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East Renfrewshire Business News
EAST RENFREWSHIRE BUSINESS WEEK, JUNE 5–9
Friday, 19th May 2017

SCOTTISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE OPENS NEW TRADE OFFICE IN YANTAI, CHINA
Wednesday, 17th May 2017

New alliances created with key developing cities in China as part of trade visit

Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has announced the official opening of a new International Trade Office in the city of Yantai, China, as part of a trade mission by a Chambers’ delegation to explore new trading opportunities and links with business, education and government organisations.

The formal opening ceremony was hosted by the Vice Mayor Madame Zhang Bo, together with senior officials from Yantai Municipal Government. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding for trade engagement and partnership, designed to achieve an effective channel for exchange of business between Scotland and Yantai.

The Scottish delegation, led by SCC’s new President, Tim Allan and CEO Liz Cameron, comprised Presidents and CEOs from Chambers throughout Scotland: Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Dundee & Angus, Glasgow, Edinburgh and West Lothian. They were accompanied by senior business executives, including entrepreneur David Valentine of Valentine International, and former SCC Chair Nora Senior, UK Chair of international PR company Weber Shandwick, who have had a presence working in China for over 25 years.

During the trade visit, which was six months in the planning, SCC held a series of productive meetings with senior business people, highly influential politicians and local government officials including Vice Governor Wang Shujian, as well as national ‘think tanks’ bodies in Beijing, Yantai and Jinan in the Shandong Province

President Tim Allan commented: “The Chinese economy continues to grow at a faster pace than western economies and the rate of growth within new cities such as Yantai and Jinan opens up the potential for Scottish businesses to promote and sell goods and services which Chinese businesses Chinese businesses and consumers want and need. That demand, together with a more recent policy of ‘opening up’ to new trading partners and overseas alliances by the Chinese, presents a myriad of opportunities for Scottish businesses to capitalise on.

“The aim of our mission was to strengthen relationships and increase engagement with existing and new contacts in sectors where there are direct B2B or knowledge-share opportunities for Scottish companies. Yantai is a city of 7 million and SCC’s base in Yantai will enable us to plan a comprehensive approach to exploiting the many opportunities in Yantai and further afield.”

Shandong Province represents the third largest economy in China with a population of over 97 million and a GDP in excess of 6.3 trillion yuan (£0.7 trillion). It is China’s best wine growing region accounting for over 25% of all wine production. Yantai is the biggest trading port in North China and in 2016, the city imported over $19 billion (£14.7 billion) of goods and services.

The city of Jinan is home to one of the first national high-tech business incubators and since its foundation in 2002, it has incubated more than 1,000 small and medium sized science and technology enterprises. It focuses on cultivating fast-growing sectors such as biomedicine, ecommerce, energy, environmental protection and new materials.

Key sectors for Scottish interest to meet key economic needs in the Chinese target cities include: electronic information, robotics and artificial intelligence, pharmaceutical, bioscience, R &D, manufacturing, engineering and smart technologies, energy including upstream and downstream products and services, logistics, agriculture, food and drink, and indeed football management.

The accelerated growth of consumers in Shandong province also opens opportunities in consumer goods, recreation and tourism services, financial and professional services and education.

Chief Executive, SCC, Liz Cameron OBE said: “This exploratory visit is part of the new partnership which was formed between Scottish business, through our extensive Chamber network, and the Scottish Government to utilise the world-wide connectivity of the business community. We now have a deeper understanding of how we can achieve the best exchange for business, where the opportunities exist for Scottish organisations and how we can best pursue these.

“We have also identified several potential opportunities for inward investment into Scotland and will be working with Scottish Government and SDI as well as other trade organisations to explore these and leverage the momentum of change within China.

“Our next steps will be to undertake a deep dive of companies based in Scotland who have products, skills and expertise which have the potential to be exported to the Shandong Province area. Our aim is to add impetus to the Scottish economy by assisting companies who have not previously thought about exporting to grasp the potential that international trade offers.

“The new more open trading environment in fast growing cities such as Yantai, Jinan and the wider Shandong Province, together with the practical advice and direct B2B links Chambers now have within this market, will facilitate more effective trading partnership opportunities for Scottish businesses and educational institutions.”

SCC intends to return to Shandong Province later this year to conclude discussions on further Memorandums of Understanding and explore new ways to foster co-operation between the two countries.

Chambers in Scotland have already led trade missions to Italy, Iceland, Iran, Germany and the US, with further country visits planned this year to a number of key destinations.
SUBDUED SCOTTISH ECONOMY NEEDS CLEAR STEER FROM GOVERNMENT
Friday, 21st April 2017

Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Indicator engages with five of Scotland’s key business sectors: Construction, Financial and Business Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale, and Tourism.

These findings, released in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute show the position of businesses for the first quarter of 2017. In the wake of the surprising figures released by the Scottish Government earlier this month which showed that the Scottish economy contracted at the end of last year, all eyes will be examining these results for signs of Scotland’s economic prospects.

Neil Amner, Chair of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Economic Advisory Group, said:

“In January, our survey warned that Scotland’s economy stood on a knife edge and these latest figures point to continued subdued performance in the early part of this year. However, the picture across the various sectors is less even than it was at the end of 2016, with the manufacturing sector recording very encouraging results, again driven by exports. The financial and business services sector has also rebounded significantly from its position at the beginning of 2016, though this is at least in part as a result of a significant improvement in the prospects of oil and gas service sector businesses from a low base.

“The outlook for construction is again fairly flat and performance in both retail & wholesale and in tourism looks to be negative in comparison to the same period last year, though the first quarter has in the past proved to be a difficult period seasonally for both sectors.

“Warning signs continue to be manifested in terms of higher prices; for example, the retail and wholesale sector has reported its highest prediction of price rises since the third quarter of 2011: a time when inflation stood at over 5%. There are also worrying signs of declining investment trends, particularly in the tourism sector, which has suffered as a result of this year’s business rates revaluation.

“Uncertainty is the word that is on everyone’s lips. Whether as a result of Brexit, the upcoming General Election, or the prospect of a Scottish independence referendum, it is certainly a feature of business life in Scotland at the moment. To help businesses to deal with that and to get back to investment and job creation, we need a clear steer from our Governments north and south of the border that business success is a clear priority. As we approach a General Election, we expect the political parties to pledge targeted tax cuts, potentially including a temporary cut in VAT, in order to bolster consumer demand.”
Invite to Community Benefits Business Networking Event - 4 May
Wednesday, 19th April 2017

As part of East Renfrewshire Council’s Community Benefits commitment they encourage companies to engage with supported businesses, employability providers and third sector organisations to benefit individuals with barriers to employment.

You are invited to an afternoon networking session at the new Eastwood Health Centre catered by The Greenhouse Café, a community interest company that runs a supported employability programme for adults with learning disabilities as part of their contract with the East Renfrewshire Community Health Care Partnership.

You will hear from Steven Jacobs who established the café in the new health centre, on how he partnered with the Council to create this first programme of its kind for adults with learning disabilities. The business has been such a success that he is now looking to expand in other areas.

You will also hear from Geoff Leask, Chief Executive from Young Enterprise Scotland, who runs YES Works based at Rouken Glen Park on how companies can engage with the Social Enterprise to benefit young people with barriers to work. YES Works is an Award Recognised Social Enterprise that delivers premium quality Landscape Gardening services to local authorities, housing associations, business as well as private homes in the West of Scotland.

If you are interested in finding out how your company could offer opportunities to people with barriers to work including learning disabilities please RSVP by 27 April to lorna.wallace@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk

Venue: Eastwood Health Centre, Drumby Cres, Clarkston, Glasgow G76 7HN
Date: 4 May 2017
Time: 3-5pm

Some further information on the Greenhouse Cafe
www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/news/greenhouse-cafe-is-a-first-1-4210989

Some further information on YES Works
http://yesworks.org.uk/about.php
SCOTTISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES NEW PRESIDENT
Wednesday, 5th April 2017

Top Scottish entrepreneur, Tim Allan, appointed as President of SCC

Scottish Chambers of Commerce announces the appointment of Tim Allan as its new President, taking on the role from Nora Senior who stands down after four years in office. Tim Allan will serve in the non-exec post from April 2017 to March 2019.

· Tim Allan is the Chief Executive of Unicorn Property Group, an award winning Scottish property company and is the Founder and Director of Motor Fuel Group, the second largest independent fuel retailer in the UK with more than 370 stations, turning over £2bn per year.
· Tim also serves as Member on the Court of the University of St. Andrew's and was previously President of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce and Chair of Young Enterprise Scotland.
· Tim is a recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Commenting on his appointment as the new SCC President, Tim Allan, said:
"I have long been a proud advocate of the role Chambers of Commerce play in Scotland and around the world and it is a great honour for me to take on the role of President during this critical time for the business community. Across Scotland, businesses are working hard to grow, to keep jobs secure and tap into new markets, and I look forward to utilising my role as President to champion the needs of business and showcase the contributions we make to Scotland's economy.

"The core part of my role will be informed by tackling the key challenges facing the economic landscape of our country: navigating through an uncertain and ever-shifting investment environment, the need to create a flexible, skilled workforce suited to a modern economy and increasing Scotland’s exporting performance. I look forward to working with both the Scottish and UK Governments to ensure that they provide a platform for the Scottish business community to grow. In turn, Scottish Chambers of Commerce will share business insights with the decision-makers to ultimately ensure that business growth and securing a solid economy are at the top of our Governments’ agendas."

Nora Senior, outgoing President of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

"It has been a privilege to serve as President over the past four years during a time of change and turbulence for business. During my time as President, my business priorities focused on making it simpler for companies to do business internationally, to bring business and education together in true collaboration and raise the profile of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce as a global business network. I believe there has been a significant positive shift in each of these areas with a number of key initiatives now underway led by the Chamber Network in Scotland.

"I am proud of the progress we have made for our young people in Scotland through the Developing Young Workforce groups, the increased opportunities for businesses to trade overseas through the international Chambers of Commerce Network and growing our B2B support through Business Mentoring, which now has over 1,000 experienced business people acting as mentors for ambitious businesses. These are important initiatives which will have a positive impact on business development, skills and economic growth.

Chambers of Commerce are a strong representative voice for business and I look forward to SCC going from strength to strength under Tim's leadership."

Nora Senior is Executive Chair of global communications company, Weber Shandwick, which has over 126 offices in 81 countries.

Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Tim's wealth of experience in the private sector and in his additional interests, will bring great value to Scottish Chambers of Commerce and we look forward to working with Tim as we take on the big challenges and opportunities facing our economy.

"On behalf of the Chamber Network, I would like to thank Nora for her spirit of dynamism and entrepreneurialism, which played a pivotal role in achieving key wins for the Scottish business community, particularly in skills and international trade."

Click to download more information >
PROPOSALS FOR A NEW ERCC WEBSITE
Wednesday, 5th April 2017

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce (ERCC) are seeking proposals for a new website. The developer must demonstrate how the site will effectively capture online search from businesses and business support organisations in East Renfrewshire, and convert those searches into membership registrations as the primary conversion goal. Functionally the new website should include CMS, online membership and event registration and associated database, event booking and payment functionality, and member only area, is required for the membership organisation. A Website Brief is in the attached document and tenders are requested by Thursday 13th April at 5pm

Click to download more information >
SCC RESPONSE TO THE TRIGGERING OF ARTICLE 50
Thursday, 30th March 2017

· There has been enough speculation and talk. Entering the process of detailed negotiations will ultimately reduce business uncertainty.
· The priorities of business must be the starting point for negotiations.
· The abundance of expertise in the private sector throughout the United Kingdom and internationally must be utilised.
· It is critical for Government to continue to communicate but business understands that the negotiations will be sensitive and fluid

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been triggered, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“This decision brings greater certainty. What is now required is for Government to prioritise the needs of business and our economy in the negotiations ahead. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network has been clear in terms of our focus on these negotiations. Business wants to see tariff-free access to the EU single market, with regulatory barriers kept to a minimum; we need urgent clarity of the status of EU workers in the UK and UK workers in the EU; and we need confirmation on the future of tax legislation, especially VAT, and positive outcomes on negotiations on continued access to, or the replacement of, EU funding mechanisms.

"There is a wealth of business experience that must be tapped if the UK is to achieve the best possible deal over the coming years and both Governments must continue engaging and involving business in this process, as it finally gets underway.

“Equally, while Brexit is vitally important to Scottish businesses, our governments cannot afford to lose sight of domestic issues. That is why issues like Scotland’s ongoing Enterprise and Skills Review and the UK Industrial Strategy must continue to receive the attention they deserve from our politicians.”
Vacancies for new Board Members
Thursday, 23rd March 2017

Do you have an interest in our work and could spare a couple of hours every month? Then we would like to hear from you. Full training provided.

We are looking to recruit new members to its main governing Board and subsidiary Board who are:

  • Keen and enthusiastic individuals with an interest in the communities we work within;

  • Have an interest in housing, regeneration, finance, business, or the community

  • Have an interest in the development of new build affordable social housing.

  • Have an interest in partnership working through collaboration with our key partners

  • We are particularly interested in increasing Board representation from younger people, or from females, and from our local tenant or owners

Barrhead Housing Association is a registered social landlord and a Scottish charity, providing over 925 rented properties within East Renfrewshire. The Association set up a subsidiary company, Levern Property Services in 2011, principally to expand factoring services to local owners both residential, third sector and commercial; in addition the subsidiary will look at expanding the aims of the Association through employment opportunities and delivering extended services to customers.
We are looking to complement both our governing Board with the appointment of interested individuals who could offer assistance with our activities as a social landlord, and/or have an interest in our subsidiary expansion.

For more information please contact Shirley Robison, Chief Executive on enquiries@barrheadha.org or on 0141 881 0638 or call into our office 60-70 Main Street, Barrhead G78 1SB for a chat. Closing date for applications 30th April 2017.

Website – www.barrheadha.org
Registered Charity No. SC 036265
SCC COMMENT ON THE FIRST MINISTER’S STATEMENT
Wednesday, 15th March 2017

- Certainty, stability and confidence are the “watch-words” for the business community and must be for Scottish & UK Governments too
- Scottish Chambers of Commerce network will continue our process of engagement with businesses across Scotland to understand how the prospect of a second independence referendum could affect them and how their voices can be most effectively articulated during this process

Commenting on the First Minister’s statement this morning regarding Scotland’s future relationship with the UK and Europe, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It is welcome that the First Minister has indicated that the Scottish Government will continue to engage with the political process around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. These are vital years ahead for the future of the UK and Scottish economy and it is crucial that Scotland has a voice at the centre of this process.

“Scotland has been through two referendums and two major elections over the past three years, and there is no doubt that this period of continual uncertainty has had a material impact upon businesses in Scotland. These are real and present business issues that are affecting business decisions and investment. A further referendum on Scotland’s independence would be no different, and the more that can be done to mitigate the duration of this uncertainty for business, the better. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network will continue our process of engagement with businesses across Scotland to understand how this prospect could affect them and how their voices can be most effectively articulated during this process.

“In the current circumstances, businesses need as much certainty, stability and confidence as possible and it is the role of our Governments to provide it. The message from Scottish Chambers of Commerce members has been clear and consistent – our priority must be to create the conditions that will enable businesses to thrive. That means focus and resources must be directed towards greater strategic infrastructure investment, developing the skills we need to sustain growth, fair business taxation that does not limit entrepreneurship and investment and clear guidance on entering and trading in overseas markets – all of which must have a clear evidential basis. These are the priorities for business and must be for our Governments too.”
SCC RESPONSE TO THE SPRING BUDGET
Thursday, 9th March 2017

Scottish Government must use some of the £350 million additional funds to invest in social care skills and to bridge skills gaps

Rise in self-employed NI and reduction in dividend allowance will make life more difficult for those who set themselves up in business

North Sea long life asset tax review is a good start

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“With many of this budget’s key announcements having been trailed in advance, this was a budget which contained few surprises. From a business perspective, there were both positives and negatives but the Scottish Government has a major opportunity to put the £350 million additional funding from this Budget to good use in growing the Scottish economy.”

Liz Cameron went on to comment on specific aspects of the Budget:

On the Ł350 million of additional funding for the Scottish Government:

“This additional funding needs to be invested wisely. The Scottish Government could use some of these resources to support businesses in the social care sector, to invest in the training and recruitment of more home care workers, and to support new businesses to be set up in this area.

“The Scottish Government could also consider using this funding towards developing and upskilling existing employees, particularly for those over the age of 25, to help fill the major skills gaps. We must also develop the skills of our unemployed and underemployed and ensure that these talents can make an effective contribution to our economy in areas such as digital, engineering, and many others.”

On changes to National Insurance rates for the self-employed:

“The Chancellor may paint this as a move towards the equalisation of tax rates between the employed and self-employed but the reality is that this is a tax increase on the self-employed at a time of economic uncertainty. Coupled with the decision to reduce the tax-free dividend allowance for businesses from Ł5,000 to Ł2,000 from April next year, these are measures that will make life that little bit more difficult for individuals and businesses.”

On Oil and Gas:

“The Chancellor’s confirmation that an expert advisory panel is being set up to consider how the fiscal regime can support the transfer of late life assets is a welcome first step towards ensuring that the North Sea sustains its economic contribution in the long term and maximises the recovery in the nearer term. Our hope is that not only will the expert report be available by the time of the Autumn Budget but that concrete measures will be announced at that time too.”
Leaders Lunch Webinars FREE for members
Wednesday, 22nd February 2017

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce will host an exciting, unique new series of Leaders Lunch Webinars for its members from March to June 2017.

The online events will be based on the topic of Business Growth and each will focus on growth from a different perspective including models of growth, growth though digital, organic, or acquisition, and the risks and realities of growth. Each event (all held on Tuesday lunchtimes at 1pm) will involve a conversation with a successful business or experts on their particular route to growth. Participants include;

7th Mar Business Gateway – models of growth
14th Mar Google – Growth through Digital
21st Mar Wise Property Group – Growth through Acquisition
9th May – Organic Growth
23rd May - Risks and realities of Growth

Members will be able to join the webinars with the business experts via a an invite to a Skype for Business online meeting, for which an email link will be sent to you prior to the first event on 1pm Tue 7th March and last 20-30 minutes. You will be able to listen to the 20 minute interview with 10 min of Q&A through the messaging service.

Join the online event by running the link emailed to you within the calendar invite. Please test the web link at least 1 day before the event as the web link will take 15 minutes to download. This will not install Skype for Business but will allow you to join the online event. You only have to do this once and all subsequent webinars will be available by a single click of your mouse.
RATES CAP A GOOD START BUT ANOMALIES MUST BE ADDRESSED
Tuesday, 21st February 2017

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s deal on business rates for the north east and the hospitality sector, announced today, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s recognition that this year’s business rates revaluation is causing major problems for a large number of Scottish businesses. This announcement of additional support measures for certain sectors and parts of the country are to be welcomed and will deliver much needed support when it is most needed.

“What it doesn’t do, however, is get to the root of the problem. That is why Scottish Chambers of Commerce has proposed a full expert review of the methodology of valuations in the hospitality, motor trade and energy sectors, with a view to ensuring that every business in Scotland can be confident that it is subject to a correct business rates valuation of its premises. This would complement the ongoing work of the Barclay Review of Business Rates, which is a more general and less technical appraisal of the system.

“The Scottish Government’s additional measures, together with such an expert review and the Barclay Review of business rates can combine to enable long-overdue change to the structure of Scotland’s outdated business rates regime. Scotland’s business community stands ready to assist in making reform work.”
VACANCY – WOMENS MENTORING PERSON
Friday, 3rd February 2017

Scottish Chambers of Commerce are about to launch a new pilot programme in partnership with Women’s Enterprise Scotland and the Scottish Government.
SCC submitted a proposal (2016) to develop a new mentoring programme aimed specifically at female led businesses who were already successful, perhaps employing themselves, and/or a few others, who may have the potential to scale-up. SCC envisage that the support may be broader than only mentoring as it will be driven by “need” of the individual and potential growth of the business. Work already started in 2016 on website production and we already have in place a specialist Advisory Committee. This support will be available across Scotland.

SCC is now looking to recruit an individual who will develop this exciting new business support intervention in partnership with Women’s Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Government and others. This appointment will be for a six month period. Part-time options and a suitable secondee from the network would be considered.

A copy of both the Job Description and Person Specification are available to download below . Interested applicants should forward their CV with a covering statement as to what they will bring to this exciting new but potentially growing commercial opportunity by emailing Janette.young@hrroutes.com no later than Monday 13th February, 2017, with interviews scheduled week commencing 20th February, 2017.

Click here to download the Women's Mentoring Job Description >

Click here to download the Women's Mentoring Person Specification >
SCOTTISH BUDGET BILL: GROWTH, NOT TAX, IS THE ANSWER
Wednesday, 1st February 2017

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament’s debate on the Budget Bill on Thursday 2 February, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have warned over any moves to increase the Draft Budget’s tax plans even further. Commenting, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:

“When the Scottish Government set out its Draft Budget in December, businesses were nervous about the dangerous precedent that would be set through plans to create a differential between Income Tax bandings north and south of the border. Whilst these plans may seem modest in year one, the gap is set to widen over time, creating a further barrier to Scottish business competitiveness, threatening jobs, and damaging Scotland’s attractiveness to inward investors.

“Now there appears to be a possibility that Scotland’s politicians may consider even more punitive Scottish tax rises in order to secure the passage of the Budget Bill. Such a move could prove to be highly dangerous at a time where Scotland’s economy is growing at a third of the rate of the UK as a whole.

“Businesses are already faced with a business rates revaluation that will be hard felt in some of our key sectors and regions, and the new Apprenticeship Levy, due to hit larger businesses in April. The last thing they need at this time of finely balanced challenge and opportunity is the prospect of even more tax rises.

“The Scottish Parliament has a new and enhanced position of responsibility in terms of tax in Scotland. The sooner our politicians realise that supporting economic growth, rather than hiking up taxes, is the route towards increasing revenues and improving investment in key services, the quicker Scotland will prosper.”
SCC COMMENT ON SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT ON ARTICLE 50
Thursday, 26th January 2017

Commenting on the decision of the Supreme Court to compel the UK Government to seek the approval of Parliament before invoking Article 50 and the UK Government’s response to this, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Many businesses that we speak to are becoming increasingly tired of the legal and political machinations around the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. What they are interested in are the practicalities of what this will mean for their business and their future planning.

“The UK Government has stated that it intends to bring forward urgent legislation to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court on procedures but that it retains the same expectations of timescales in terms of the triggering of Article 50 by the end of March 2017. If this is the case, then business assumptions are unlikely to change in the short term.

“Withdrawing from the EU is an unprecedented process and, naturally, it is accompanied by a high degree of uncertainty; nevertheless, that is what last year’s referendum bound our politicians to do. What business asks is that they undertake this task in a planned and consultative manner, focusing on the practical risks and opportunities for business and minimising market volatility as far as is possible.”
SCC COMMENT ON LATEST SCOTTISH ECONOMIC DATA
Friday, 20th January 2017

Commenting on the publication of new data on Scotland’s unemployment and economic growth, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

On Scottish unemployment:

“The bad news is that Scotland continues to underperform the UK in terms of both unemployment and employment rates. In particular, between 2015 and 2016, Scotland’s employment rate has fallen, whereas the UK rate has risen steadily. It is clear that much of the reason for this has been the downturn in the oil and gas sector and its knock-on effect upon the rest of our economy, since this forms a larger proportion of the Scottish economy than it does for the UK as a whole. We are hopeful that this decline has begun to bottom out and that an eventual recovery may be on the horizon but if Scotland’s businesses are to invest and grow, then Government needs to ensure that we have the most competitive business environment in the UK.”

On Scottish GDP:

“It is very disappointing that Scotland’s economic growth slowed in the third quarter of 2016 and continues to trail the UK as a whole, where growth remained steady during the same period. Over the year as whole, Scotland’s growth has been 0.7%, compared to a far healthier UK rate of 2.2%. Scottish Government actions must be aimed squarely at increasing this rate of growth and utilising the powers at its disposal to support businesses, giving them the edge over businesses in other parts of the UK and enabling them to grow. As the Scottish Parliament prepares to debate the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget for the year ahead, we would ask our politicians to consider carefully whether each measure proposed will make it easier for businesses to succeed, or make it more difficult. Scotland has more devolved economic powers than ever and they must be used effectively to deliver the business growth we so badly need.”
2017: ‘SAME AS USUAL’ NO LONGER AN OPTION
Friday, 20th January 2017

Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Indicator engages with five of Scotland’s key business sectors: Construction, Financial and Business Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale, and Tourism.

These findings, released in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute show the position of businesses for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Neil Amner, Chair of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Economic Advisory Group, said:

"Our latest economic data shows that many Scottish businesses will have a successful 2017, with business optimism remaining positive for many sectors. This is good news for the economy, particularly as we continue to deal with international uncertainty and domestic issues including a rating revaluation and a potential divergence of Income Tax between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

"Tourism has shown particularly encouraging results with excellent visitor numbers, but this does not yet seem to be translating into profits as 2016 drew to a close. Manufacturers have reported their strongest trend in new orders since 2014 and remain optimistic that new jobs will be created in the sector.

"Construction is expecting a slight dip in investment but private commercial work continues to be a growth area. Financial & Business Services experienced a marginal growth in sales, although the expected growth in employment has not yet materialised. Sales growth in Retail met expectations but a decline is expected in 2017, partly attributed to price increases and the channel shift from high street to digital.

"The overall business mood remains positive but firms expect business growth to be challenged by rising prices, tightening of cash flow and profitability, higher import costs impacted by exchange rates and a likely increase of inflation as the year goes on. On the converse side, exporters are continuing to report a healthy growth in trade, though perhaps not quite matching up to their initial expectations.

"Optimism could hardly be more finely balanced and anything that rocks the boat could change the glass from half full to half empty. Business success in 2017 will largely depend upon the ability of firms to manage costs and for consumer demand to remain strong in the face of pressures to real incomes. April’s business rates revaluation will produce winners and losers and already we are hearing of businesses whose rates bills are likely to quadruple – adding substantially to the costs of doing business. Equally, businesses are assessing the long term implications of a potential growing divergence of Income Tax burdens north and south of the border.

"2017 must be a watershed year for the way in which Scotland deals with business taxation and the outcome of the business rates review, expected in the summer, must herald the beginning of a new and fair deal for Scotland’s businesses. It is time for Government to focus on practical and innovative ways to help businesses to succeed. Doing things the way they have always been done is no longer an option."
SCC COMMENT ON INFLATION FIGURES
Wednesday, 18th January 2017

Commenting on the news that inflation has rose to 1.6% in December last year, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It has long been predicted that inflation would continue to rise and this latest inflation figure comes as no surprise. There is a wide range of upward pressures on inflation at the moment, principally transportation costs, which have risen as the price of oil recovered throughout 2016. However, it now appears that food prices were the only downward pressure on inflation over the year and even these began to increase during the month of December.

“Though inflation still remains below the Government target, there is no doubt that it will exceed this during 2017, with the Bank of England expecting that it could reach 2.7% later in the year. Inflation is a concern for business as it can damage profitability and suppress growth in consumer demand, which has to date, been one of the principal drivers of growth in our economy.

“This underlines the urgency for the UK and Scottish Governments to tackle business costs at the root by reducing the burden of business taxation.”
SCC COMMENT ON THE PRIME MINISTER’S SPEECH ON BREXIT
Wednesday, 18th January 2017

Commenting on today’s speech by the Prime Minister on the UK Government’s approach to the UK’s exit from the EU, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The Prime Minister has set out her starting point for negotiations to achieve the UK’s exit from the European Union. This helps to define the context of the discussions with the EU which will take place over the next two years but ultimately, we still cannot know what the outcomes of those negotiations will be.

“Businesses that we speak to recognise this and are rightly focused on the day to day challenges of running their businesses rather than the political machinations of Brexit. They know that there are a number of possible scenarios for what the UK’s future relationship with the EU might look like and are preparing for these eventualities.

“The UK’s future relationship with the EU is important to us and it is clear from our members that they value a free trading relationship with the EU, without tariff and non-tariff barriers.

“in addition, future migration to Scotland must be sufficient to meet the particular economic and skills needs of Scottish businesses, whilst at the same time guaranteeing the right of existing staff to remain and work here.

“However, Brexit must not dominate the political debate to the exclusion of all else. Businesses need the UK and Scottish Governments to focus on their job of ensuring that our domestic economy is strong and healthy and conducive to the growth of business, whatever our future relationship with the EU might be.”
EAST RENFREWSHIRE BUSINESS AWARDS 2017
Wednesday, 11th January 2017

Sponsors are currently being sought to support the East Renfrewshire Business Awards 2017. Now in their 6th year, these highly regarded awards celebrate the success and achievements of East Renfrewshire businesses. By supporting these awards, companies will benefit from increased profile within the East Renfrewshire business community. The black tie Business Awards dinner will take place in June 2017. If you would like your company to get involved in the awards for 2017 and would like more information please contact Laura on laura@entourageuk.com or call on 0141 887 6181.
SCC COMMENT ON SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT BREXIT PROPOSALS
Wednesday, 21st December 2016

Commenting on the announcement of the Scottish Government’s Brexit proposals, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“We welcome the assurances from the Scottish and UK Governments that they will work with each other as the country moves towards triggering of Article 50 and the commencement of formal negotiations about our future relationship with the European Union next year. It is vital that this working relationship puts narrow political differences aside and focuses on achieving the best possible result for businesses in Scotland and, indeed, across the UK. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network will review the options proposed in the Scottish Government’s paper with Scottish businesses and look forward to further discussions in the New Year.

“We want Scotland’s businesses to be seizing every available opportunity to grow their exporting potential and businesses have told us that they value tariff free access to the EU single market as one of their top asks from government in the forthcoming negotiation process. The EU as a whole represents the largest market for Scotland’s goods outside of the UK and the ability for firms to export profitably to it is of major importance to our future prospects for growing the Scottish economy.

“Equally our members tell us that they have invested significantly in recruiting and training many of the estimated 181,000 EU nations resident in Scotland. These are people who have made Scotland their home and to whom many of our businesses are reliant upon for their future growth. We believe that the UK Government must unilaterally guarantee these valued people the right to remain and work in this country, providing security not just to them but to the businesses that employ them.

“We believe there is also a strong case to be made for future flexibility in terms of immigration to Scotland in order to ensure that our aspirations for growth are not limited by a population that is growing slower than that of the UK as a whole. The likes of Quebec already have a degree of flexibility within the overall Canadian immigration system and we believe that there is an economic case to explore similar options within the UK.”
SCC COMMENT ON INFLATION
Wednesday, 14th December 2016

Commenting on the rise in inflation to 1.2% in November, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have warned that higher prices will increase business costs and dampen demand, resulting in an urgent need to tackle high business rates bills. Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:

“Inflation is again on the rise and this is likely to continue in 2017, with both the Bank of England and Office of Budget Responsibility projecting that it is likely to hit 2.7% during the next year, exceeding the government’s 2% target.

“The problem for businesses is that this will contribute to rising costs at the same time as the rising cost of living will put pressures on consumer demand. That is why Government at all levels must now urgently look at what can be done to tackle the cost of doing business. Here in Scotland, one of the major costs faced by many businesses is business rates and the Scottish Government has a golden opportunity in its Budget this week to tackle rising rates costs and provide a boost to business just when it is most needed.”
TIME TO REIMAGINE SCOTLAND’S INTERNATIONAL TRADING ALLIANCES
Friday, 2nd December 2016

Business & Government ambition will keep Scotland open to the rest of the world

Scottish business must “take the initiative” by strengthening direct links with businesses overseas as the Brexit process unfolds, the Chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce will tell guests at the network’s 24th Annual Business Address tonight.

In her final speech as SCC Chair, Nora Senior, will outline the Chambers’ priority to create a “unique Scottish model” of international business-to-business outreach that can withstand any changes to the international trade regime brought about in the process of leaving the EU.

Speaking in the presence of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland Lord Dunlop, Ms Senior will stress the need for Scottish business to be “more vocal” in outlining its Brexit-related interests to the UK and Scottish Governments. She will call for the event of Brexit to be used as a stimulus to:

• redouble efforts to grow Scotland’s exports

• team with public agencies to strengthen new international trade links

• address the chronic underperformance of the Scottish economy relative to the UK.

The SCC Chair’s appeal for more grass-roots effort to forge international SME links comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP is set to announce a major package of funding for the Chambers to build on the recent success of individual Chambers in Scotland in pursuing international trading alliances with counterparts in Europe, North America and the Far East.

Welcoming the Scottish Government’s support, Nora Senior will say: “For the SCC Network, our highest priority is to make sure that Scotland remains open for business to the rest of the world. That means being able to trade and invest easily with international markets and Scotland remaining an attractive destination for inward investment.

“We have to take the initiative, Scotland needs to use the opportunities this exit presents to become a passionate advocate for international trade – global markets and internationalisation.”
“Our future as a trading nation now depends on business and government working together to answer some of the tough questions about how best to reimagine, rebuild and deepen our business, cultural, social and economic relationships around the globe.

“The is the perfect time to look at a unique Scottish model – a public and private sector working together, creating stronger links between Scotland and our overseas trading partners. Both business and government need to move forward at pace, collaboratively, to mobilise our respective strengths, to do what’s best for the Scottish economy and forge a path of delivering new international trade deals for Scotland.

“The success of our international focus will depend upon building a solid domestic economy and every action of our Scottish and UK Governments must be actively and demonstrably in pursuit of that goal. Scotland’s economic growth was not good enough well before the EU Referendum and continues to underperform the UK as a whole. Scotland must become a more competitive and attractive place where more businesses are created and which is attractive to inward investors.”

Thanks to the sponsorship of Turkish Airlines and CGI, this prestigious event will celebrate the hard work of Scottish businesses and will look towards the year 2017 as the year to showcase that Scotland is a great place to do business. The event will also feature a Keynote Address from John-Holland Kaye, Chief Executive, Heathrow Airport.

Notes:
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce Annual Business Address is taking place on 1st December 2016 at the Hilton Glasgow.

For more information contact:
Charandeep Singh on 07984 495871 or csingh@scottishchambers.org.uk

Garry Clark on 07795 158137 or gclark@scottishchambers.org.uk
AUTUMN STATEMENT HIGHLIGHTS
Friday, 25th November 2016

Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts and the fiscal targets
  • The OBR revised down its forecasts for economic growth in 2017 and 2018, citing a weaker outlook for investment and therefore productivity growth as the main cause. The OBR’s growth forecast for 2016 was revised up slightly.

OBR forcasts GDP growth
  • The OBR’s forecasts for government borrowing – often referred to as the deficit – have increased. Much of the change comes from the OBR updating their underlying forecast – allowing for changes in the economy and public finances – but some comes from policy decisions taken by the Government.

Public sector net borrowing
  • The OBR’s forecasts for the debt-to-GDP ratio have increased in all years. The ratio is forecast to begin falling in 2018/19.

  • The Government has proposed new fiscal targets and published these in a revised Charter for Budget Responsibility. If the Charter is approved by Parliament the new targets will be officially assessed by the OBR alongside Budget 2017.

  • The revised targets include:
    • a fiscal mandate to reduce cyclically-adjusted public sector net borrowing to below 2% of GDP by 2020/21. The OBR describes the proposed fiscal mandate as 'much looser' than the previous target which focuses on a budget surplus in 2019/20.

    • a target for public sector net debt as a percentage of GDP to be falling in 2020/21.

    • a revised welfare cap. The target is now for relevant welfare spending to be within the cap in 2021/22.


  • The targets can be reviewed if there is a significant negative shock to the UK economy. The Charter doesn’t define what would be considered a significant negative shock.

  • The Treasury’s objective for fiscal policy – to which the revised targets will contribute – is for the public finances to reach balance as early as possible in the next Parliament.


The UK Government’s decision to focus on infrastructure spending means that the Scottish Government’s budget will increase by more than £800m through to 2020-21.

How the increase in capital budget is spent in Scotland is up to the Scottish Government, which has the opportunity to take its own investment decisions as well as using its own tax, borrowing and welfare powers.
  • The standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax will increase from 10% to 12% from 1 June 2017. From 2018/19 this is estimated to raise around £850 million a year, making it the largest tax raising measure announced.

  • The standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax will increase from 10% to 12% from 1 June 2017. From 2018/19 this is estimated to raise around £850 million a year, making it the largest tax raising measure announced.

  • The standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax will increase from 10% to 12% from 1 June 2017. From 2018/19 this is estimated to raise around £850 million a year, making it the largest tax raising measure announced.

  • Fuel Duty is frozen for the seventh successive year.

  • The National Living Wage is increasing from £7.20 to £7.50 in April 2017 and the universal credit taper rate is being reduced from 65% to 63% so people who progress in work can keep more of what they earn.

  • Personal allowance will increase to £12,500 by 2020-21, this will reduce the income tax bill for 2.6m individuals in Scotland in 2017-2018, and take 113,000 individuals out of income tax altogether.


Productivity
  • Scotland will benefit from UK-wide spending, notably through increases in investment in Research & Development (rising to £2bn a year by 2020/21) and digital infrastructure (over £1bn).

  • The government will appoint two regional FinTech envoys for Edinburgh and Glasgow. The envoys will encourage collaboration and raise awareness of FinTech opportunities.

City Deals
  • The Chancellor announced that the government will work with local partners and the Scottish Government towards a city deal for Stirling. He also confirmed funding for Aberdeen and Inverness city deals; and that the government is continuing negotiations for Edinburgh, and examining proposal for Tay cities.

LIBOR
The Chancellor announced over £3.3m LIBOR fines for Scotland, including:
  • Almost £1m to Poppy Scotland, to develop holistic advice and information centre for veterans in Ayshire; and to establish the ‘Moving Poppy’, a mobile unit comprising a mini poppy factory and museum.
  • Over £1.5m to the Aberdeen Museums Development Trust, for renovating the Aberdeen Remembrance Hall.
  • Almost £200,000 for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland, to provide support to every child facing palliative care and their families.
  • £20,000 for the Glen Art Bravehound Project, to support a Companion Dogs project for veterans with PTSD and other needs.
  • Almost £100,000 to ScotsERVS, to expand Hospital Volunteering Programme and support Emergency Vehicles in Scotland.
  • Almost £500,00 to the Wheatley Foundation, to provide housing support for veterans in Scotland.

The Budget
  • The Budget timetable to change. The Budget will take place in autumn from autumn 2017. From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement in which the Chancellor will respond to the OBR’s forecasts for the economy and public finances.


Full details can be found on the HM Treasury website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/autumn-statement-2016-documents/autumn-statement-2016.

Economic Development Intelligence Unit
November 2016
GOVERNMENTS MUST TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT BUSINESSES
Wednesday, 16th November 2016

Commenting on today’s fall in inflation from 1.0% to 0.9%, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have warned that higher costs are still likely to feed through into retail over the next few months. Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:

“The unexpected fall in the rate of inflation may be some respite for Christmas shoppers but retailers are telling us that they still expect the low value of the pound to translate into higher shop prices, particularly when the new season stock arrives.

“Whilst the Bank of England is expecting inflation to peak at less than 3%, the key will be the differential between prices and wage increases and what with might mean for consumer demand – a key factor in growing Scotland’s economy.

“That is why Chambers of Commerce will be looking for clear pro-business measures from the UK and Scottish Governments in the forthcoming UK Autumn Statement and Scottish Budget. Our Governments need to invest in skills and connectivity, whilst tackling the high cost of Business Rates, to promote growth and support hard working businesses.”
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THIS WINTER?
Wednesday, 16th November 2016

Following some straight forward practical steps could reduce risk associated with winter flooding on your business, and reduce insurance premiums and claims.

An initiative of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG) helps businesses and communities across the UK to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies such as flooding, cyber-attacks and civil unrest.

The group is comprised of leaders of national and global businesses operating in the UK and representatives of government and government agencies. These leaders understand the importance of small business in their supply chain and as the backbone of local economies. Business in the Community has convened their collective resources and expertise to make these available to small businesses and communities in an emergency.

In the winter of 2015/16 businesses and communities in Scotland, like other parts of the UK were badly affected by floods. BERG was active in Scotland and saw many small businesses take a long time to recover. In some instances their business would have recovered more quickly if they had planned for such an event.

Whilst there are many excellent resilience planning formats and guidance available we understand that most small businesses have so much to do that they find it difficult to invest time in creating their own plan, something which could be easily understood and quickly produced was needed.

Working with small businesses and road testing the plan with the supply chain of larger businesses BERG has created a 10 Minute Plan, to help small business to be prepared and to limit the potential disruption to their business.

The 10 Minute Plan is mostly common sense and can be downloaded here http://www.bitc.org.uk/sites/default/files/7936_berg_10_minute_plan_0.pdf

For further details please see the website http://www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/business-emergency-resilience-group-berg

Click to download more information >
AIRPORT EXPANSION – IT’S TIME TO DELIVER
Tuesday, 25th October 2016

Commenting on the UK Government’s decision on Airport Expansion in the South East of England, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have called for the process to be accelerated to ensure that Scotland and the UK benefits from the investment as soon as possible. Commenting, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:

“Whilst it is welcome that at long last, the UK Government has come to a decision on airport expansion in the south east of England, we remain concerned that there are still delays ahead in this process. The news that It would take up to a year to secure final Parliamentary approval for the project is yet another unnecessary delay to delivering vital infrastructure investment in the UK.

“London’s major airports are continuing to operate at or near capacity and the longer it takes before work starts on expansion, the further behind our competitor nations we will fall in terms of connectivity.

“Now more than ever, Scotland’s businesses need to be connected to the world, as we look to secure trading links the world over and encourage more of our businesses to export, particularly our small and medium sized businesses.

“Investors are looking for the green light from Government to push the button and get this new development underway, and Scottish businesses will be looking to win contracts and create jobs.

“Airport expansion should be a win-win situation for business and for connectivity. Let’s stop kicking it into the long grass and get on with reaping the economic benefits that the UK and Scotland so badly need.”
GOVERNMENTS MUST INVEST TO GROW OUR ECONOMY
Monday, 17th October 2016

Commenting on the release of data which shows that Scotland’s economy grew by 0.4% in the second quarter of 2016, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It is good news that Scotland’s economic growth rate increased in the second quarter of this year but there is still a great deal of work to be done. To put this in perspective, the Scottish economy has grown in a year at almost the same rate that the UK economy has grown in just three months.

“These figures underline the fact that Scotland’s economic performance has been significantly lower than that of the UK as a whole for a full year and, whilst we are now seeing welcome growth in our production and service sectors, construction has been contracting at a significant rate for two consecutive quarters.

“Against this background, we would question Scottish Government policies such as the scaling down of business rates reliefs on empty properties, which are discouraging speculative development and reducing the opportunities available for construction businesses. This policy must be revisited and both the Scottish and UK Governments must continue to prioritise investment in our infrastructure to deliver an immediate boost to construction and a long term boost to our economy.”
SCOTTISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE NETWORK PROPOSES COMPREHENSIVE REFORM OF SCOTLAND’S BUSINESS RATES
Monday, 17th October 2016

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) Network has proposed a comprehensive package of reforms aimed at delivering long overdue improvements to Scotland’s business rates regime. In its response to the Barclay Review of Business Rates, SCC has put forward a range of new initiatives, including a unified Assessor’s office for Scotland to reduce bureaucracy, comprehensive reform of the appeals system to ensure fairness, more frequent revaluations to make rates more responsive to changes in economic conditions and new reliefs designed to incentivise business creation and investment.

Brian Rogan, Chair of the SCC Business Rates Advisory Group and Head of Rating in Scotland for CBRE Ltd, said:

“Scotland’s system of business rates is no longer fit for purpose and is in need of urgent reform. The Scottish Government needs to act quickly before improvements to the rating system in other parts of the UK render Scotland uncompetitive, with our business rates becoming a growing disincentive to investment and growth. Doing nothing is no longer an option.

“That is why Scottish businesses welcome the independent review of business rates which the Scottish Government has initiated, and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network has now presented a comprehensive package of measures designed to make Scotland’s rating system fairer, more transparent, more efficient and more responsive to the needs of business.

“We want to see a rating system that responds effectively to changing economic conditions, that promotes the creation of new businesses and which rewards investment. We also propose a drastic reduction in bureaucracy through merging Scotland’s 14 regional rates Assessors into one national Scottish body, with a new consistent and fair appeals system that draws on expert and impartial advice.”

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, added:

“We would like to see those small businesses which currently benefit from full rates relief under the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme taken out of the rating system altogether, to enable more resources to be directed towards achieving a correct valuation and rates bills for those businesses which do pay rates.

“Business rates need to be seen as part of a wider spectrum of Scottish Government functions that play a part in enabling economic development in Scotland. These are economic levers which the Scottish Government very much has under its control and they also include the planning system, a range of other taxes, including Income Tax, the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, and, soon, Air Passenger Duty, as well as its wider powers on infrastructure, skills, and business support. If the Scottish Government makes use of these powers effectively, it can make a substantial contribution to making Scotland a more attractive and productive place to do business.

“We understand why the Scottish Government needs to maximise the revenues it raises from business rates and our proposals will help them to achieve that through delivering reform that will help to support and attract more new businesses to Scotland, and growing our economy. The solution is not to apply heavier taxes to the businesses we already have, but instead to apply fair taxes to a growing business base.”
CALLING ALL SMALL BUSINESSES, SELF-EMPLOYED AND HOMEWORKERS
Friday, 30th September 2016

We are hoping you will assist us in completing this small survey form which will provide us with information about small and home based businesses in East Renfrewshire and allow East Renfrewshire Council to develop a support package tailored to the requirements of this growing sector. Survey ends 15th October 2016.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/W6ZDWX8

Thanks in advance for your support. If you wish to contact us directly regarding your business support needs, please ring 0141 577 3106.
LOW INTEREST RATES MUST BE BOLSTERED BY TAX BREAKS AND INVESTMENT
Monday, 19th September 2016

Commenting on the decision by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to keep both interest rates and Quantitative Easing on hold this month, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It is no surprise that the Bank of England has adopted a position of ‘no change’ in September, following its more radical changes to interest rates and asset purchases announced last month, though it has indicated that it envisages the prospect of a further rate cut before the year’s end. We now await the detail of the UK Government’s approach to economic policy, to be announced by the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond, in his Autumn Statement on 23 November.

“The Chancellor has indicated that his approach will vary from that of his predecessor, George Osborne, and businesses will expect a more positive approach to both tax reductions and infrastructure investment in this year’s Autumn Statement.

“Our members have indicated that reductions in both VAT and the burden of Corporation Tax would be welcomed, together with a clear forward strategy of investment in the UK’s economic infrastructure. Indeed, the latter could be kick started with an early decision on airport expansion in the south east of England.

“The Scottish Government also has the opportunity to head off some of the threat of the expected economic headwinds in 2017 by ensuring that next year’s revaluation in Scotland’s business rates results in a net benefit to Scotland’s businesses, enabling them to invest in jobs and growth.”
CALL OUT FOR NEW BUSINESS ADVISERS
Friday, 2nd September 2016

The Young Enterprise Company Programme (CP) has been established for over 40 years. The CP helps school pupils in S5 & S6 learn real tangible skills in a safe yet competitive environment that will benefit them in whatever career paths they choose. Pupils from a school form a team and develop and market a real product or service. Aided in the school by a centre lead (link teacher) each team is allocated an experienced business person – a business adviser (BA), whose role is to help, guide and inspire. Teams benefit from the BA’s experience – they are not there to do all the work.

Commitment - From approx. Sep – March - Once a week at the start and near key points in the year and approx. fortnightly at other times. Meetings normally take place at the school and can be a class period if part of the school curriculum or lunch time / after school if extra-curricular. As part of the process, each person interested in becoming a BA is PVG checked. We do our best to allocate BA’s a school near their work or home.

For more info on the company programme visit :
http://www.yes.org.uk/what-we-do/secondary-schools/company-programme.htm

Young Enterprise Renfrewshire Area Team are on facebook (facebook.com/YoungEnterpriseRenfrewshire) and twitter @YE_Renfrewshire

Company programme benefits young people by:
  • Boosting their confidence

  • Learn new skills that many employers appreciate: team work, planning & time management, accuracy, customer service, sales and marketing, presentation

  • Great for CVs / interview discussions / covering letters & personal statements


Key dates for 2016-17
  • Launch, West College Scotland, Paisley – 7th Sep 2016

  • Xmas Trade Fair, Soar intu Braehead – 1st Dec 2016

  • Area finals, The Normandy Hotel in Renfrew - 16th March 2017


Want to get involved – give something back and help young people get better prepared for life after school? Please email renfrewshire@yes.org.uk
MEDIA RELEASE: NEW SCOTTISH BUSINESS RESEARCH ON BREXIT IMPACT (Embargo 010916)
Thursday, 1st September 2016

Embargoed until 0001 hours on Thursday 1 September 2016

BUSINESSES EXPECT SCOTTISH AND UK GOVERNMENTS TO DELIVER FOLLOWING BREXIT VOTE

A major survey of business opinion in Scotland, conducted by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network, has revealed the support that businesses need in the wake of the vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. A reduction in business rates was the most commonly requested tax measure, whilst businesses wanted Government investment to focus strongly on vocational skills and infrastructure. Businesses were more evenly divided in terms of their priorities for the forthcoming negotiations to leave the EU but maintaining free trade with the EU single market came out strongly.

Commenting on the results, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The Scottish economy was faltering even before June’s EU referendum and the result has sparked another period of uncertainty. Businesses, however, are clear in terms of the support they need and the expectations they have of the Scottish and UK Governments at this time. This support is required in order to address Scotland’s underlying economic needs and is consistent with the views expressed by the business community over recent years.

“A reduction in business rates would deliver a clear boost to a wide spectrum of businesses, reducing business costs and freeing up resources to invest for future growth. This is an area where the Scottish Government has the powers to deliver for Scottish business and with a rates revaluation coming up in just seven months, the timing could be perfect to provide a boost to Scotland’s businesses. The UK Government can also play a part by targeting reductions in VAT, which is a particular priority from Scotland’s tourism sector, and by continuing the recent downward trend of Corporation Tax rates.

“Businesses have also indicated the priority areas where they believe Government investment needs to take place. Investment in vocational training and in colleges is a strong demand from businesses alongside investment in roads and other infrastructure that will deliver long term economic benefit such as digital connectivity and housing. Government spend should have a clear economic objective.

“Businesses have a much more diverse range of priorities in terms of what they are seeking from the negotiations to decide the UK’s future relationship with the EU. High on the list of priorities is continued tariff-free access to the EU single market, but businesses are also looking for clear guidance on how current EU legislation implemented in the UK will apply once the UK leaves the EU. For more than one in six businesses, the continued free movement of people between the EU and the UK is a key priority and as a start, we are calling for the UK Government to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens already in the UK to remain here, contributing to our economy.

“These may be unprecedented times but businesses expect the Scottish and UK Governments to deliver. They each have the powers to do so and must act now to enable businesses to invest and grow.”
TAKE PART IN CYCLE TO WORK DAY SEPTEMBER 14TH
Friday, 12th August 2016

Cycle to Work Day offers employers of all sizes a platform that can be used to promote active travel and healthy living – two themes that are increasingly important in the modern world – to their workforce. To find out more visit http://www.cycletoworkday.org/employer.

Get in touch with Neilson Development Trust (winners of the East Ren COC Green Award 2016) at admin@neilstontrust.co.uk to find out about the FREE bike checks and training we can provide to help you on the way!
NEW DATA PAINTS MIXED PICTURE OF SCOTTISH ECONOMY
Wednesday, 20th July 2016

Economic data for Scotland’s unemployment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), released today by the Scottish Government, paints a mixed picture of the Scottish economy, with no growth in the first quarter of 2016 but a fall in unemployment during the period March – May 2016. Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, has called for a concerted Government response to Scotland’s growth problems and swift clarification of the position of EU nationals working in the UK.

Liz Cameron said:

On GDP:

“Scotland’s growth levels were 0% in the first three months of this year, having declined from the very shallow growth that we experienced at the end of last year. This remains well below the overall UK rate, which was 0.4% for the same period. Scotland’s growth has now been at a fraction of that of the UK as a whole for a full year and there are few signs of a major improvement in sight. In the light of the EU referendum result, the Scottish and UK Governments must take all steps necessary to support businesses at this time and help them to invest for the future and get our economy back on the path of growth. This Autumn’s Draft Scottish Budget and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will be defining moments for our Governments as they redefine their economic strategies in response to Brexit.”

On Scottish Unemployment:

“Scotland’s unemployment levels fell by 18,000 in the three months to May, whilst our employment levels rose by 17,000 over the same period. This is very good news for the Scottish economy and demonstrates that businesses are continuing to display resilience and invest in talent. It also means that Scotland is once again narrowing the gap with the UK in terms of our performance on employment and unemployment. The latest figures also show that there are 2.15 million EU nationals working in the UK, and this is a clear reminder that our businesses need clear and timely information about their future status following the vote for the UK to leave the EU.”
THE ENGINE OF THE SCOTTISH ECONOMY MUST BE THE PRIORITY IN THE WAKE OF BREXIT
Friday, 15th July 2016

Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Indicator engages with five of Scotland’s key business sectors: Construction, Financial and Business Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale and Tourism.

These findings, released in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute show the position of businesses for the second quarter of 2016. Fieldwork was undertaken prior to the EU Referendum on 23 June 2016.

Neil Amner, Chair of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Economic Advisory Group, said:

“Our survey shows that Scottish business performance was generally muted during the lead up to the EU referendum but of course the burning questions are how the vote for the UK to leave the European Union will affect businesses and what steps our Governments in the UK and in Scotland should take to ensure that Scotland’s businesses continue to be the dynamo of economic growth.

“There were some signs of weaknesses in investment and difficulties in recruiting skilled workers over the past three months and these are illustrative of concerns which may persist after the Brexit vote. Additionally, businesses in some sectors such as retail and tourism have been flagging up increases in costs, coinciding with the introduction of the National Living Wage in April this year. Meanwhile for larger businesses, the prospect of tax rises through the introduction of the new Apprenticeship Levy is on the horizon.

“The Brexit vote does not come without its opportunities but business must be in the driving seat if we are to take advantage of these and, indeed, secure the stability that is needed to foster investment and deliver future growth. Central to future planning is the need for clarity on the future of talented individuals currently working in Scotland. Everyone must have the confidence that they will be able to fulfil their long term ambitions in Scotland, whether they currently live here or not. Scotland must become an even more attractive place to do business and must actively reach out to the world to create new trading and investment opportunities.

“Business is the engine of the Scottish economy and this is now the time to make sure that the engine is running smoothly and efficiently if we are to rise to the challenges of Scotland’s new circumstances. The Scottish and UK Governments must utilise all available powers to make businesses more competitive. In particular, they need to reconsider policies which have sought to impose greater burdens on business and instead use the ‘levers of power’ politicians so often talk about to actually support business and the wider economy, providing a strong and confident platform for future growth. For example, by cutting business rates, accelerating reductions in Air Passenger Duty and putting the Apprenticeship Levy on hold.”
JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE GROUP OF 6 BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS
Thursday, 7th July 2016

SCOTTISH BUSINESS GROUPS CALL FOR LEADERSHIP AND COLLABORATION FOLLOWING EU REFERENDUM OUTCOME

On Tuesday 5th July, Scottish business groups attended the First Minister's EU Business Summit at Bute House. The 6 business groups included Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Financial Enterprise, Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Confederation of British Industry and Institute of Directors.

This joint statement recognises the leadership Scottish businesses are showing and urges them to continue to collaborate and identify the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. It also calls on the Scottish & UK Governments to demonstrate leadership and maintain joint working relationships.

Full Statement:

"Across Scotland, the businesses we represent are considering the opportunities and challenges that will arise from the outcome of the EU Referendum. Collectively, we represent the broadest spectrum of businesses including private sector firms, public sector and the social economy. Our members hold diverse views on the European Union but the need to drive prosperity - by preserving jobs, attracting investment and driving economic growth for Scotland - is what brings us together.

"To businesses, we applaud the immediate response: businesses doing what they do best by maintaining 'business as usual' when trading with European Union markets, and exploring the possible opportunities that lie ahead, both in European markets and globally. We underline our belief that Scotland is a great place to do business and that we are, 'open for business.' Our organisations will continue to use our resources and connections to promote this message.

"Within the business community there is unanimous agreement that we need strong leadership and clarity of the timeframe for next steps from both Governments, in order to create more stability and to maintain business, consumer and investor confidence. We recommend that both Governments establish areas of common interest, making sure positive outcomes are achieved.

"We are committed to working in collaboration with the Scottish & UK Governments to secure the best deal for Scottish businesses in the negotiations that lie ahead. These negotiations will determine our future trading relationships with the European Union and will also influence how we trade with the rest of the world.

"We look to both Governments to prioritise these key business issues:

  • Access to the European Union markets, currently worth over £11 billion to Scottish businesses;

  • Access to a talented, skilled workforce, including the clear protection of EU nationals currently studying, living and working in Scotland, because their skills are crucial to the success of our businesses;

  • Support for non-UK EU nationals who run businesses in Scotland;

  • Following through on planned infrastructure projects like airport expansion and digital broadband rollout;

  • Maintaining the competitive edge of Scottish business by reviewing "domestic" areas of control including supportive taxation rates for businesses.


"It is our belief that by delivering on these priorities, we will boost business confidence, and send the signal globally, that Scotland continues to be an attractive destination to start, build and grow a business."


Signed by:

SCC, FSB, SCDI, IOD, SFE & CBI


For more information, please contact Charandeep Singh, Head of External Relations, SCC on 0141-204-8316 , 07984495871, csingh@scottishchambers.org.uk
LAUNCH OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
Wednesday, 29th June 2016

The Dalmeny Park Country House Hotel was the venue of the East Renfrewshire Business Awards Dinner on 9th June 2016. The prestigious dinner is the Chamber’s annual awards evening which recognises companies from across East Renfrewshire for their exceptional accomplishments across a range of fields from innovation, customer service to most promising new business. Hosted by Karen Dunbar the Awards Dinner was a fantastic evening where a number of inspirational local businesses won well-deserved Awards including (award + business winner examples).

Amongst the celebration of award winners and the entertainment, this black tie event was the perfect setting to launch East Renfrewshire Council’s new Business Development Grant Programme.

As shown at the awards, financial support can have huge benefits to business growth and between now and 2018 there is over £120,000 of grant funding available. Grants are available up to £10,000 to assist businesses within East Renfrewshire to develop, grow (and perhaps win a business award in the future!)

The grants are designed to support both new and established businesses with the costs of commercial rent, IT or website development, exhibiting at trade shows, new products or processes to name but a few. It’s an opportunity not to be missed.

For further information and full eligibility see: Website or email business@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk
SCC CALLS FOR COLLABORATION AND LEADERSHIP IN THE WAKE OF LEAVE VOTE
Wednesday, 29th June 2016

Responding to the decision by the UK public for Britain to leave the European Union, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, has called for Government and business to come together and provide leadership for our new relationship with the world.

Liz Cameron said:

“Many of us awoke with mixed reactions to the news that the majority of the UK had voted to leave the EU. The detailed implications of an exit are unknown as we embark on a different journey and seek to negotiate a new relationship with our European partners and the wider world. We would urge a level of calmness – our products and services will continue to be traded throughout Europe and beyond. The priority for Scotland now is for our Governments and businesses to carry on and show great leadership in order to stabilise the markets and begin to plan our new relationship with Europe.

“We have been greatly reassured by the announcement from the Bank of England confirming their actions and readiness to intervene if and when necessary to ensure a stable economic environment. This should assist with providing a level of confidence to the markets over the coming weeks.

“The Prime Minister has announced his resignation and has set out a broad timetable for a transfer of political leadership in the UK. This gives us time to understand what the detail of the process of disengagement from the EU might mean. Businesses need to be able to plan as far ahead as possible and the EU is a key international market, worth over £11 billion to Scottish businesses in terms of exports of goods and services. An early priority must be for the UK Government to confirm what our future trading arrangements with the EU and other international markets will look like in order to ensure continuity of imports and exports.

“Businesses will also be looking to understand the potential advantages that the UK’s exit from the EU might bring. In particular, we are keen to understand how Governments in Edinburgh and London might be able to more explicitly support Scottish businesses to win local contracts from the public sector.

“Understandably, this break from a union which the UK has been a part of for over 40 years will provoke a degree of initial uncertainty and we have seen that manifest itself in the markets. It is the job of our Governments and the Bank of England to steady that ship, allowing the UK to plan our new relationship with the nations of the world, and ensuring that the UK remains a great place to do business.”
SCC EU SURVEY: BALANCE OF SCOTTISH BUSINESS OPINION CONTINUES TO FAVOUR REMAINING IN EU
Thursday, 12th May 2016

  • Final SCC pre-referendum survey shows that, with less than 50 days to go, a majority of Scottish businesspeople surveyed (68%) say they will vote for the UK to Remain in the European Union
  • Voting intentions have narrowed marginally amongst the businesspeople surveyed – with Leave now polling three points higher (22%) than in the SCC's February survey
  • Previous survey in February had Remain on 69%, Leave with 19%, and 9% don't know
  • The vast majority – 90% – of those businesspeople surveyed by the neutral business organisation are now unlikely to change their vote

  • 90% of the senior businesspeople polled in a major new Scottish Chambers of Commerce survey say they are unlikely to change how they will vote before the June 23rd referendum.

    SCC's detailed findings indicate that 68.3% of businesspeople polled would vote to Remain, down slightly from 69.4% in February 2016, and 22.9% would vote to Leave – up from 19.2% on SCC's previous survey.

    The data on voting intentions also shows some divisions based on size and export interests. Those trading with both EU and non-EU markets express the strongest support for 'Remain', with the strongest levels of support for 'Leave' among those that either do not export or only export outwith the EU. Businesspeople representing medium and large firms are more likely to vote 'Remain' than those in small and micro businesses.

    The findings, from an April 2016 survey of 357 leading businesspeople, also show that individuals are now strongly committed to their voting preferences. Just 0.3% of respondents said they were uncommitted, and only 9.7% said they could change their mind.

    Commenting on the results, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
    "With the Scottish Elections now over and less than 50 days to go until the electorate decide the UK's status within the European Union, both campaigns are ramping up their visibility and messaging to secure the 'business vote."

    "From a Scottish perspective, of those surveyed, a high number of businesses (68.3%) support the option to remain within the European Union. This position changed minimally by 1% point from the previous survey in February, whilst those voting to leave generated a 23% response, an increase of 3% from February's result."

    "Interestingly, the views in the rest of the UK are tightening, with the gap closing between the Remain and Leave votes, with 54% supporting and 37% wishing to exit. The majority of businesses who took part indicated they would not be changing their views."

    "Once the vote has been taken, we would again urge both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments to get back to running the Country ensuring that every piece of policy and legislation is supporting business growth. Delays have already impacted our economic growth and urgent action is needed".

    Key findings in the survey:

    Voting intentions: exporters (sellers to other countries) vs. non-exporters

    April 2016

    Both (n=362)

    Exporter (n=221)

    Non-exporter (n=133)

    Vote to remain

    68.3

    71.0

    63.9

    Vote to leave

    22.9

    20.8

    26.3

    Wouldn't vote

    0.8

    0.9

    0.7

    Don't know

    8.0

    7.2

    9.0

    Voting intentions: exporters by export destination

    April 2016

    All (n=362)

    Sell to EU only (n=76)

    Sell to ROTW only (n=17)*

    Sell to both (n=129)

    Non-exporter (n=133)

    Vote to remain

    68.3

    69.7

    64.7

    72.9

    63.9

    Vote to leave

    22.9

    22.4

    29.4

    18.6

    26.3

    Wouldn't vote

    0.8

    1.3

    5.9

    0

    0.7

    Don't know

    8.0

    6.6

    0

    8.5

    9.0

    Voting intentions: by business size (number of employees)

    April 2016

    All (n=362)

    Micro 0-9 (n=143)

    Small 10-49 (n=107)

    Medium 50-249 (n=46)

    Large 250+ (n=26)*

    Vote to remain

    68.3

    69.9

    63.6

    78.3

    73.1

    Vote to leave

    22.9

    21.7

    27.1

    15.2

    19.2

    Wouldn't vote

    0.8

    0.7

    0

    0

    0

    Don't know

    8.0

    7.7

    9.3

    6.5

    7.7

    Voting intention comparison: Scotland v UK

    April 2016

    Scotland

    UK  

    Vote to remain

    68.3

    54.1

    Vote to leave

    22.9

    37

    Wouldn't vote

    0.7

    0.6

    Don't know

    7.7

    8.2

    NB – Differences in respondents occurred where businesspeople either did not specify size or export orientation, or did not answer the question.

    *Figure should be treated with caution due to sample size.

    BUSINESS IMPACTS

    • The majority of business leaders report that the referendum has had no impact to date on various aspects of their business, from orders and sales (76.5%), recruitment (88.1%), and investment (78.7%), to total costs (79.8%)

    • If the UK were to leave the EU, 36.1% currently expect this would have a negative impact on their overall growth strategy (down slightly from 40.9% in February's survey), 41.1% feel this would have no impact (down slightly from 42% in the previous survey), while 9.2% believe it would have a positive impact (up slightly from 8.5%)

    • Asked for the first time about the impact of remaining a member of the EU, 9.4% currently expect this to have a negative impact on their overall growth strategy. A majority (53.2%) feel it would have no impact, while more than a quarter (28.9%) believe it would have a positive impact.


    VOTING INTENTIONS

    • 68.3% – a majority – of business leaders would vote to stay in the European Union, should the vote take place tomorrow. 22.9% would vote to leave.

    • This is a slight narrowing from the previous survey in February, which showed a 69-19 split in favour of Remain.

    • 90% of those surveyed are committed and unlikely to change their mind – just 9.7% could change their mind, while 0.3% are uncommitted.

    CHAMBER PRESIDENT JOHN F HAMILTON WAS INVITED BY THE ROYAL NAVY TO HMS BULWARK
    Thursday, 12th May 2016

    HMS Bulwark

    Chamber President John F Hamilton was invited by the Royal Navy to HMS BULWARK where they sailed from King George V docks in Glasgow. There were a selection of invited Guests from Chambers of Commerce and other charitable organisations sponsored by the RN and we were give a tour of the ship.
    A CONNECTED ECONOMY IS A SUCCESSFUL ECONOMY
    Wednesday, 20th April 2016

    Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC)’s Sustaining Growth, Supporting Business campaign sets out the key priorities for Scotland’s businesses over the next five years. It forms the foundation of SCC’s engagement with the next Scottish Government and the calls to action will help Scotland’s businesses to compete and deliver growth in our economy.

    A connected economy is a successful economy and Scotland requires better connectivity internationally, between our cities and across our city region and rural areas. Whilst transport connectivity remains vital, fast and effective digital connectivity is now an essential pre-requisite for economic growth.

    Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

    “Connectivity has driven rapid economic development and growth since the time of the industrial revolution. Canals, railways, roads and air travel have all played crucial roles in Scotland’s economic success and as our economy evolves in a global market, we will increasingly look towards digital connectivity at the essential currency of the 21st century.

    “Scotland has a target of achieving 95% availability of superfast broadband by 2018. We must go beyond this and aim for 100% coverage. Not only that, but the broadband speeds that businesses and residential customers actually experience must be world leading and reliable. Our goal must be to deliver an always connected Scottish economy, with universal and seamless superfast and mobile broadband coverage right across Scotland. This will break down barriers to trade and ensure that visitors to Scotland experience a truly world class digital experience.

    “If Scotland is to connect to the world then we also need to deliver more air services to more key international destinations and hubs. We welcome the plan to devolve Air Passenger Duty (APD) to the Scottish Parliament, giving Scotland the opportunity to cut this tax on internationalisation and deliver £1 billion of economic benefit to the Scottish economy, helping to create new jobs and boost growth. However, we will only maximise the benefits by implementing an immediate 50% reduction in this tax.

    “We must also look to deliver transport improvements within Scotland by creating dual track railways between all of Scotland’s cities and investing in a planned programme of road maintenance to ensure that the deterioration in our road network is reversed.”
    ECONOMIC GROWTH MUST BE PRIME OBJECTIVE OF NEXT SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT
    Friday, 15th April 2016

    Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Indicator engages with five of Scotland’s key business sectors: Construction, Financial and Business Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale and Tourism.

    These findings, released in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute show the position of businesses for the first quarter of 2016.

    Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

    “This detailed picture of the Scottish economy after the first three months of 2016 shows that business performance is inconsistent across a range of sectors. Construction, which was influential in keeping the Scottish economy out of recession in 2015, performed strongly in the early part of this year and continues to demonstrate positive expectations for the future. Manufacturing experienced a sharp dip, but expects to recover over the next few months, whilst the service sector has continued to perform poorly, as it has done since the second quarter of last year, though non-oil and gas sector businesses continue to register growth.

    “Growing online sales have helped to boost confidence in the retail sector, whilst strong performance amongst tourism businesses masks tightening profit margins and weak confidence on future performance. Investment trends overall remain positive but tend to be growing more slowly, whilst a mismatch between positive employment trends and mixed business performance raise further question marks about future productivity levels. We are also picking up some anecdotal evidence that the EU referendum may be having an effect on the timings of some investments and deals.

    “It is important that lessons are learned. As the construction sector continues to experience worrying levels of skills shortages due to rapid growth following a period of recession, so we must plan ahead now for the recovery in oil prices, ensuring that the oil and gas sector has the talent it needs when the sector resumes growth. Future skills needs must be met from the widest possible range of sources, including workplace learning and the reskilling of older workers.

    “Costs to businesses must also be considered at a time when many firms are implementing the National Living Wage and auto-enrolment. As businesses take on more financial responsibilities over their employees, it is time that the rising burden of business rates was reduced, and this must be one of the key objectives of the forthcoming review of rating in Scotland announced by the Scottish Government.

    “As Scotland prepares to head to the polls for next month’s Scottish Parliamentary elections, we know that our economy is on a knife edge between growth and recession and that the prospects for the future are unclear. In these circumstances, it is imperative that our new Scottish Government puts the economy at the centre of its plan for government over the next five years, systematically addressing those factors under the Scottish Parliament’s control that could be used to make Scotland the most competitive place in the UK to do business.”
    SCC BUDGET REACTION, 16th March 2016
    Friday, 18th March 2016

    Scottish Chambers of Commerce has welcomed “solid” budgetary measures designed to boost business and personal savings, and has urged a prominent role for business in leading innovation through the new City Deal packages.

    In her response to a budget in which Chancellor George Osborne announced downward revisions in tax income and growth following a global slowdown, Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce cited moves including the freezing of fuel duty and duty on Scotch Whisky, said that the new measures were “broadly positive” for Scottish business.

    As well as praising actions in reserved areas that would directly benefit business sectors north of the Border, Ms Cameron also said that moves made by the Chancellor in devolved areas such as business rates, stamp duty and education could be used to stimulate “fresh thinking” by the Scottish Government to ensure that Scotland remained competitive.

    She said: “Although we await more detail of key measures, there are elements in this broadly positive budget that look like solid gains for businesses and entrepreneurs in Scotland and are clearly in tune with what the Scottish Chambers have been calling for in recent months.”

    “Oil and gas is a case in point. Although relatively painless for the Chancellor at a time when industry profits are so small, we very much welcome his ‘effective abolition' of Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT), and the halving of the supplementary charge for oil companies, backdated from 1 January. Both are a necessary response to the current crisis in the North Sea and a welcome relief.”

    “On business rates the Chancellor’s decision to peg rates in England and Wales against the CPI rate of 0.9% rather than the higher RPI is obviously good news for small businesses everywhere. It’s also a challenge to the Scottish Government to shadow this ‘permanent long-term saving’ in order to keep Scottish business competitive with rest of the UK. We will be calling upon the next Scottish Government to reduce even further.”

    Ms Cameron also praised the Chancellor’s announcement of negotiations on the new City Deal for Edinburgh and Southeast Scotland and plans afterwards reported by the Scottish Secretary for a similar initiative for Inverness. She said: “We would like more detail of this as a matter of urgency, but our starting position is that full devolution will only be achieved if business and local chambers of commerce network are fully involved and leading these projects, as only this way can we ensure that business is at the heart of driving investment in local communities in Scotland.”

    On education and young people, Scottish Chambers said the projected £150m in benefits resulting to the Chancellor’s extra funding to promote education reform in England and Wales, should be used to fund creative new approaches to engaging disengaged young people to acquire the training and skills for future industries.

    Citing the example of Newlands Junior College, instigated by the entrepreneur Jim McColl, Ms Cameron said that Scottish education should be prepared to learn from successful innovation, and recognise that Chambers of Commerce, many of which are successfully delivering Scottish Government Developing the Young Workforce programmes, were ready to collaborate with educationalists to equip the future workforce for the realities of tomorrow’s economy.

    Finally, she praised the Chancellor’s decision to increase tax relief on ISAs. “It’s very good news. Many younger workers are struggling to afford pensions as well as properties, so introducing the new Lifetime ISA with a £1 government contribution for every £4 saved is obviously eye-catching and attractive, on top of the decision to increase the ISA limit from £15,000 to £20,000.”
    MEDIA RELEASE
    Wednesday, 17th February 2016

    Solid majority of Scots businesses still favour staying in the EU, although “out” argument gains ground.

    A new poll of Scottish Chambers of Commerce members appears to show a slight weakening of business enthusiasm towards EU membership within the last five months, though a solid majority of Scottish businesses would still vote for the UK to stay in the 28-nation group.

    According to the new poll, 68% of the Scottish-based Chambers members who responded said that they would vote for Britain to remain a member “if the poll were held tomorrow”. This represents a slight decline from the 74% declaring for staying in the previous survey, conducted in September 2015.

    Support for leaving the EU has risen more markedly, from 13.5% to 20%, or one in five of those polled. Meanwhile the number of those who are still undecided has decreased from 12% to 10%.

    On the controversial issue of the timing of the referendum, the survey also showed that Scottish respondents have a preference for delaying the poll until September 2016 (25%), with slighty more wishing for the vote to be deferred still further until next year (26%). However 20% of respondents would be content for the poll to be held in June 2016, a date which some Scottish political parties have argued follows too quickly after campaigning for the May 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections. Only 4.3% of those who stated a preference want the vote to take place in July 2016.

    The poll, which asked respondents “What does the EU referendum mean for your business?” also gives a revealing snapshot of current Scottish business attitudes towards the EU, and of Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempts to wrest the much-anticipated “reforms” out of his counterparts on the European continent.

    When asked to rate the importance of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU to their business, 40.1% of businesses indicated that it was “very important”, while 20.2% stated it was “important”. Conversely, 10.6% stated that it was not important and 6.9% regarded it as “not at all important”.

    Areas of potential negative impact for Scottish business if the UK were to vote to leave, were ranked as follows: overall growth strategy (40.2%), company profitability (40.2%) and import/supply chain strategy (36.3%).

    Out of the four objectives outline outlined by the Prime Minister as priorities for his renegotiation of the UK’s membership of the European Union, the three that respondents thought most likely to have a positive impact were: "Boosting competitiveness by setting a target for reducing the ‘burden’ of red tape" (63.0%), "exempting Britain from ever-closer union", “enhancing national parliaments’ ability to block EU legislation" (43.5%) and "ensuring that steps to further financial union cannot be imposed on non- Eurozone countries, such as the UK" (38.7%).

    Scottish businesses seem relatively less concerned by the issue of restricting migrants’ benefits as an issue that could potentially affect their business. Just under a quarter (24.8%) state that an agreement to restrict benefits would have a positive impact, while 54.1% say that it would have no impact, and only 11.3% indicated that it would have a negative impact.

    However despite all the political emphasis currently being placed on the details of David Cameron’s attempted renegotiation, the majority of businesses (64.7%) stated that it was “unlikely” that the outcome of the Prime Minister’s efforts would affect their voting intentions in either direction.

    The survey also reveals little evidence so far that the Conservative UK Government’s decision to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership would in itself be a damaging distraction in the eyes of Scottish business. The majority of respondents reported that the referendum debate so far has had “no impact” on the following key aspects of their business: business orders and sales (85.7%); ability to recruit new staff (91.2%); ability to attract investment (86.8%) or additions to the total costs incurred by their business e.g. overheads, staff costs etc. (86.9%).

    Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “There is no doubt that the EU referendum debate is being taken very seriously by the Scottish business community and we will continue to watch for shifts in sentiment. We hope that businesses will continue to study the issues and weigh very carefully the implications of staying in or getting out on job security and future trading opportunities.”

    She added: “Growing Scotland’s exporting opportunities is a priority for business, irrespective of the outcome of the EU referendum. Scotland’s exports to the EU fell by 7.8% to £11.6 billion, according to the most recent export figures but this still accounts for 42% of the international market for our goods and services. Scottish businesses will be keen to hear from both sides of the EU referendum debate as to how their competing visions would deliver more exporting opportunities and enable increased growth and competitiveness.”

    NOTES TO EDITORS:

    Of the 456 Scottish Chambers of Commerce members taking part in the survey, 39% export goods and services to the EU and 37% to countries outside the EU, while 55% do not export. With imports, the figures are 40% importing goods and services from inside the EU and 30% from outside the EU, with 54% not currently importing. Those responding are spread throughout a wide range of sectors, with the largest identified groups being professional and business services (including financial legal real estate, office and advertising activities) at 23% and manufacturing (production of goods for sale) at 12%. The survey was conducted between 26 January 2016 and 8 February 2016 and forms part of a wider UK survey of Chambers of Commerce members across all four UK nations.
    East Renfrewshire employers urged to hire Modern Apprentices
    Tuesday, 26th January 2016

    Call made ahead of national campaign to promote apprenticeships.

    Employers in East Renfrewshire are being encouraged to hire Modern Apprentices to develop their workforce. The call comes ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016 from 29 February to 4 March.

    Organised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the campaign highlights the commitment of businesses that have decided to invest in the skills of their employees. It also showcases the successes of apprentices who have chosen to get a job, get paid and get qualified to develop their careers. Last year there were 303 new Modern Apprenticeships in East Renfrewshire.

    John F Hamilton, East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce President, said:

    “There are more than 80 different types of Modern Apprenticeship available and more than 25,000 new starts each year. Apprenticeships cover a huge range of jobs for young women and men – not just traditional trades. We would encourage employers in East Renfrewshire to consider how Modern Apprentices could help develop their workforce, provide skilled staff for the future and support their business goals.”

    SDS Head of Region for East Renfrewshire Sharon Kelly said:

    “Three quarters of Modern Apprentice employers reported improved productivity as a result of employing apprentices. While 71 per cent said Modern Apprentices improved service or product quality – so the benefits to businesses are clear. Skills Development Scotland can provide advice and support to employers to make Modern Apprenticeships work for their businesses.

    Employers can post vacancies for free on our website – www.apprenticeships.scot – so there’s never been a better time to take on a Modern Apprentice.”

    Skills Development Scotland pays a contribution towards the cost of training Modern Apprentices on behalf of the Scottish Government.

    Find out more at www.apprenticeships.scot


    ENDS

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    David Moroney
    External Communications - Modern Apprenticeships
    Tel: 0141 285 6004
    Email: david.moroney@sds.co.uk
    SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT MUST SUPPORT COMPETITIVE BUSINESSES IN 2016
    Monday, 18th January 2016

    Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Indicator engages with five of Scotland’s key business sectors: Construction, Financial and Business Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale and Tourism.

    These findings, released in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute show the position of businesses for the fourth quarter of 2015.

    Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

    “As the Scottish economy heads into 2016, we do so on the back of a year that has been very mixed in terms of the fortunes of Scottish businesses. Our latest Economic Indicator points to continued success for many businesses but the shadow of the continued decline in global oil prices now looks to be extending beyond those businesses operating directly in the sector.

    “Last year, the Scottish construction sector was one of the primary drivers of growth. This remained the case right up until the end of 2015 and despite the fact that optimism in the sector is less strong than it was a year ago, prospects for employment in the sector remain positive. However this is one of a number of sectors where businesses are facing skills shortages, with nearly two-thirds of businesses who were hiring having experienced difficulties in recruiting. Businesses are telling us that they are looking for education and skills providers to be developing the talents that industry needs. Too often an upturn in business activity is not matched by a commensurate increase in the availability of skilled workers.

    “Despite a slowdown in exports, there remain some grounds for optimism for Scotland’s manufacturers, many of which recorded a broadly positive end to 2015. Both revenues and orders remained in positive territory but expectations are for investment to ease in the early part of 2016.

    “Results for tourism have been more mixed, where the sector is markedly less optimistic than it was at the turn of 2015, and retail, where lower revenues and profitability may be a consequence of early and prolonged pre-Christmas discounting.

    “The challenge for 2016 will be to sustain the economic recovery in Scotland and to support businesses to grow, create jobs and compete. In a year when Scotland goes to the polls to elect a new Scottish Parliament that will acquire more powers than ever over how it raises resources, it will be important to consider the impact of taxes on Scottish businesses. The Scottish Government has announced the doubling of the Business Rates supplement for larger businesses this year, whilst some politicians are also contemplating raising Income Tax rates, once more extensive tax powers are available to them. The question that our political representatives must ask themselves is whether these kind of measures will help businesses to create the kind of jobs that Scotland needs to spread wealth and prosperity and deliver the resources that Government needs to provide essential public services.

    “For businesses in all sectors across Scotland, it will be important that Scotland’s new tax powers are used to generate competitive advantage, not to put the recovery at risk.”

    Ends.

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    MEDIA RELEASE - SCC Response to Scottish Budget
    Thursday, 17th December 2015

    POLITICIANS MUST PRIORITISE TALENT AND INVESTMENT

    Commenting on the Scottish Budget for 2016-17, announced by the Deputy First Minister this afternoon, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

    “The Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2016-17 is vitally important for business as it marks the beginning of a new era for the Scottish Parliament’s growing control over Scottish taxes. Whilst the Scottish Government has sensibly refrained from making changes to the Scottish Rate of Income Tax for the coming year, it is notable that businesses have once again become a target for tax rises in Scotland.

    “The Scottish Government’s plans to raid Scottish businesses to provide a further £130 million in Business Rates next year does not sit well with its stated aims of supporting growth, jobs and exports. The Deputy First Minister also promised a review of Business Rates in Scotland and we welcome this. Scottish Chambers of Commerce has been calling for a genuine and fundamental review of Business Rates since the last revaluation in 2010. Previous Government promises to review this tax have been piecemeal and ineffective and we will hold them to account on this latest pledge.

    “In terms of spending, it is notable that areas such as the enterprise bodies, tourism and skills have been earmarked for cuts. This provides an opportunity to take stock and look at what is really contributing to the growth of jobs, wealth and exports in Scotland and to conduct a thorough evaluation of where resources are well spent and where they are not.

    “As politicians of all political parties develop their plans for Scotland over the next five years, they must remember that Scotland needs more talented people and more investment. Any policies that could damage our ability to attract either of these would severely hamper businesses’ ability to create wealth and jobs.”
    MEDIA RELEASE - SCC Comment on Scottish Unemployment Figures
    Wednesday, 16th December 2015

    SCC COMMENT ON SCOTTISH UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES

    Commenting on the release of figures which show that Scottish unemployment fell by 8,000 to 5.6% in the three months to October, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

    “Whilst the fall in Scotland’s unemployment rate and a rise in employment are good news, we still have some concerns about the underlying performance of the Scottish economy in the second half of this year. External factors such as the renewed fall in world oil prices and lower than expected growth in China are continuing to have an impact on a number of key Scottish sectors. This could explain the apparent divergence of UK and Scottish growth rates this year.

    “Also of concern are the recent reports of fragility in the retail sector in the run up to Christmas at a time when low inflation and rising real incomes ought to be pointing towards strengthening consumer confidence, which has been an important driving factor in our recent economic growth. This again underlines the need for our Governments and opposition parties to put business first in 2016 and to do more to attract talent and investment into Scotland.”
    News Release
    Tuesday, 15th December 2015

    Enhanced Travel Plan Boost For Businesses Affected By Forth Road Bridge Closure

    Following the publication of the Travel Plan to address the necessary Forth Road Bridge closure last week, further enhancements will come into effect which will benefit local businesses and communities, Transport Minister Derek Mackay announced today.

    A dedicated Heavy Goods Vehicle/buses only corridor on the A985 will now be open to all light goods vehicles around the clock starting this Monday, with any restrictions lifted at weekends to provide full access to the A985 to all vehicles.

    Restrictions to the A985 priority route will be lifted completely on 23rd December to coincide with the start of the holiday period.

    Mr Mackay said:

    “Since the closure of the bridge and the publication of our travel plan to mitigate its impact, we have been monitoring performance and listening to our stakeholders, including communities and business organisations.

    “The travel plan has seen a 40% increase in rail services and thousands of extra seats, and our bus partner Stagecoach is running more services, including enhanced connections from Fife and Edinburgh and links to Edinburgh trams at Ingliston, to encourage public transport use and relieve pressure on roads around the bridge.

    “Clearly the closure of the bridge has had a significant impact, particularly on small and medium sized businesses, and we and our transport partners have been listening to business community views since the travel plan was implemented.

    “To address their feedback, from this Monday all commercial light goods vehicles will be allowed 24 hour a day access to the A985 priority route.

    “We have also responded to community needs, and so can confirm that all vehicles will have access to the priority route at weekends and outside peak periods on weekdays. We also intend to lift restrictions on the priority route completely on the 23rd of this month to coincide with the start of the holiday period.

    “I believe this will provide assurances to those businesses and communities affected by the bridge closure that we are doing everything possible to ensure access to the local and national economy allowing them as far as possible to go about their day to day business.”

    Superintendent Fraser Candlish of the Police Scotland Road Policing Unit said:

    "With these new enhancements for the A985 it is important that drivers check and understand how it affects them before starting their journey.

    "We have been patrolling the diversion routes every day since the closure and I would thank drivers for their patience. I know it is a challenging time for everyone but if we all play our part, any hold ups can be kept to a minimum.

    "Our primary focus is to keep people safe and I would urge all motorists to pay close attention to their driving, particularly when on unfamiliar roads or when the weather is poor."

    Further transport enhancements have also been introduced - Stagecoach are also diverting services between Fife and Edinburgh to Ingliston Park & Ride to better connect journeys to Edinburgh Airport and the tram network.

    Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director, Stagecoach East Scotland added:

    "The implementation of the bus and HGV priority measures have meant journey times from Fife to Edinburgh are just 90 minutes and we've been able to increase the frequency of services as a result. With more people heading for the buses, traffic on the roads should be that bit quieter and we have a reduced fare of £3 return in place to help ease the cost of the commute.

    “The change of stopping arrangements on our shuttle services to serve Ingliston P&R on the way into Edinburgh will provide easier links to the airport, with agreement from Edinburgh Trams to carry our passengers from the Park & Ride to the airport for free, as well as providing many more journey options to other parts of the city using the trams, or a P&R site for those commuting to Fife."

    Eric Byiers, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce welcomed the change and added “ The need for keeping a close eye on how the travel plan was working was raised at the discussion with the Deputy First Minister earlier this week – as was the suggestion to open the Priority Route to LGV’s. We welcome the change announced today which we believe it will be of assistance to businesses in Fife and beyond. The new arrangements will also have to be closely monitored and policed but from correspondence we’ve received it has clearly been an issue for businesses making deliveries and accessing work locations in the area and this should help both businesses and their customers.”

    FSB’s Scottish Policy Convener, Andy Willox, said:

    “We’re delighted that the government has listened to the FSB and accepted the vital role our members play in keeping Scotland’s economy moving.

    “By allowing vans and other light goods vehicles to use the priority route, more essential journeys can be completed is less time. Tradesmen with deadlines to meet, wholesalers with shops to supply and couriers with customers’ Christmas presents to deliver will be spending more time doing business and less time stuck in traffic.”
    IOTUK BOOST COMPETITION
    Monday, 14th December 2015

    Accelerate your Internet of Things (IoT) product or service from idea stage to a robust and fundable proposition.
    • 20 companies will be selected to attend an intensive 2-day workshop in Glasgow on 17th & 18th February, 2016
    • Up to 5 companies will then be selected for 1-month of incubation support and mentoring in Spring 2016.

    This competition is organised by CENSIS, the Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, in conjunction with The Data Lab and The University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Ventures. It is funded by IoTUK, a national programme designed to amplify the UK’s Internet of Things (IoT) capability and opportunities.

    Full details available here >
    MEDIA RELEASE - RAISING THE SCOTTISH BUSINESS GAME FOR 2016
    Thursday, 3rd December 2015

    Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) hosted its 23rd Annual Business Address on Wednesday 2nd December at the Hilton, Glasgow.

    SCC Chair, Nora Senior, will address 500 senior business leaders from across Scotland and beyond, urging action by both business and government to raise the game in order to deliver a more dynamic and prosperous Scotland.

    Nora Senior, Chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

    “As Scotland enters a new era of devolution, the challenge for business and government alike is to raise our game. Action needs to be urgently taken on supporting four key areas – international trade; ecommerce; bridging the gap between business and education; and supporting women into work.

    “With just 100 Scottish companies responsible for over 60% of Scotland’s exports, I passionately believe that we need to work harder to get more Scottish businesses exporting. Over the past three years, Chambers has extended its range of B2B trade support services, particularly focussed on SMEs, expanded our Global Business Network and established private sector partnerships Our aim is to build an additional complementary programme of engagement for international trade and encourage a redesign of how Scotland approaches and delivers international trade.

    “E-commerce plays a major role in international trade and is a channel that is tailor-made for Scotland. As successful practitioners like Fan Duel and Skyscanner have shown, e-commerce obliterates distance from markets and allows Scottish companies, even those in remote rural locations, to compete on a level playing field for business.

    “Digital communications infrastructure is as fundamental to 21st century Scottish industry as canals were to the 18th, railways to the 19th and motorways and airports to the 20th century. Government should plan its investment accordingly. – not just investment in physical networks of fibre optics, broadband and 4G, but also the human factor - ensuring that no-one is excluded from the digital marketplace, and that superior ICT skills are instilled in our children.

    “Although gender discrimination has no place in the workplace in 21st century Scotland, employment needs to fill a skills gap, not just a gender gap. While imposing quotas might look like a solution on paper, it is unlikely to make businesses better. Instead we need to focus on key areas like childcare that enable parents to remain in the workplace. We need an explosion in childcare provision – the chasm between parental leave and the start of ‘free’ childcare is swallowing up too many talented people and damaging our productivity and competitiveness. Business needs to do its part by stepping up to the task of nurturing the pipeline of women at middle management level onto executive boards.

    “In terms of bridging the gap between business and education, preparing students to face potential employers has to be given the same level of priority as academic achievement in schools. Our schools and colleges need to be properly prepared to participate fully in the economy of the present and the future, preparing young people for the fulfilling, high-skilled jobs that the 21st century economy demands. Chambers are working hard to break down the stubborn divisions between our educators and our businesses and are helping young people with their career choices and aspirations, particularly through the initiative of Regional Panels.

    “The next Scottish Parliament will be a very different animal to the one we have got used to over the past 16 years. The Scottish political dynamic must move away from endless debates about how taxpayers’ money is spent, and instead develop an increasing focus on how those taxes are raised. Politicians will be judged on their actions, not their words, and there is an opportunity here for devolved powers to be exercised in the service of wealth-creating employers rather than talking about them in the abstract.

    “Scotland’s businesses want speedy and bold action from our politicians in the next Scottish Parliament, focussed on creating the best possible environment for growth, aspiration and enterprise. 2016 will bring new opportunities for our businesses and politicians alike. Let’s raise our game and deliver for Scotland.”

    Ends.

    Editor’s Notes:
    1. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce Annual Business Address will take place tonight (2 December 2015) at the Hilton, Glasgow. 500 of Scotland’s key business leaders will be in attendance
    2. The Keynote Business Speaker will be Robert Brozin, founder of Nando’s and Social Entrepreneur
    3. Also speaking will the First Minister, the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and the Chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Nora Senior
    4. The Twitter hashtag for tonight’s event is #ChamberDinner
    5. For more information, please contact Charandeep Singh on 07984 495871 or at csingh@scottishchambers.org.uk
    Free Employment Law Group Mentoring
    Tuesday, 1st December 2015

    Following successful workshops earlier this year and now back by popular demand… starting 10th December

    David Hoey of BTO – Employment Law specialist will be delivering a series of workshops at no cost to you. David is a Partner with Chamber member, “bto” Solicitors (Brechin Tindal Oatts) and is a superb ambassador for the Chamber, you can find out more info on David by clicking here. These sessions are delivered under the Business Mentoring Programme – a partnership between Scottish Chambers and Scottish Enterprise. The criteria for getting a place on this group are:
    • you are a Scottish business generating a steady turnover but want to increase it by £200,000 or more over a three-year period you can access the service at no cost to you
    • Not currently involved in the mentoring programme / nor have been in the last 12 months
    • One person per company – does not need to be the owner – but should be a key decision maker / responsible person
    • Organisation must be based in either Renfrewshire, East Ren, Inverclyde, Dunbartonshire or Helensburgh
    Group Mentoring – There are a total of 12 places available so please book early. The group will meet 3 times for 1 1/2 hours each session (it is a requirement attend all 3 sessions). Details of further follow up/support sessions post workshops completed remotely will be given during the workshops.

    Dates & session topics:

    Session 1 – Managing absence
    Thu 10th December 8:30am – 10:00am
    Long term absence can be damaging and disruptive. One of the most frequent issues employers require to consider is that of managing absence, whether repeated short term absences or long term absence. This session will consider what legal obligations exist in this area and provide some practical guidance to help employers handle these difficult cases, with a focus on real life examples and case studies.

    Session 2 – Bullying and harassment
    Wed 16th December 8:30am – 10:00am
    This session will consider the following issues:
    • What is bullying and harassment?
    • How should employers manage the issues?
    • What practical issues arise when dealing with respect at work?
    • What legal issues need to be considered?
    • Practical pointers
    Session 3 – Employment law update
    Tue 12th January 8:30am – 10:00am
    There have been a significant number of important employment law developments that happened throughout the year that affect most employers. The session will consider the major legislative changes and relevant cases in the field while also looking ahead to changes on the horizon. 2015 has seen a number of important developments including:

    Unfair dismissal
    Unlawful discrimination
    Working time and holiday pay
    Shared parental leave and other family friendly measures
    Employment Tribunal procedure – fees and beyond…

    To register please contact our Business Mentoring Executive, Mark Brown on 0141 847 5458 mbrown@renfrewshirechamber.com. You can park in the Chamber car park for free – situated directly opposite the Holiday Inn Express (press control button and say you have a meeting at the Chamber). Spaces are limited to 12 and are on a first come, first served basis – please book early to avoid disappointment. Non-members are also able to take part.

    Venue – Renfrewshire Chamber meeting room, Bute Court, St Andrews Drive, Glasgow Airport, Paisley PA3 2SW – directly opposite the Holiday Inn Express (free parking). Breakfast rolls with tea & coffee will be available at each session.
    Quarterly economic indicator
    Monday, 2nd November 2015

    REPORT SIGNALS AMBER WARNING LIGHT FOR SCOTTISH ECONOMY

    Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Indicator engages with five of Scotland’s key business sectors: Construction, Financial and Business Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale and Tourism.

    These findings, released in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute show the position of businesses for the third quarter of 2015.

    Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

    “The results of this survey should trigger an amber warning light for our Governments north and south of the border. Despite another extremely positive summer for our tourism sector, there is a trend of slower growth among other parts of our economy. In addition, the apparent slowing down of investment growth in many businesses signals a direction of travel which could lead to declining levels of economic growth.

    “There is further evidence of the continuing effects of low oil prices on the Scottish economy, with the performance of oil and gas service businesses again dampening results in the service sector. The picture in manufacturing is also mixed, with sales up only marginally and profitability declining.

    “The construction sector remains broadly positive, though once again businesses have reported a decline in public sector contracts. This should prompt our Governments to consider renewing their focus on developing Scotland’s infrastructure and supporting investment in Scottish businesses through the public sector procurement process.

    “Tourism businesses reported very strong performance again in 2015, building even further on the solid platform of 2014. Events such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup seem to have succeeded as a ‘shop window’ for Scotland and with new developments such as Glasgow’s SSE Hydro – now the second busiest entertainment venue in the world – Scotland’s tourism offering is better than ever.

    “Although Scotland’s economy is now performing above the level we were at before the recession, we cannot and must not take future growth for granted. It is not inevitable. Growth will require a strong focus from the Scottish and UK Governments on making Scotland a better and more attractive place to do business, reducing fixed costs such as Business Rates and intensifying investment in digital and transport infrastructure.”

    View infographic here.

    Click to download more information >
    Mounted Police Come To The Rescue Of Local Resident – Sam Perks
    Thursday, 10th September 2015

    A Glasgow charity is extending its thanks to Police Scotland after mounted officers recently came to the aid of one of the young people supported by the organisation.

    Sam Perks has autism. His parents, Leanne and Clayton, had expected him to be dropped off by taxi at their place of work after he'd spent time with Cosgrove Care during the day. They were both waiting on the street for him but unfortunately events out with their control meant Sam didn't turn up as expected causing worry for both Sam and his parents.

    Luckily Constables Cook and Mackie from the Police Scotland Mounted Unit happened to be passing the area where Sam had been mistakenly dropped off. The constables immediately took control of the situation providing reassurance to Sam and got him to his parents very quickly.

    Leanne said: "Constables Cook and Mackie were really delightful and showed a genuine care for our son. They didn't treat Sam as if they were simply doing their job in reuniting him with us; they treated him with compassion and kindness. It was so reassuring to see!"

    Chief Superintendent Elaine Ferguson, Commander for Police Scotland Mounted Branch said; "I am delighted Constables Cook and Mackie - riding Kilmarnock and Oban - from the Police Scotland Mounted Unit were able to assist Sam and keep him safe."
    Sam and his family were delighted to meet up once more with Officers Cook and Mackie when the officers and their horses paid a personal visit to Cosgrove Care.

    In fact Sam and his parents got an opportunity to thank the officers in person during this very exciting visit to Cosgrove.
    This gave everyone at Cosgrove a chance to meet the horses and the police officers in a situation which was comfortable to them while increasing their confidence for any future dealings they may have with the police.

    Sam is supported by Cosgrove Care, a charity that specialises in providing personalised support and care services for children and adults who have learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, and mental health problems living in and around Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.

    Walter Hecht, Cosgrove's Chief Executive said: "The officers involved were fantastic in their dealings with Sam and I think that they should be shown to be role models in this respect. I'd like to think that if any member of society noticed a vulnerable person in need of assistance, they would do the right thing and help them. By vulnerable, I don't just mean people with learning disabilities. I'm including all groups of vulnerable people – children, the elderly, someone who has had an accident…..the list is endless."

    Society in general can be a safer place if everyone looks out for each other in the way that Constables Cook and Mackie looked out for Sam!

    Let's follow their lead and hopefully there will be lots more stories with a happy ending like Sam's!
    For further information on the work done by Cosgrove call 0141 620 2500 or visit www.cosgrovecare.org.uk.
    Sounds of the Sixties
    Friday, 4th September 2015

    Sounds of the Sixties, featuring The Revolvers, is a 2 hour theatrical experience featuring the best songs from the most creative musical decade of all time!

    This musical extravaganza catalogues all the memorable moments from an era that changed the face of modern music. From the clothes they wear to the instruments they play, The Revolvers will provide you with an authentic 60s experience.

    WHERE & WHEN:
    7.15pm on Sunday 11th October at Eastwood Park Theatre

    TICKETS:
    £15 from Cosgrove Care (0141 620 2500) or Eastwood Theatre Box Office (0141 577 4970)

    Every year Cosgrove’s tribute concerts sell out and this year isn’t expected to be any different, so if you want tickets, get in touch asap…

    Click to download more information >
    Clarkston BID Renewal Ballot
    Wednesday, 1st July 2015

    It is time to celebrate! The results are in they are very good! I would like to congratulate you and thank you for all your time and energy invested in liaising with businesses and for showing your support despite many critical opinions about the BID in the past. All your efforts really paid off: we had 83 ballot papers returned which means that 61% of all businesses actually voted. This is the third highest percentage of participation amongst all Scottish renewal ballots.

    Detailed results are attached—I hope you are pleased and I hope you will have a very relaxing weekend.

    In the meanwhile, we will celebrate with the new banners and 3d vinyls skins which will go up in the next two weeks.

    Again, congratulations, and special congratulations and thanks to Norrie, Gordon, Peter and Anita because they were restless. I think the whole committee should have celebratory drinks when we meet again in July.

    East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate all involved in the BID.

    Click to download more information >
    The Stand Comedy Club Charity Night—Hosted by Scott Agnew
    Wednesday, 17th June 2015

    Do you fancy an evening of fun and laughter whilst supporting your local charity? If so, get in touch to reserve your tickets for our Comedy Night at The Stand on 17th June!

    The comedians are donating their time and humour.

    The Stand is donating their venue and staff, so 100% of the proceeds will come to Cosgrove. If that’s not a good excuse for a night out, I don’t know what is!

    Click to download more information >
    Customer Service Mentoring Group - Back by popular demand...
    Tuesday, 26th May 2015

    Due to the success of previous groups, Colin has agreed to run another customer service mentoring group based around "How to Deliver Customer Service the Disney way"

    Mentoring Opportunity with Colin Neill: ex Supply Chain Director, Diageo / President Cricket Scotland / Renfrewshire Chamber Director / Renfrewshire Leisure Director / President of Kelvinside Academical Club / School Governor of Kelvinside Academy

    The group will meet 3 times for 2 1/2 hours each session (you have to attend all 3)

    • Friday 5th June 8.30-11am
    • Friday 12th June 8.30-11am
    • Friday 19th June 8.30-11am

    All sessions will include hot rolls / tea coffee - and take place at Renfrewshire Chamber at Glasgow Airport (park for free in our office car park) - Bute Court, St Andrews Drive, Glasgow Airport, Paisley PA3 2SW - direction and barrier access here.

    "Colin is an excellent team builder - with many years proven experience in developing high performing teams. You will learn from these sessions about what is world class customer service and how to apply the principles to your business. If your business deals with customers then this session is for you. Using his experience of implementing world class customer service across Diageo and his experience of learning all about how Disney manage their customer service - Colin will make these group sessions informative, value adding, fun & memorable for all the right reasons. We have ran this mentoring group several times and Colin has also delivered seminars and spoke at a Chamber lunch on this subject. Feedback has always been excellent."

    These sessions are delivered under the Business Mentoring Programme – a partnership between Scottish Chambers and Scottish Enterprise. European funding allows us to offer these sessions to you at no charge, provided you meet the eligibility criteria, which are:
    • Turnover of at least £100K and have ambition to grow
    • Been in business for at least 1 year
    • Not currently involved in the mentoring programme (group or 1-2-1)/ nor have been in the last 12 months
    • One person per company – does not need to be the owner – but should be a key decision maker / responsible person
    • These sessions are open to members & non-members from Renfrewshire, East Ren, Inverclyde, Dunbartonshire & Helensburgh


    To book a place, having checked the eligibility criteria, please contact Mentoring Exec' Mark Brown on mbrown@renfrewshirechamber.com or Bob Davidson CEO on bdavidson@renfrewshirechamber.com

    Spaces limited on a first come first served basis.
    HRH Princess Royal to Officially Open Barrhead Foundry
    Thursday, 14th May 2015

    HRH The Princess Royal will officially open the new Barrhead Foundry on Tuesday 19 May.

    During her visit she will spend time with Barrhead school children, meet locals who use the Barrhead Foundry for sport and leisure, and talk to business owners who use the building’s business zone areas.

    The multimillion pound Barrhead Foundry opened in January 2015 to give local residents access to a first-class library, enhanced sports facilities, digital hub, café, business centre and free WiFi. The centre provides a members only area for local business people or those looking to start their own businesses, where they can get support and advice.

    There are also flexible meeting spaces for local organisations and community groups, and a soft play area for children.
    East Renfrewshire Business Awards Shortlist Announced
    Wednesday, 13th May 2015

    Following weeks of anticipation, the application forms have been submitted, the scores have been counted and we can now unveil the short list for the East Renfrewshire Business Awards 2015.



    Click here for more info or here for tickets.
    Business Awards deadline extended until 5pm Friday 1st May
    Tuesday, 28th April 2015

    Due to popular demand the closing date for the East Renfrewshire Business Awards has been extended. Applications will be accepted until 5pm on Friday 1st May 2015. Application forms can be downloaded here. After the closing date the applications will be passed to the judging panel and you will be notified mid May as to whether or not your application has made the short list.

    The winners of each category will be announced at the awards dinner on Thursday 4th June at the Dalmeny Park Hotel. This year we are delighted that our host for the evening is Karen Dunbar. Tickets for this event are on sale now.

    We look forward to receiving your application!
    Cosgrove’s small collection box
    Monday, 30th March 2015

    Do you have a local business? Would you like to display one of Cosgrove’s small collection boxes? Or perhaps you think your workplace would be happy to have one even if you aren't the owner…

    Cosgrove’s collection boxes may be small but they make a HUGE difference and loose change soon adds up!

    Please email nwalsh@cosgrovecare.org.uk or call 0141 620 2500 to request a collection box (oh and make sure you have your employer's approval beforehand!)

    Nicola Walsh
    Community Fundraising Officer
    Cosgrove Care
    May Terrace
    Giffnock
    Glasgow G46 6LD

    0141-620-2500
    www.cosgrovecare.org.uk
    Launching the Barrhead Foundry Business Lounge
    Friday, 20th March 2015

    The Barrhead Foundry – A Business Lounge to help your business grow

    If you run your own business or want to set up your own business then Business at Barrhead Foundry is the place to be! click here for more details

    The Business Lounge provides small and medium sized enterprises a relaxed, professional working location to conduct business from, allowing you to concentrate on growing your business.

    We will be celebrating the launch of the Business Lounge by having open days on the 16th and 19th of March. The open days present an opportunity for businesses to drop by, try the Business Lounge as a place to work, and have a chat with our team about the benefits of being a Barrhead member.

    Membership starts at £40 (plus VAT)* and includes
    • All day access to the business centre (9am-5pm)
    • High speed Broadband and WiFi*
    • Ten complimentary business events per year
    • Profile of your company on the ‘Business’ Facebook group
    • Complimentary coffee and tea in the business centre
    • Access to printer and photocopier
    • Inclusion in members’ directory
    If you are interested in taking up this great offer enquire today by emailing Foundry@innovationcentre.org or calling 0141 212 6041
    *Fair usage policy applies

    The Chamber of Commerce is in the process of moving into this space – more details to follow.
    Implementation of Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework; Additional Session - 12th March
    Monday, 9th March 2015

    The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) has been developed to help employers, learners and the general public understand the full range of Scottish qualifications, how qualifications relate to each other and to other forms of learning, and how different types of qualification can contribute to improving the skills of the workforce.

    Business Impact

    SCQF has developed an Employer’s Toolkit which supports an improved method of writing, producing and understanding Job and Person Specifications, with a view to improving both the hiring process and workforce development, for the benefit of both employers and employees.

    Route to Employment (RTE) and Minerva People have worked extensively with SCQF implementing the framework over the two years, and would now like to invite you to attend a FREE Two hour information event where you can hear more about the benefits to employers, including:

    • Increasing the effectiveness of recruitment – enabling you to write more appropriate job descriptions and person specifications, utilizing specific competencies, underpinned where possible by National Occupational Standards, so you can recruit the right person with the right skills for the right job.
    • Improve workforce development – by carrying out more effective and focused skills audits which identify employee skills gaps, recognise what further skills your employees need and help you plan the most appropriate training programme to achieve this.
    • Improve retention rates for employers as it benefits both the employer and employee

    The session will be delivered by both RTE and Minerva People Ltd and may include the attendance of a staff representative or Chief Executive of organisations who have recently implemented the tool.

    Where appropriate, a CPD certificate will also be made available acknowledging 2 hours of personal development training.

    The additional session has been scheduled in SCQF Offices at 39 St Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2ER.

    Thursday 12th March 2015 12 noon to 2.00 p.m. 10 places

    We will contact you directly to give you more information about the event or alternatively email: neil@routetoemployment.com for any points needing clarified otherwise please email to book your place.

    Attendees at the Information Session will be given priority booking for limited places at the follow up workshop on 25 March 2015.

    Please book early as there are a limited numbers of places.
    Barrhead Housing Association achieves Silver Accreditation
    Monday, 2nd February 2015

    East Renfrewshire based Barrhead Housing Association has achieved the double success of Investors in Young People and Investors in People Silver accreditation.

    Investors in Young People is the only people management standard that focuses on an employer’s recruitment and retention of young people. This represents a true commitment to the training and development of young people and demonstrates Barrhead Housing Association as an employer of choice for young people.

    Launched in July 2014, Investors in Young People originated through a key recommendation from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, led by Sir Ian Wood. The accreditation is offered to all businesses across Scotland and exists to recognise and support organisations across Scotland in the employment of young people.

    Achieving Investors in People accreditation meanwhile, illustrates Barrhead Housing Association’s dedication to their employees and demonstrates a solid foundation of good practice which remains challenging and aspirational for many organisations.

    Commenting on the award, Rena McGuire BEM, Chairperson of Barrhead Housing Association said, “I’m delighted the Association has progressed to IIP Silver and has achieved IIYP. The employment of young people not only brings a fresh enthusiasm within our overall team but it allows our young people to consider housing as a career.”

    Peter Russian, Chief Executive of Investors in People Scotland, said “I’m delighted that Barrhead Housing Association has achieved IIYP and IIP Silver accreditation. To see over 1,000 young people working in IIYP accredited organisations in such a short space since the launch date is testimony of the appeal, rigour and value that organisations across Scotland are putting on the award. We now have organisations accredited in nearly every geographical part of Scotland covering the private, public and third sector”

    For more information, contact Barrhead HA at 0141 881 0638, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit our website – www.barrheadha.org
    Implementation of Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework; Free 2 Hour Sessions
    Sunday, 16th November 2014

    The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) has been developed to help employers, learners and the general public understand the full range of Scottish qualifications, how qualifications relate to each other and to other forms of learning, and how different types of qualification can contribute to improving the skills of the workforce.

    Business Impact

    SCQF has developed an Employer’s Toolkit which supports an improved method of writing, producing and understanding Job and Person Specifications, with a view to improving both the hiring process and workforce development, for the benefit of both employers and employees.

    Route to Employment (RTE) and Minerva People have worked extensively with SCQF implementing the framework over the two years, and would now like to invite you to attend a FREE Two hour information event where you can hear more about the benefits to employers, including:

    • Increasing the effectiveness of recruitment – enabling you to write more appropriate job descriptions and person specifications, utilising specific competencies, underpinned where possible by National Occupational Standards, so you can recruit the right person with the right skills for the right job.
    • Improve workforce development – by carrying out more effective and focused skills audits which identify employee skills gaps, recognise what further skills your employees need and help you plan the most appropriate training programme to achieve this.
    • Improve retention rates for employers as it benefits both the employer and employee.

    The session will be delivered by both RTE and Minerva People Ltd and may include the attendance of a staff representative or Chief Executive of organisations who have recently implemented the tool.

    Where appropriate, a CPD certificate will also be made available acknowledging 2 hours of personal development training.

    Three sessions have been scheduled in SCQF Offices at 39 St Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2ER.

    27th November 2014 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. 10 places
    2nd December 2014 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. 10 places
    3rd December 2014 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. 10 places

    If you wish to book a place please email: neil@routetoemployment.com or email: tricia@minervapeople.co.uk and confirm your booking with your preferred dates of attendance.

    Please book early as there are a limited numbers of places. We do hope to see you on your preferred date.

    Thank You.
    Trusted Trader
    Sunday, 16th November 2014

    Why does East Renfrewshire Council need a Trusted Trader Scheme?

    Residents in the area, particularly the vulnerable, are frequently targeted by unscrupulous, cold calling, rogue traders who do not reside in East Renfrewshire.

    These rogue traders are depriving reputable local traders of valuable work.

    Victims of cowardly home maintenance fraud are often charged thousands of pounds for worthless unnecessary work leaving their victims traumatised.

    Click to download more information >
    EAST Project
    Tuesday, 14th October 2014

    EAST project is a service for individuals aged 16+ who have a learning disability or significant learning difficulty and want to get into employment.

    ENABLE Scotland’s ‘Employment Academy for Supported Training (EAST)’ is a Big Lottery funded, supported employment project operating in East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire. The EAST project aims to support young people affected by a learning disability, significant learning difficulty and a social or communication need, who want to work and need help to access employment.

    Young people will be assisted in developing an individually tailored employment pathway based on their own unique needs and work ambitions and will be supported, through a programme lasting up to 18 months, to work towards their goals by developing skills and overcoming barriers.

    Our skilled employment staff will design training that builds skills and confidence, and can involve anything from developing travel skills to accredited training.

    We know that people learn the most about work, at work. We will partner with local employers to develop real work experience opportunities, with on-site support from our staff.

    Once the young person has developed the skills and motivation, we will support them to become independent jobseekers and find paid employment. What’s more, once they have a job we will continue to offer support to both them and their employer.

    If you would like to find out about ENABLE Scotland’s EAST project and see if it may be appropriate for someone you know, please contact us. Our Programme Coordinator will then get in touch and will assess the suitability of the referral for the project.

    For more information, contact:
    Project email address: east@enable.org.uk

    Briony Williamson, Senior Programme Coordinator
    Telephone: 07889 456 215
    Email: briony.williamson@enable.org.uk

    Emma Hill, East Renfrewshire Programme Coordinator
    Telephone: 07889 456 523
    Email: emma.hill@enable.org.uk

    Sam Steven, East Dunbartonshire Programme Coordinator
    Telephone: 07889 456 670
    Email: samantha.steven@enable.org.uk

    Douglas Smith, Programme Coordinator, East Renfrewshire/East Dunbartonshire
    Telephone: 07889 456 213
    Email: douglas.smith@enable.org.uk
    Absolute Legends Concert
    Thursday, 9th October 2014

    Are you a home worker, new entrepreneur or small business in East Renfrewshire?
    Monday, 8th September 2014

    Would you like to meet with other local business people?

    Come to our free, informal networking lunch and hear from local business man, Steven Smith, Director of Aldwych & Co Ltd who were winners of the East Renfrewshire Business Awards: Outstanding Performing Business and Most Promising Business June 2014.
    Come along and get inspiration for your own business and discuss opportunities available to you.

    Date - Wednesday 10th September 2014
    Time - 12noon
    Location - Giffnock Library
    To book - business@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk


    About Steve: A successful Director with a proven track record of sales growth, Steven is a hardworking and target driven professional. Having worked across a diverse range of industries, he has assisted a variety of businesses to increase their sales and access new markets both in the UK and internationally.

    Steven has also worked across Europe, Australia, Africa and the US with some of the world’s most prestigious companies – including Google, Danone, Boeing, The Ritz Carlton and Barclays. Steven’s time spent analysing and advising these high-profile global growth businesses, at Boardroom level, has shaped an intuitive methodology based on driving innovation, bringing products to market and maximizing sales revenues.

    Since selling his stake in the influential corporate development consultancy he founded in 2009 (which achieved seven figure turnover within 18 months, operating across four continents), Steven is the Managing Director of a professional services company based in Scotland. He is well networked, excellent at relationship building and has strong commercial acumen.

    Specialties: Sales & marketing, business strategy & growth, innovation, finance, operations, leadership, business model development.

    About Aldwych and Co Ltd: Aldwych & Co Ltd are a B2B professional services company helping clients to grow their business through tailored interventions including lead generation, recruitment of sales positions, provision of marketing campaigns & databases, sales training and business consultancy.

    A boutique agency that works in partnership with clients to build long-standing relationships based on successfully delivering sales growth.

    They customize their approach to the needs of each client, provide hands-on support and are focused on growing their business in a sustainable and profitable way.

    Sales are the lifeblood of any company and they strive on helping clients maintain a healthy pipeline to increase conversion rates.

    We look forward to seeing you for lunch!
    Cosgrove Care’s Sponsored Family Fun Bike And Hike
    Wednesday, 11th June 2014

    Join Cosgrove Care at their second annual sponsored family fun bike and hike.

    Date - Sunday 22nd June 2014
    Registration - 1.30pm
    Time - 2pm - 4pm
    Registration - £5 per person
    Where - Rouken Glen Park
    Refreshments - Provided

    If you have 2 wheels, 3 wheels, 4 wheels, feet or paws, you’ll find that this is an activity that will be fun for all generations of the family.
    Cosgrove are asking participants or non-participants to drop off any unwanted bikes on the day. These bikes will be donated to The Barrhead Mellow Velo Club (BMVC) for their service users to repair and recycle.

    For more information or a sponsor form, contact Nicola Walsh:
    Telephone: 0141 620 2500
    Email: nwalsh@cosgrovecare.org.uk
    Website: http://www.cosgrovecare.org.uk/sponsored-family-fun-bike-and-hike/

    Click to download more information >
    West College Scotland - Breakfast Bites
    Thursday, 5th June 2014

    West College Scotland is launching a new series of business breakfasts – ‘Breakfast Bites’.

    Aimed at local businesses the breakfast sessions will be hosted by experts from the college who will talk about how the college can help support you to develop and drive your business.

    June sessions
    11th (Clydebank Campus)
    12th (Greenock Campus)
    13th (Paisley Campus)

    Event Format 8.00am–9.15am
    · Breakfast/Networking
    · Welcome and overview from Joan Archibald, Head of Innovative Learning
    · Interactive Session
    · Audience Q&A
    · Networking
    · 9.15am—Event close

    Please book your place at any of the above sessions by emailing Janet Lessells on janet.lessells@wcs.ac.uk by Monday 9th June.

    Click to download more information >
    Cosgrove Care launches five-a-side football tournament
    Thursday, 1st May 2014

    Join businesses, organisations and groups of friends at Cosgrove’s first five-a-side football tournament.
    16 teams will play in a World Cup style (4 groups of 4 teams) competition. The tournament will be fully refereed by qualified SFA officials.

    The winner’s trophy will be presented by Lynne Beattie - Captain of the Great Britain Women’s Volleyball Team, a London 2012 Olympian and a Scottish internationalist.

    Date - Sunday 1st June 2014
    Time - 1.30pm kick off
    Cost - £75 per team (of 7 – 8 players)
    Where - Pro-Soccer, Rouken Glen Park

    Community Fundraising Officer, Helena Winocour said:
    “We are also going to have a silent auction on the day because we managed to get some great prizes including a football signed by the Celtic first team, a tour for 6 people of Ibrox, the Hampden Experience tour for 4 – and personal training sessions!”

    For more information or an entry form, contact Helena Winocour on 0141 620 2500 or email hwinocour@cosgrovecare.org.uk or enter online here.

    Cosgrove Care is a charity that specialises in providing personalised support and care services for children and adults who have learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, and mental health problems living in and around Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.

    For further information on the work done by Cosgrove Care call 0141 620 2500 or visit www.cosgrovecare.org.uk
    Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014
    Monday, 21st April 2014

    Skills Development Scotland to make Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014 ‘bigger and better’

    Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014—from May 19 to 23—will focus on the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the Scottish economy.

    The week’s events highlight the commitment of businesses that have decided to invest in the skills of their workforce.

    Scottish Apprenticeship Week also showcases the successes of apprentices who have chosen to develop their careers by learning while they work to gain nationally recognised qualifications.

    Skills Development Scotland hopes that during the week employers, training providers and all other partners will encourage many more employers to take on apprentices.

    Find out how to get involved at www.scottishapprenticeshipweek.com where you can also fill in an online event form.

    For further information about Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014, email scotapprenticeweek@sds.co.uk or call 0141 285 6004.


    Tweets

    We’re supporting Scottish Apprenticeship Week 19 to 23 May
    #scotMAweek14

    Could you be a part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014? From 19 to 23 May
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    Free Intro to Social Enterprise Workshop
    Wednesday, 16th April 2014

    Would you like to learn more about social enterprise as a career path? Or are you considering setting up a social enterprise as a trading arm for your organisation? Or maybe your just interested as to what is involved.

    VAER will be holding two introductory social enterprise workshops, ideal for anyone considering setting up a social enterprise or for anyone who is interested in learning more.

    Each workshop will cover:

    • An Introduction to Social Enterprise
    • Idea Development
    • Funding Streams
    • Marketing and Business Planning

    Workshops will be held on two dates: the 1st and 28th of May (1pm to 3pm) at Undercover, 56 Kelburn Street, Barrhead, G78 1LR. Booking is essential as places will be limited.

    To book a place or to find out more contact Grant McLean:
    Telephone: 0141 876 9555
    Email: grant@va-er.org.uk

    Click to download more information >
    FREE Business Networking Lunch
    Monday, 7th April 2014

    28th April, 2014 – 12 noon, Giffnock Library

    Hear local business woman, Linda Foy from the Non Surgical Lipo Clinic tell the story of her first year in business. The business support she received, the highs and lows and what she learned. Come along and get inspiration for your own business and discuss opportunities available to you.

    Spaces will be limited and allocated on a first come first serve basis. To reserve your space email: business@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk
    The East Renfrewshire Business Awards are now open
    Wednesday, 19th March 2014

    Now in their third year the 2014 event promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The awards are open to all members of East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and businesses operating in the East Renfrewshire area. The range of award categories has been designed to be fully accessible to all businesses. 2014 categories include the popular Home worker Award, Excellence in Customer Services and Outstanding Performing Business to name but a few. We are delighted to announce that the events principal sponsor for 2014 is Barr Construction and Asda.

    Chamber president John Hamilton says “It is my pleasure to formally announce the launch of the East Renfrewshire Business Awards 2014. The awards have grown significantly and I would like to thank our sponsors in particular for their continued support. This event marks the end of a busy year at East Renfrewshire Chamber, our events have attracted record numbers of attendees and we have grown our membership significantly. The business awards provide a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the success of the chamber, our members and businesses in East Renfrewshire.”

    The 2014 categories are:

    • Excellence in Customer Services Award - sponsored by East Renfrewshire Council
    • Home worker Award - sponsored by Taylor Wimpy
    • Most Promising New Business - sponsored by Business Gateway
    • Family Business of the Year - sponsored by Barr and Asda
    • Outstanding Performing Business (less than 5 employees) - sponsorship still available
    • Outstanding Performing Business (less than 25 employees) - sponsored by Gleniffer Estates
    • Outstanding Performing Business (more than 25 employees) - sponsored by East Renfrewshire a Place to Grow

    The closing date for applications is 5pm on 17th April 2014 and winners will be announced at the Business Awards Dinner on Thursday 5th June where guests will enjoy a pre-dinner drinks reception followed by a 3 course meal with wine.

    Tickets can be purchased for this event by visiting the East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce website www.eastrenchamber.org.uk

    For more information please contact:

    Laura Mills
    Entourage UK
    0141 887 6181
    Events Policy
    Friday, 14th March 2014

    Free events
    Our Free events are open to all ERCC members who have paid their membership subscription fees. Each member is allowed to bring a colleague or a non member to these events. Any additional places will be charged for at the non members rate (usually £15 for standard networking events).

    There will be a non attendance fee of £10 if you have booked an event but are unable to attend, however a substitute can be sent in their place. Companies are required to give 3 working days notice before the event to avoid this charge.

    Non members are welcome to attend the free events for a small fee. If a company is considering joining and would like to attend an event to sample the chambers events subject to availability, they can attend once as a guest.

    Chargeable Events
    Chargeable events will be offered at member and non member rates to encourage companies to join the chamber.

    The amount must be paid before the event. Should you wish to cancel, 3 working days notice must be given for a refund to be offered, an administration fee will be required. Delegates can of course send a substitute in their place.
    Accord Hospice nominated
    Wednesday, 5th March 2014

    Our Petra Trek last October which made a profit of £23,000, has been nominated for an award at the Scottish Adventure Awards which takes place on the 5th of March. There is a public vote which plays a huge part in deciding the winners so please vote for us at: www.scottishadventureawards.com/publicaward
    Embark on a personal challenge for Cosgrove Care
    Friday, 31st January 2014

    Are you looking for a Personal Challenge in 2014? If so, then you should get in touch with Cosgrove Care.

    On 25th May some of the hardy staff and supporters of Cosgrove Care are planning to embark on the National Three Peaks challenge and fundraise at the same time!

    This involves walking the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales - within 24 hours!!

    Community fundraising officer, Nicola Walsh said: "This is a new type of fundraising activity for us and I’m expecting it to be a popular. I think this will be a challenge, it will encourage camaraderie and there should be a few laughs along the way. We'll have qualified mountain leaders, transport between the three peaks and accommodation for a much needed sleep!"

    If you think this could be the challenge for you please contact Helena Winocour on 0141 620 2500 or by email at HWinocour@cosgrovecare.org.uk

    Cosgrove Care is a charity that specialises in providing personalised support and care services for children and adults who have learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, and mental health problems living in and around Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.

    For further information on the work done by Cosgrove Care call 0141-620-2500 or visit www.cosgrovecare.org.uk
    Partners for Business
    We are an independent, not for profit, company whose aim is to promote and facilitate business, encourage a healthy business environment and improve prosperity in East Renfrewshire.
    Giffnock B.I.D. East Renfrewshire Council
    I Love Clarkston Scottish Chambers of Commerce
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