The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Scottish Enterprise announces 140 jobs for Ayrshire

Almost 800 jobs will be created or safeguarded across Scotland in a £7 million boost to the economy, Scottish Enterprise announced today, as it published the quarterly report on Regional Selective Assistance (RSA).

[Pictured: Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson.]

The report, which outlines grants accepted between October and December 2009, shows that RSA funding totalling £7.28 million was accepted by 27 businesses during the last quarter, signifying the planned creation of 528 new jobs for Scotland, and safeguarding a further 257 jobs.

Regionally, Glasgow welcomed almost £3.65 million of the funding, thanks to the planned relocation of Odyssey Financial Technologies to the city, while the other main regional beneficiary is Ayrshire, where five companies have been granted an additional £1.84 million.

The funding offered to Ayrshire companies Airframe Components Europe, Braehead Foods, Emergency One (UK), Spirit Aerosystems (Europe) and Woodward International Inc represents a quarter of the total RSA funding from the last quarter and will provide a welcome investment for the region, helping to create or secure over 140 jobs.

The manufacturing and aerospace industries were the biggest sectoral beneficiaries during the last quarter, respectively receiving 23% (£1,693,000) and 21% (£1,551,000) of the total funding offered, while the food and drink, energy, digital media and automotive industries also received an investment boost.

RSA is a national scheme which provides grants to investment projects that will create and safeguard employment. Responsibility for the scheme passed from the Scottish Government to Scottish Enterprise during the last quarter, so the current report includes grants offered by both parties.

Commenting on the report, Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson said: “RSA funding is one of the key tools we can use to encourage both indigenous and foreign companies to invest in Scotland, helping to create new jobs and ensuring Scotland’s economy can remain globally competitive.

“It is encouraging to see that confidence among international investors remains high, evidenced by the fact that half of the businesses named in the report are foreign direct investors. This is testament to the sterling work undertaken by our colleagues at Scottish Development International in securing the commitment of these international companies to invest in Scotland.”

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (pictured above) added: “In what remains a challenging economic climate, it is encouraging to see a number of companies in Scotland expanding and creating vital new jobs.

“Schemes such as RSA have an important role to play in securing fresh investment. Building on today’s announcement, the pace will not slacken as the Scottish Government continues its work to position Scotland’s economy for recovery.”

The full RSA quarterly report can be accessed at:

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is the main national scheme of financial assistance to industry. It provides discretionary grants to investment projects that will create and safeguard employment in areas designated for regional aid under European Community law.

Payment of RSA is made in instalments, typically over several years as job and capital expenditure targets are met.

For more information on RSA go to


Scottish Enterprise

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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

South Ayrshire Council Leader Hugh Hunter Retires

Councillor Hugh Hunter retired today (Wednesday 27 January) as Leader of South Ayrshire Council.

Councillor Hunter (pictured above) made the decision to step down to allow for “a new era of leadership.” He confirmed he would continue to serve as a Conservative Councillor for the Prestwick ward where he was first elected in 1999.

Councillor Bill McIntosh is the new Leader of the Conservative Group. He is currently the portfolio holder for Resource and Performance.

Councillor Hunter said: “I have been honoured to serve as South Ayrshire Council’s Leader. We have made huge progress in the last three years in becoming a modern, ambitious organisation focussed on delivering high quality services for the people of South Ayrshire. I have worked hard with my portfolio holders and fellow elected members to make strong, sustained progress. I am proud of what we have achieved. I believe the time is right for a new era of leadership to steer the Council through the challenging times that lie ahead.

“While I am retiring from the office of Leader, I will continue to serve the people of Prestwick as their local Councillor to the best of my abilities and do everything in my power to represent them well.

“I am immensely proud of all this Council has achieved during my time as Leader and I will support the administration to ensure the Council continues to deliver high-quality services for the people of South Ayrshire.”

South Ayrshire Council chief executive David Anderson (pictured above) said: “Hugh has led the Council through one of the most challenging periods it has ever faced.

“Over the past three years, the Council has been completely transformed in terms of decision-making and officer structures, cross-party working and financial stability, and a new dynamic and ambitious Council has emerged that has vision for the future. This will make a real difference to the people of South Ayrshire.

“I thank Hugh for all his work and efforts, and look forward to working with his successor to continue to do all we can to establish South Ayrshire as the most inclusive, sustainable and dynamic community in Scotland.”

South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan (pictured above) said: “Hugh has done a terrific job leading the Council since May 2007. His tenure has been one of achievement focused on making South Ayrshire Council a modern, ambitious organisation. His strong focus has been on the people, businesses and organisations within the local authority, and improving service standards. Working with cross-party support, he has transformed the Council. He has steered it to a position of financial stability, and we now have a clear strategic approach to our business. Hugh has worked tirelessly and has injected wisdom, experience and compassion to the role. He has worked relentlessly for the people of South Ayrshire, and we are indebted to him for what has been achieved over the past 3 years.

“Bill McIntosh has worked closely with Hugh in transforming the Council and in the development and delivery of the Council’s Improvement Agenda. He is the natural choice to take over at the helm. His experience will be invaluable going forward, and the Conservative Group look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Councillor Hunter will continue as Leader of the Council until a special meeting of South Ayrshire Council on Wednesday 3 February, where the future leadership of the Council will be considered.

Councillor Hugh Hunter’s retiral letter: CLICK HERE



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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

South Ayrshire Council approves way forward for Girvan

South Ayrshire Council today (Tuesday 26 January) agreed to develop detailed proposals on a new facility to support the regeneration of Girvan and South Carrick.

The decision was taken following consideration of a local partnership proposal to operate the town’s swimming pool. Council members were advised that the bid presented significant technical, financial and operational difficulties and so could not be recommended to Councillors as a viable solution for residents in Girvan.

Following a motion by Council Leader Councillor Hugh Hunter, Councillors agreed the swimming pool could not be considered as an isolated issue in Girvan and that there is a need to look at leisure facilities, including a swimming pool, as part of a wider strategic view of the health, education, economic, environmental and social needs of the area.

Members then approved the development – in partnership with the Girvan Strategic Group and informed by local consultation – of detailed proposals for a new multi-faceted facility in Girvan that would address these needs and also consider toilet requirements and facilities associated with Marina development.

A report on these proposals will be brought to Council later this year and Councillors presented with recommendations for consideration.

To enhance the general environment of the harbour and beachfront area, Councillors also approved the demolition of the swimming pool and attached buildings, which will allow for the reinstatement of parking facilities and agreed that the dredging of Girvan Harbour should be undertaken early in the 2010/11 financial year.

Councillor Hugh Hunter, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “This is a very emotive issue for everyone involved and I fully appreciate the strength of feeling it generates.

“Council members gave the partnership proposal, for which I thank the board of directors, our fullest consideration and regrettably it does not provide the robust and confident solution this town needs. Our priority at all times has to be the wider and sustained regeneration of Girvan and its surrounding villages.

“This area is an important part of South Ayrshire and we now have an exciting opportunity to take a strategic and holistic approach that will produce far better outcomes and experiences for people in the local communities who all recognise the potential their town and villages have to offer. And I urge the board of Girvan Swimming Pool Ltd and its supporters to get on board and help drive this forward.

“There is a huge amount of potential for partnership working to achieve the type of wider economic regeneration which could help establish a whole host of quality facilities – public and private – that will benefit everyone in this area.

“We’re committing £250,000 to take the first steps of the journey to build the momentum that will transform this part of South Ayrshire and create the town we both want and need Girvan to be.

“We will work closely with local communities to hear their views as we progress the necessary development work and I look forward to hearing the detail of the proposals that will put a confident Girvan firmly back on the map.”

Councillor Nan McFarlane, Leader of the SNP Group and Portfolio Holder for Social Services, seconded Councillor Hunter’s motion.

She said: “While the community bid looks and sounds good on the surface, the outcomes and uncertainties it offers for local communities in Girvan really are second best. That’s not what we want for Girvan and I’m sure it’s not what the people want either.

“A joined-up approach that provides a significant opportunity to explore the wider issues in the area with a view to meeting economic, social and health needs and really making a difference to people’s lives in a practical and tangible way is what the people of Girvan deserve.

“This demonstrates our commitment to acting now regarding the future of community facilities – including a swimming pool – serving Girvan and the surrounding areas and working in partnership to rejuvenate this fantastic part of the country and ensure it achieves all its ambitions.”

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Monday, 25 January 2010

Nick Parsons returns to address the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

By: Murdoch MacDonald

EMINENT market analyst Nick Parsons (pictured below) will return to Ayr in March to update members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle about the current state of the international financial markets, and the Scottish, UK and world economies.

Members who were privileged to have been at the Circle meetings previously addressed by Nick Parsons in July 2008 and in March last year will be relishing the opportunity of hearing his no-nonsense, no-holds-barred approach to economic realities once again.

[Pictured left to right: Markets analyst Nick Parsons is welcomed to the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle meeting in March last year by South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan and Norman Geddes, executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and senior partner at Ayr-based Frazer Coogans Solicitors. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

Nick Parsons will be speaking at the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle meeting on Thursday 25 March 2010 at 11.30am. The meeting will be held in the boardroom of the Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre in Alloway Street, Ayr, kindly arranged and hosted by managing partner Willie Mackie. A buffet lunch will be provided.

[Pictured left to right: Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie; Elite Ayrshire Business Circle guest speaker Nick Parsons; and Clydesdale Bank Treasury Solutions partner Neil Wilson.]

Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie said: “I am delighted to welcome Nick Parsons back to Ayrshire, where he has previously met with Ayrshire businesses and shared with them his thoughts on the UK and global economies. We are very keen to keep our customers fully informed regarding the wider economic situation, and I am sure Nick will encourage healthy debate once again in March.”

Nick Parsons joined nabCapital (like Clydesdale Bank, part of the National Australia Bank Group) in 2007 as Head of Markets Strategy, based in London.

He has over 25 years experience in Foreign Exchange and Money Markets, having previously held posts as Global Head FX Research, Head of Macro Research and Group Economist.

He is a regular contributor to CNBC, BBC, Sky, and Bloomberg News, and is frequently quoted by major newspapers and news agencies.

Clydesdale Bank

Clydesdale Bank is part of the National Australia Group. Clydesdale Bank was established in 1838 in Glasgow and has a proud history of innovation and support for Scottish industry and communities. With over 150 retail branches and a network of Financial Solutions Centres, Clydesdale is one of Scotland's largest banks. The Bank is currently expanding its operations into the South of England with its innovative Financial Solutions Centres, offering customers a highly integrated business and private banking service.

Yorkshire Bank

Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859 in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Yorkshire Bank has 190 retail branches, a strong personal customer base and a growing business banking capability with 77 Financial Solutions Centres. Yorkshire Bank is a trading name of Clydesdale Bank plc, a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group of companies. Yorkshire Bank joined the Group in 1990.

Financial Solutions Centres

Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centres (FSC) offer Members a tailored range of business and private banking services under one roof. A team of specialist partners, each with considerable local experience, work together to provide Members with end to end solutions for their business and private banking needs. In addition to banking services, the FSCs also operate as a hub for local business, with a range of networking opportunities and meeting facilities available as a benefit of membership.

Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre, Ayr is a founder member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.



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There are currently 645 Ayrshire business stories permanently archived on this site. To locate those of most interest to you, please use the site search facility in the top left hand corner of this page. Type your search term in the white box, then click the magnifying glass symbol.

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