The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Ayrshire estate agents Donald Ross calm house price crash fears

LEADING Ayrshire estate agents Donald Ross have reacted quickly to calm fears that we might be facing a crash in house prices in the UK.

Last week the International Monetary Fund reported that the property boom of the past ten years has left the British housing market in danger of following the slump in American house prices.

In a bleak warning, the IMF found that homes in Britain were overpriced by up to 40 per cent — far more than the overpricing in the US before the current property slump began there. The finding might fuel fears over housing market prospects after growing evidence recently that prices have already begun to fall in some parts of Britain.

However, Donald Ross Estate Agents managing director Steven Miller (pictured above with his wife and fellow director Jacqueline at their offices in Ayr) denied that a house price crash was likely to happen here in the UK.

Moreover he said: “It is our view that the Ayrshire housing market in particular is extremely robust; therefore we do not expect the talk of a price crash to greatly effect the local market.

“However the longer term picture may differ from previous years, in that there could well be lower house price inflation in the coming months and years.”

The annual rate of house price inflation in Scotland is now 14.2%, above the UK average of 10.7%, according to the latest Quarterly Scottish House Price Index from Bank of Scotland. Prices in Scotland rose by 0.7% in the third quarter of 2007.

The average price of a house in Scotland is currently £141,158. This is 29% less than the UK average of £198,898.

Greater London prices are now just 2.3 times higher than those in Scotland, compared with 3.0 times five years ago.

The average house price in South Ayrshire is now £170,668 compared to £159,147 a year ago, an increase of 7%. In North Ayrshire the average price is now £139,772 compared to £119,860 in 2006, an increase of 17%. And in East Ayrshire the average house has risen 11% from £123,709 last year to £136,723 now.

Bank of Scotland chief group economist Martin Ellis commented: “House prices in Scotland are still the most affordable in the UK, despite an annual rise of 14.2%. This increase is well above the UK average of 10.7%. The average price of a house in Scotland is currently £141,158 - which is 29% less than the UK average of £198,898.

Because of this large increase in prices over the past year, the gap between prices in Scotland and London has narrowed to 2.3 times, down from 3 times in the third quarter of 2002.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Ayrshire solicitor urges Scottish Government
to reverse asbestos compensation judgement

An Ayrshire solicitor has expressed disappointment at this week’s House of Lords judgement blocking compensation for pleural plaques, an asbestos-related lung condition that accounts for as many as 75 per cent of all asbestos claims in the UK.

Norman Geddes is the senior partner in the Accident & Injury Claims Centre in Ayr, part of Frazer Coogans Solicitors.

He said: “It is disappointing that the House of Lords has ruled that people with pleural plaques shouldn’t be awarded compensation. The condition of pleural plaques, which causes thickening of the lung membranes, clearly indicates the presence of asbestos fibres in the lungs, and can lead to clinical depression caused by anxiety over that asbestos, which may in turn cause life-threatening illnesses to develop later.

“However, it is important to stress that, in spite of this ruling, people with mesothelioma, a malignant tumour in lung tissue caused by exposure to asbestos, are still entitled to receive compensation.”

In his House of Lords ruling, Lord Leonard Hoffman wrote: “Proof of damage is an essential element in a claim in negligence, and in my opinion the symptom-less pleural plaques are not compensatable.”

Norman Geddes commented: “This judgement can only cause further anxiety for people who are already living with the knowledge that their lungs have been irreparably scarred by asbestos, but who have not yet developed an even more serious condition. The Scottish Government must enact legislation urgently to remedy this most unjust situation.”

Accident & Injury Claims Centre

Accident & Injury Claims Centre, Solicitors, is a firm of Scottish solicitors established in 1996 to provide a dedicated specialist legal service to parties seeking compensation.

The partners of the firm have between them over thirty years experience of legal work including compensation claims and related civil litigation. Norman Geddes is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Monday, 15 October 2007

Ayrshire Chartered Accountants Sinclair Scott
attack Alistair Darling U-turn

Ayrshire Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers, Sinclair Scott have attacked the changes to capital gains tax announced by Alistair Darling in his first Pre-Budget Report.

With the introduction of a flat capital gains tax rate of 18% and the removal of indexation, many business owners will face an increase in their capital gains tax rate from 10% to 18%.

[Picture shows: Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants partner Andrew Sinclair.]

Andrew Sinclair, partner in Sinclair Scott has commented: “It is incredible that one of the most business-friendly aspects of the UK tax system has been reversed by the new Chancellor in his first major speech. It is particularly difficult to understand, as business asset taper relief was heralded as a way of encouraging entrepreneurs when it was introduced by the current Prime Minster Gordon Brown.”

As the change is not effective until after 5 April 2008, there is a period prior to this date when action can be taken to qualify for the 10% tax rate.

Sinclair Scott are encouraging all business owners and owners of properties used for trading purposes to consider what action they can take to qualify for the 10% rate. They have produced a number of action points:-

Consider disposing of business interest or property let for trading purposes prior to 5 April 2008.
Bring forward any relevant disposals which are planned for after 5 April 2008.
Consider incorporating a sole trader or partnership business and/or transferring assets to a limited company prior to 5 April 2008.
Making gifts to children or other family members to generate a capital gains tax disposal prior to 5 April 2008.

Andrew Sinclair explained that it is imperative to review all your assets to identify if any action can be taken within this window of opportunity.

As a footnote, whilst business owners may be hit with increased capital gains tax, many investors (including second property owners) will have a lower capital gains tax rate at 18%.

Whilst there are winners and losers, particular importance will be placed in deciding whether assets should be disposed of prior to or after 5 April 2008.

Fame Publicity Services Ayrshire Business News PR-GB

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Peckham’s entertain Ayrshire Food Network
and guests at Prestwick Airport

Ayrshire, Scotland, 14 October 2007--Peckham’s Deli Cafe at Glasgow Prestwick Airport held an informal reception last week for members of the Ayrshire Food Network and their Italian guests.

In 2004 and 2006 the Ayrshire Food Network visited Terra Madre in Turin, an international event aimed at exchanging ideas between people in the food sector.

However this time it was the AFN’s turn to host Tino Montagnesi, president of Slow Food in Bergamo, and his wife Silvia.

The couple spent a weekend in Scotland as guests of the AFN, and Peckham’s made sure they would not go hungry on Tuesday’s flight home. They laid on a spread made up of local produce including haggis oatcakes and Arran Cheddar cheese and some liquid refreshment.

Ayrshire Food Network chairman Howard Wilkinson said: “This type of exchange visit is very important as there are huge opportunities for import and export, as well as cultural and tourism links between Ayrshire and the Bergamo area.”

Also at the reception were Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell and Peckham’s manager Chris Pendrill.

Peckham’s is highly successful and well respected licensed delicatessen and restaurant group, widely recognised as the best of its kind in Scotland. The expansion of its branch at Prestwick Airport is now complete. The new Deli Cafe serves tasty treats, coffees, hot meals and bespoke sandwiches in the main airport terminal building from 5am till 10pm.