Chambers of Commerce merge

WIGTOWNSHIRE’S two Cham- bers of Commerce have merged into one organisation representing member businesses in west Galloway.

The move was formally agreed at a meeting held in Stranraer on Wednesday, January 11, when an agreement between the two chambers was formally ratified and signed.

The merged chamber will be known as the Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce.

President Peter Jeal said a single chamber would give the business sector in west Galloway a far stronger voice and greater influence on matters central to their wellbeing.

He said: “There has never been a more important time for all businesses, many of which are facing tough times, to sup-port the chamber’s efforts to ensure economic growth, either through its own initiatives or in partnership with other agencies where the views of the business community need to be heard and represented.

“We believe there is considerable potential for growth in this area. But businesses must be prepared to play their part in helping bring this about.”

Discussions between the two chambers had been taking place since last October and follow a previously unsuccessful merger attempt in 2010.

Former chair of the Stranraer and District Chamber of Commerce, Wolf Richthofen, said: “This merger gives the business community across Galloway a stronger voice and offers a greater dynamic in fighting for more investment into the region. Moreover, it cuts down on duplication of effort when it comes to engagement with government and potential investors at all levels. We would urge businesses across the region to join the new chamber.”

Asked about the previous merger attempt, Mr Richthofen said: “That was then. Much has changed since and we need to be pragmatic in the face of such dire economic circumstances. This merger provides a unified platform for local businesses and strengthens our hand when it comes to lobbying for more government investment, particularly in the hi-tech sector.”