The Chamber is supported in its policy formulation process by our Policy Council and Chamber Networks. The groups comprise members of the Chamber's Board and Council and representatives of the wider Chamber membership. Members who would like to find out more should contact Kate Yuill, Policy & Communications Manager.
Oil & Gas Survey
16th Chamber Oil and Gas Survey underway
The 16th Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Oil and Gas Survey, sponsored by law firm Bond Pearce is now underway.Oil and gas operators and contractors are to be asked if the planned independence referendum and its possible consequences is affecting their investment decisions.
Over the last four decades, £468 billion has been invested in exploring for, developing and producing the UK's oil and gas reserves and the 16th Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Oil and Gas Survey, sponsored by law firm Bond Pearce , will try to determine if the prospect of the 2014 Referendum is having any impact on future plans.
A wide range of operator, contractor and service companies have been invited to participate in this well established and highly regarded survey which is launched today. Feedback will be used to track sector performance and to understand the issues faced by respondents within the sector and in particular how these relate to and impact upon the wider business community that the Chamber represents.
To complete the survey please download and complete using the links below...
Chamber Oil and Gas Survey announces new sponsor
The Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Oil and Gas Survey which provides vital intelligence about the state of the industry has a new sponsor.
Bond Pearce, a leading legal firm in the energy sector with its Scottish office in Aberdeen, is to support the survey for the next two years.
Oil & Gas Survey Background
The Chamber carries out a regular and independent survey of the oil and gas sector twice a year which is conducted by the independant Fraser of Allander Institute. A wide range of operator, contractor and service companies are invited to participate in this well established and highly regarded survey.
The aim of this work is to gauge and to understand the trends within the industry, looking at optimism and order books at home in the UKCS and overseas - and identifying wider issues facing the sector. Feedback is then used to track sector performance and in particular how these relate to and impact upon the wider business community that the Chamber represents.
The 15th Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Oil and Gas Survey has been published. To view the press release click here.
The 27 members of the Chamber’s Policy Council meet bi-monthly and are elected by the wider chamber membership representing all sizes and sectors of business.
They work with the Chamber team to develop Chamber policy and opinion on issues which are important to the business community.
Holding Office until 2014
Currently the Regional Director for Aberdeen City and Shire, Shona spent 28 years working in the Tourism Industry spanning Hotels, Strategic Relations and Quality Assurance including consultancy in the UK and Europe. She is also a member of the SCDI North East Area Committee and on the ACSEF Management Team.
Alex is Senior Manager Commercial, Aberdeen for Lloyds Banking Group. He leads a dedicated team of Relationship Managers and Relationship Directors managing a wide portfolio of Bank of Scotland & LloydsTSB SME customers. Alex is also a Director and Honorary Vice President of Forfar Day Care Centre.
Stewart Milne Group Ltd
John is Managing Director of Stewart Milne Homes North, board member and past Chairman for Homes for Scotland, an advisor to AFC’s Youth Academy, chairman of the Grampian Housebuilding Committee, member of the National Housebuilder and Consumer Code steering groups and a member of the Planning and Modernisation Group.
Belinda was appointed Head of Economic Development in January 2011. She is responsible for delivering the conditions for economic growth in line with the Council's economic strategy. Priorities include Energetica, the industry sectors of food and drink, energy and tourism along with providing support and advice to businesses, and town regeneration.
Graham & Sibbald
Simpson is a chartered surveyor and partner in property consultant Graham & Sibbald. As well as his role on the Council, he chairs the Employment Land Audit working group, is a member of ACSEF Energetica Steering Group and a member of the RICS Dispute Resolution Panel.
Tim graduated as a Geology and Mining Engineering and now has over 25 years oil and gas industry experience. In 2009, he was appointed Vice President Communications and External Affairs for BP’s North Sea business across the UK and Norway.
Holding Office until 2013
Steve is Chief Executive of HR and employment law firm, Empire HR and is also Chairman of Enterprise North East Trust (ENET). Steve is a Patron and fundraiser for Cancer Link Aberdeen and North (CLAN) and is also involved with the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and the Aberdeen International Football Festival.
Ali is a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years experience in the Oil and Gas industry. As the Business Development Director for Production Services Network (PSN) he is a key member of the team that led the successful MBO to create PSN in 2006.
Sylvia has experience in several industries including Oil & Gas, Hospitality, Construction, Transport, to Food & Drink, as well as the Public Sector. She holds roles on a number of boards including the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, and is a Court Member of the University of Abertay, Dundee.
Kevin is chairman of SME Covey McCormick Creative Marketing, an award winning advertising, marketing and communications agency founded in Aberdeen in 1987. He is a trustee of the ARCHIE Foundation, a member of the Board of Governors of Lathallan School and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
| Richard Tinto
Richard was elected to the Chamber Council in 2010. He is the major shareholder and managing director of Tinto Architecture Ltd. A Northern Star Rising Star finalist in 2008, Richard was a founding member of the steering group which formed Young Chamber Connections in 2006/2007.
Beverley is a member of the CIPR and the PRCA and one of only seven Scots to make it into the industry's definitive guide - The PR Powerbook. Beverley has built a reputation for offering creative PR and marketing solutions to her clients.
F G Burnett
Graeme is a Director of property consultant F G Burnett. Industrial property is his forte providing, as he does, consultancy advice on agency and rent review matters. As well as the RICS, Graeme is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Jennifer Young is a partner with Ledingham Chalmers LLP. Accredited as a specialist in Construction Law by the Law Society of Scotland, Jennifer heads up the firm’s Construction Unit; and is a member of the Board of Governors at the Robert Gordon University.
Aberdeen City Council
Councillor Ian Yuill is Vice Convener of Aberdeen City Council's Finance and Resources Committee. A councillor for over sixteen years, Ian has experience of working in both the private and third sectors. He is a Chartered Marketer, Member of the CIPR and Fellow of the RSA.
Holding Office until 2012
Bruce is Head of Office at wealth management specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, Bruce also sits on the Brewin Dolphin National Executive for Financial Planning. He is a Burgess of the Guild of Aberdeen, and a member of both the Securities Institute and the Professional Finance Society.
David is Executive Director – Human Resources at Robert Gordon University, the Sunday Times Best Scottish University of the Year 2010. He is a member of several higher education policy and advisory groups, including the national pension forum which advises on pensions matters in higher education.
Christine began life as a geologist/geophysicist and worked in many parts of the world before settling in Scotland. She was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to the oil and gas industry. She is Chairman of the Scottish Institute of Sustainable Technology and has spent many years on the Board of the Franco Scottish Business Club.
John has been a Chamber Council member for over 20 years – He is a partner in the long established Charles Michie Retail Pharmacy Group, Chairman of :- IFB - Internet For Business ltd.; ACCA – Aberdeen City Centre Association ; BiD – Aberdeen’s Business Improvement District and a Board member of ACSEF.
David Rennie has over 30 years experience in corporate and commercial law. He deals primarily with corporate acquisitions/ disposals, equity investments and banking. David is mentioned in the 2010 edition of the Legal 500 where he is praised for his business acumen.
Peter is one of five partners leading McGrigors' 45 strong national team of specialist employment lawyers.
He has a keen interest in the Arts and serves on the Business Advisory Group of Arts & Business Scotland as well as the Chamber Council.
Gordon is a medical doctor and director of Ark Occupational Health, the proud 2010 winners of the Northern Star Business Award for RGU Student Placement. He enjoys the interaction with other members of Council and the role it and the Chamber has in making Aberdeen a better place to do business.
Co-opted Members of Council
| Steve Callaghan
Steve’s career has spanned forestry; nature conservation; environmental studies; museums education work; heritage outreach and access work; heritage management.
Steve joined the National Trust for Scotland in March 2007 and is Group Manager for Buildings & Gardens North covering from Castle Fraser on the East to Inverewe Garden on the West.
Craig is Centre Manager for Bon Accord & St Nicholas Shopping Centre having had extensive retail experience as Store Manager of Bhs, House of Fraser and latterly Debenhams, where he won the Scottish Retail Award for Store Manager of the Year 2010.
Before taking up her post as chief executive with Aberdeen City Council in 2011, Valerie had over 25 years' public sector experience having worked in local government since 1989 and prior to that the health service in Northern Ireland from 1983. Before taking up her new Aberdeen post, Valerie was Town Clerk and Chief Executive of Derry City Council.
Ex Officio Members of Council
Colin was Chamber President from 2009 - 2011. He is a consultant for Brewin Dolphin; a board member of the Aberdeen Harbour Board; chairs the board of Robert Gordon's College and is an appointed member on the board of ACSEF. Colin was awarded an OBE in 1994 for his services to housing.
Dean of Guild
Fred is Dean of Guild for the City of Aberdeen. A lawyer and accountant by profession, he is mainly involved in property development and was appointed recently as chairman of Sport Aberdeen.
AGCC Key Policy Issues
Key Policy Issues
- The key issues impacting on Chamber Members' businesses are as follows:
- Economic Development / NE Scotland Regional Development
- Tax, Regulation & Business Competitiveness
- Education & Skills Development
- Labour Market Flexibility
- NE Scotland Regional Development
- Local Authorities Role, Responsibilities and Funding
- ICT and e-Commerce
- Rural and Agricultural Affairs
- Fishing Affairs
- Scottish Executive Power and Funding
- Regional Governance, Funding and Development
- Business Start Up and Grant Support
- Europe - all matters
- Energy - Oil, Gas and Renewable
The Chamber has run various high profile campaigns in response to concerns from Chamber members on a number of different issues.
Transport is a major issue of concern for Chamber members and an area where we have campaigned extensively. Transport has a disproportionate impact on this region because of our geography. We must see sustained capital investment in our infrastructure to improve our connectivity and support the nationally important North-east economic contribution.
There must be significant reduction of journey times between our major cities. We need positive proposals for reducing travel time between Aberdeen and central Scotland by 20 minutes through a commitment to necessary track improvements.
There should be significant improvements to the capacity, comfort and reliability of connections. The level of overcrowding on some routes is not acceptable.
High Speed Rail must extend to Scotland if we are to benefit fully from the improved rail infrastructure south of the border. Shorter journey times between London and Central Scotland will make rail travel a viable option for business travellers between those two areas. This would free up slots at Heathrow for flights to Aberdeen and Inverness where rail travel will never be a viable business alternative.
A well-defined case for the reopening of Kintore Station has been presented and is now a priority for the region.
The rise in Air Passenger Duty announced in November 2010 could result in 1.2million fewer passengers over the next three years and cost the Scottish economy up to £77million in lost tourism spend. It also risks undermining the long term viability of some existing routes and jeopardises future route development. Our APD is the highest in Europe and we must continue to campaign against future rises.Protecting and improving our access to Heathrow and Gatwick (and onward destinations) is essential. Our geographical distance from the London hubs means other forms of travel/transport are not viable for business and other use.
Proposals to significantly raise landing charges at Gatwick for carriers serving regional destinations in the UK compared to smaller increases for larger carriers seems clearly intended to limit the number of flights flying in and out of the London hub from points around the rest of the UK. We ask the Civil Aviation Authority to investigate this.
The Route Development Fund for Scotland sent out a strong message that we wanted to bring new routes to our airports. Scotland must be proactive if it is to be competitive in attracting these and we call for the reinstatement of this fund.
Completion of the AWPR: We ask all political parties to confirm that this project will remain a priority and that they will ensure that the necessary funding mechanisms are available to progress this.
Planning on associated projects including the dualling of the A96; Haudagain roundabout improvements; new park and ride and freight facilities should begin immediately to ensure seamless completion of the entire infrastructure.
We are extremely concerned about a recent proposal by the Scottish Government that these major projects, including the AWPR itself, will be tendered as one single contract as this increases the risk of further delay to the overall project.The condition of Scotland’s roads is among the worst in Europe, undermining our position as a country with global business seeking to secure further inward investment. While additional funding, such as the £2million allocated to tackle pot holes is welcome, it is not enough to make significant improvement.
Annually Scotland’s ports handle 102million tonnes of freight and 10.5 million passengers. Aberdeen and Peterhead ports have benefited from multi-million pound private sector investment. Now public sector support in the form of urgent investment in the wider transport network is essential to maximise that potential through fully integrated links via road and rail.
Government support for a sea route development fund could help maximise benefit from these key transport hubs by improving freight and passenger links to Europe.
Scotland must make the most of, and prepare for, the opportunities available from both decommissioning and renewables and we must support the deep water harbours which have the potential to service these industries.
AGCC Transport related Media Releases:
Business Rates Campaign
AGCC has lobbied heavily on the issue of Non-Domestic Rates and its impact on businesses. Businesses must be insulated from the worst excesses of revaluation increases and legislation must be put in place to restore transitional relief.
A review must examine the frequency of the revaluation process – the five years between 2005 and 2010 meant little account was taken of the longest and deepest recession in our history.
Government must review the bureaucracy surrounding the rating appeals process to clarify the process, particularly for SMEs pursuing an appeal unassisted.
AGCC Business Rates related Media Releases:
Get wise Energise
The focus on energy issues at national and international level has increased significantly over the past few years. The energy challenge is something we all are aware of. The Government has indicated its intention to push energy efficiency as one of the key methods to reduce the country's carbon emissions. The SME sector accounts for nearly half of the emissions it is therefore essential the sector is not left out in the cold.
In response to government policy, increasing fuel costs and the impact of Climate Change Levy Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Business Environment Partnership North East (BEPNE), Save Cash and Reduce Fuel (SCARF) and the Energy Saving Trust (EST) has created a campaign to inform members on how they can save cash and reduce fuel by using simple measures to become more energy efficient on an every day basis and at the same time reduce the impact of climate change.
Energy efficiency is a prime method of reducing energy bills and also limiting business' exposure to the Climate Change Levy. There are currently many different agencies businesses can turn to for help to reduce their energy bills.
Every business, across a range of sectors, including food and drink, paper, oil and gas, construction, transportation, healthcare, leisure and tourism can identify cost savings no matter how large or small. Let us help you reach your targets become more Energy Efficient.
The Get Wise - Energise campaign, launched on 31st October will run for 9 months and culminate in an award for the company that has implemented the most energy efficiency measures. The overarching theme for the Get Wise - Energise Campaign will be energy efficiency and fuel costs. In addition there will be specific bi-monthly themes backed up by case studies that will be featured in the Chamber's e-bulletins.
There are many different points of contact that members can turn to for help - finding the right one is often difficult or confusing. SCARF, BEPNE and the EST are all not for profit organisations and offer SMEs free, impartial andindependent advice and information on energy efficiency, waste management and best ways to cut fuel bills and carbon emissions.
For the duration of the campaign we will take a ‘one stop shop' approach using the Chamber as the initial point of contact. All enquirers will be treated as confidential and put in touch with the agency that can offer members the help they need. Services on offer include:
- Answers to questions about saving energy
- Advice on how to get the best unit cost for fuel
- Free energy audits
- Free waste audits
In-house energy days and staff awareness programme
- Training, events and case studies
- Information on grants and capital allowances
Sign up to the Campaign
To register an interest in the Campaign complete and return the registration form - in return you will receive a free Campaign Pack with lots of hints on how to save energy, the first in the series of case studies. The outline programme is attached and will be updated to take into account members suggestions
Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route
Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route
The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is the most important transport infrastructure project in the North East of Scotland and will bring a range of substantial benefits to the region.
It is a key component of the regional transport strategy, designed to improve accessibility, reduce congestion and journey times in Aberdeen City.
The route, which includes the strategic fast-link to Stonehaven, will take private and business traffic quickly and safely around Aberdeen with links to existing major roads and key locations such as Aberdeen Airport, park and ride sites and major industrial estates.
The AWPR will take large quantities of traffic from unsuitable rural routes and improve safety for road users. The route is forecast to reduce road accident numbers in the north-east.
In bringing these improvements to the road network the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route will also have a positive impact on the local economy through better access to the north-east, along with greater opportunities to integrate private and public transport.
Draft Road Orders confirming the proposed layout of the Western Peripheral Route, including the Stonehaven Fastlink, were first published in mid-December 2006, along with the Environmental Statement for the road. A further set of draft Orders and updated Environmental Statement, detailing junctions and side-road connections, were published in September 2007.
A series of exhibitions was held in January and October 2007, during formal public consultation periods relating to the publication of the draft Orders, giving the public the opportunity to give its response to the project proposals.
The Department for Planning and Environmental Appeals held a Public Local Inquiry into the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route proposals between September and December 2008, during which interested parties were given the opportunity to give evidence relating to the proposals.
Inquiry reporters David Gordon, Scott Ferrie and Michael Cunliffe are expected to submit their findings to Scottish Ministers later in 2009.
The road is being developed by Transport Scotland - the national transport agency - in partnership with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, with the support of the Scottish Government. It is due to open in 2012.
AGCC Policy Positions & Consultations
AGCC Policy Positions & Consultations
The Chamber is currently updating its policy positions on the issues which are relevant to its members. This review will be based on feedback which we have received from our Chamber Policy Council and Chamber Networks.
The Chamber's policy stance on many of the key issues affecting North East Scotland's business community, is summarised in the document 'A Manifesto for Business'.
For information on furthur policy positions, please click on one of the links below:
ACSEF Planning Modernisation Group Review
As the Chamber is currently standing down after completing its two year role as Chair of the ACSEF Planning Modernisation Group, we have prepared an ‘end-of-term’ report on the work of the PMG and what has been achieved in that time.
To view an electronic copy of the report click here