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Call to tweak haggis recipe for US export market

Credit: ITV Border

The recipe for haggis should be "tweaked" to get round a decades-old ban on the food in the US, Scotland's Rural Affairs Secretary has said.

Richard Lochhead, who will be in the US this week, said selling Scottish haggis to the Americans would be worth millions to the Scottish economy.

Haggis imports have been outlawed in the US since 1971. The country's food standards agency prohibits sheep lungs - one of the key ingredients - in food products.

Eden businesses urged to make most of Tour of Britain boost

Credit: Eden District Council

Businesses in Eden are being encouraged to take advantage of the Tour of Britain coming to the area on 10 September with the help of an online business toolkit available via

The toolkit has been produced by the Economic Development and Tourism teams at Eden District Council and contains practical advice about how different business sectors from accommodation providers to shops can benefit from the Tour.

It has information about:

  • How businesses can benefit
  • Practical information
  • Sponsorship and branding
  • Promoting Eden
  • Becoming cycle-friendly
  • Using special offers to add value
  • Joining in the story online via social media

"The ToB coming to Eden is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to showcase their services and products. The ToB gives a shop window to a worldwide audience via TV and will bring many spectators to the area for the Cumbria stages.

“We have seen in Carlisle and Kendal the economic benefits the race brought in 2013 and I encourage local businesses to maximise this opportunity. The Business Toolkit we have developed contains loads of practical advice; including how your company can become cycle-friendly, promote special offers and encourage your staff to get involved. So visit the Invest in Eden website to find out more and to see our other business support services.”

– Cllr David Hymers, Eden District Council’s Economic Development Portfolio Holder

To download a copy of the Eden ToB Business Toolkit visit:

No smoking signs reminder to South Lakes businesses

SLDC Environmental Health Officer Peter Adams with a no-smoking sign that businesses are legally required to display at all entrances to their premises Credit: South Lakeland District Council

Businesses in South Lakeland are being reminded that it is a legal requirement to display ‘no smoking’ signs at all entrances to their premises.

Spot-checks by council officers have revealed a significant number of businesses are still not complying with the legislation.

The government introduced smoke-free laws in 2007, which made it an offence to smoke in virtually all enclosed public places, workplaces and public and work vehicles.

Managers of smoke-free premises have a legal responsibility to prevent people smoking and part of the law requires no smoking signs to be displayed in a prominent position at every entrance to the premises.

Failure to comply with the laws is a criminal offence. Failure to display no­ smoking signs carries a fixed penalty notice of £200 imposed on whoever manages or occupies the smoke-free premises or vehicle, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) officers are responsible for enforcing the law and can offer information and support to help businesses meet their legal obligations.

The council operates a ‘progressive enforcement’ policy, giving advice to businesses initially and only resorting to prosecution if the business fails to act on the advice.

“So far everyone we have spoken to has listened to the advice and we haven’t needed to issue any fixed penalty notices.

“But our recent checks have shown there are still many businesses that are not complying with the law. We just want to remind them that there is the risk of a fine or prosecution if they don’t do something about it.’’

– SLDC Environmental Health Officer Peter Adams


Free lunch networking event for South Lakes businesses

Retailers are being invited to think about innovative ways to boost their businesses at a free lunch and networking event in Bowness.

The ‘Retail Special’ business lunch, organised by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), is being held at the Laura Ashley Hotel The Belsfield, in Bowness, on Wednesday, 11 March from 11am to 1pm.

Guest speakers will be encouraging retailers to think about everything from their shop window first impressions to their on-line offering.

Visual display trainers from York-based ‘Made You Look!’ will be offering handy hints on how to create eye-catching window and interior displays and on how retailers can raise their profile and increase sales.

There will also be a presentation from a second speaker about how retailers can complement and enhance their high street trading by using effective on-line promotions, sales and marketing.

The council’s Invest in South Lakeland economic development team holds regular free working breakfasts/lunches and networking events throughout the year across South Lakeland.

The lunch at the Belsfield is open to all South Lakeland businesses and any that may be wanting to re-locate to this area.

“These events help the council to engage with businesses and provide a forum for businesses to discuss issues that directly affect them.

“They also provide attendees with an ideal opportunity to network with other businesses and make new contacts.

“This lunch is aimed at retailers in South Lakeland to offer some useful advice and support as part of our commitment to work with local businesses to encourage growth in our town centres.’’

– Councillor Giles Archibald, SLDC portfolio holder for town centres and small business

For further details and to register for the lunch on 11 March, visit:

Big business for small firms in D&G

A scheme set up to help small and medium businesses in Dumfries and Galloway isproving a big international success.

Access Six helps companies to compete in foreign markets. They do everything from giving advice on the demand for Scottish products abroad, to sharing contacts across the world.

Fiona McIlwraith went to two businesses in the region to find out more.

Small businesses find international success

Chris Harrison owns Waulkmill Cider near Langholm. He started the business in 2010, and now sells cider vinegars and perry as well. He's been trying to grow the company and now, with the help of Access Six, exports to Germany.

Access Six is a project run by Scotland Run and Drink. Small business who sign up are given a mentor to help them develop their company and look at exporting to foreign markets.

Chris Harrison now exports his product in Germany Credit: ITV Border

Chris said:** **"Any help that a small business can get, especially at the moment, is worth taking. If you can get on board with an organisation like this, people can assist you with making contacts, helping you with the paperwork and the red tape. It's an absolute wealth."

Export advice for new routes to market

Small and medium businesses (SME's) across south west Scotland are eligible to apply for a new programme that will help them export their products.

Access Six is an initiative funded by the European Regional Development Fund that provides training and mentorship for food and drink SME's in the border regions in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Amanda Brown, from Scotland Food & Drink, explains what the programme is about.

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