national and international politics and, if re-elected, I will continue to put Dumfries and Galloway first in everything I do."

Mr Jack, who has a farming and international business background, won the Dumfries and Galloway seat from the SNP in the June, 2017 General Election with a 5,643 majority.

A native of Kirkcudbrightshire, he is married with three grown-up children and lives near Dumfries.

 

Alister Jack SOS

SCC Comment on Brexit Vote Delay

Commenting on Saturday’s Parliamentary debate, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), said:

 

 

“The Scottish Chambers of Commerce welcomes that a ‘no deal’ exit of the EU has been avoided. But in the coming days, the UK government must answer the many questions businesses are posing on the Prime Minister’s deal – and its potential impact on trade, investment, communities and jobs.

“We must not come out of the EU without a deal come the 31st of October. But nor can we continue in this endless cycle.

“More delay hurts business planning and confidence and is, frankly, damaging to the UK’s reputation on the global stage.

“Nevertheless, as frustrating as it would be to many in business, a short extension to unlock a comprehensive solution and a smooth transition is still infinitely preferable to an overnight economic shock on Hallowe’en.

‘’We urge parliamentarians to find their resolve and seek a consensus quickly. Unless there is an answer to this three-year Brexit mess, companies and the economy will continue to suffer.”

Scotland's Fastest Electric Vehicle Charger Unveiled in Gretna

IONITY, joint venture between the BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, and the Volkswagen Group with Porsche AG, has expanded its UK network with a High Power Charging station in Gretna Green. This makes it Scotland’s fastest EV charging station.

 

 

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IONITY is continuing the expansion of its UK charge network with the launch of a new station in Gretna Green. Drivers can now charge their electric cars in less than 20 minutes using renewable energy from IONITY’s High Power Chargers at Gretna Green services. IONITY is a joint venture between Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, BMW Group and the Volkswagen Group with Porsche AG, that aims to increase the feasibility and adoption of EVs by establishing convenient High Power Charging (HPC) sites across the continent. Gretna Green is the first of six stations to be launched in Scotland, becoming Scotland’s fastest charging stations.

Joined by Cllr. Campbell, Dumfries and Galloway Council Environment and Climate Champion and Colin Dugan, Motor Fuel Group’s (MFG) contract manager of the station, the opening ceremony marked a significant step toward the future of mobility in Scotland. With the latest generation of electric vehicles providing much-improved performance, efficiency and comfort, the new network will ease range anxiety for existing and potential EV owners.

IONITY’s network will establish 2400 chargers across Europe by 2020, enabling hassle-free Pan-European EV travel. With ultra-fast charging times and the selection of convenient motorway locations, IONITY’s network will make long distance journeys far more viable than much slower 50kW alternatives. The 350kW UK charging network is future-proofed, delivering infrastructure capable of charging times as low as 8 minutes, making e-mobility a convenient, reliable and everyday experience.

For all of its UK stations, IONITY’s High Power Chargers will provide every charge point with 100% renewable energy, greatly reducing the environmental impact of a journey and providing peace of mind for environmentally conscious drivers.

Cllr. Campbell, Dumfries and Galloway Council Environment and Climate Champion, said: “On 27th June 2019, Dumfries and Galloway Council made history by passing a Climate Emergency Declaration, agreeing to a 12-point plan to reduce carbon emissions in the region to net zero by 2025. We also committed to supporting communities and businesses to adapt to climate change and I’m delighted to come along and open the fastest charger in Scotland right here in our region. 

“Our declaration encompasses everything we will do to address Climate Change, building on our ongoing work already taking place within the Council, including reducing our carbon footprint and emissions by adopting electric vehicles and encouraging our staff to be more environmentally aware. We are ambitious and our goal is to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 which will contribute towards efforts worldwide to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees., but we need everyone to play their part and make changes to protect our natural environment.”

Minister of State for the Future of Transport, George Freeman MP, said: "The UK is in the vanguard of electrification of transport to reduce pollution. Through our Road to Zero Strategy we are funding major investment in vehicle charging infrastructure.

"Close collaboration with the private sector is crucial to achieving a zero-emission future and IONITY’s leadership is helping supercharge the UK’s charging infrastructure.”

Dr. Marcus Groll, COO of IONITY said, “Close collaboration with site partners like MFG is crucial to achieving a zero-emission future and IONITY’s network is finally giving EVs in the UK the kind of charging speeds their owners want.”

Alan Hutton, MFG’s Systems & Change Management Director said: “We are delighted to be extending our sustainable fuel offer to customers. The growth of the electric and hybrid vehicle market is an important part of the fuel mix going forward. MFG is determined to be at the forefront of this technology, satisfying this growing demand. The installation of these high-power chargers using renewable energy at MFG Gretna Green adds even greater momentum to the growing uptake of EV vehicles.”