The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 19 February 2015

58 new South Ayrshire Council homes

58 ideal homes for South Ayrshire Council tenants are being created at Lochside in Ayr. Modern, bright, energy efficient and set in carefully landscaped areas, homes and a community to be proud of.

The Lochside homes costing £6 million will be the Council’s fifth new affordable housing development and is supported by Scottish Government funding. 

[Pictured: Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Customer First Portfolio Holder is pictured with Jane Armstrong and Andy McClung from the Lochside Neighbourhood Group as others involved in the project celebrate the start of the work.] 

This marks the start of a £15 million investment in new affordable housing across South Ayrshire over the next two years where the Council will work in partnership with the Scottish Government. 

Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Customer First Portfolio Holder for the Council said: “The result is a multi-million pound housing development that tenants can be proud of. These new houses reflect exactly what the people of Lochside want and we know that because we asked them.”

The new housing development comprises a mixture of flats, bungalows and cottages to meet the needs of different tenants. All the homes will be built to ‘Housing for Varying Needs’ standard and will be adaptable to accommodate the changing needs of tenants over the course of their lifetime. All the units will be modern and of a high quality and all will be highly energy efficient, making them affordable for tenants to heat and maintain.

The new development will be set within a bright and spacious streetscape with newly landscaped areas and connecting roads, which will improve the appearance of the area for local residents.

Jane Armstrong, Lochside Neighbourhood said: “This is a great thing for the people in the area and a great opportunity for local people. We have had our say on the overall design of this new housing development and have been delighted to work alongside services working in the area.” 

Councillor Saxton concluded: “The Council is committed to building new homes that meet the housing needs and aspirations of our tenants and these high quality modern energy efficient homes will do that.

“These new homes are a direct result of us working in partnership with the local community to bring about this ambitious housing development.  For the new tenants, whether returning to Lochside when the houses are complete, or relocating there the future is bright.” 

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Scottish employment level at record high

Unemployment level falls to below 150,000 for first time since 2009

The number of people in employment in Scotland has reached a record high of 2,625,000, according to Labour Market Statistics published by the ONS covering the period October – December 2014. These figures also show the level of unemployment fell by 15,000 over the quarter and has now reached below 150,000 for the first time since 2009.

Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed the latest figures that show:

• Scotland is outperforming the UK with higher employment, lower unemployment and higher participation rates
• Youth unemployment fell to its lowest level and rate in five years, whilst youth employment increased over the year
• Inactivity rates are at the lowest on record at 21.3%
• Female employment increased by 20,000 over the quarter to 1,301,000 - the highest female employment level on record
• The female participation rate is also at a record high of 75.5 per cent, above the UK rate of 72.5 per cent

The Deputy First Minister said: “Today’s figures are hugely encouraging and demonstrate a robust, more inclusive and active Scottish workforce supporting our economy which in itself is going from strength to strength. We must remain absolutely focused on continuing to deliver those better economic prospects and vigilant about challenges within different sectors of the economy.

“Scotland is outperforming the UK on all three headline labour market indicators with employment continuing to increase and unemployment down. We have moved up two places in European youth unemployment rate comparisons at a time when we strive to create not just more, but better, jobs for those living in Scotland.

“Unemployment is now back to levels not seen since 2009 as the Scottish economy continues to recover.

“Female employment and participation are both at a record high, and above UK rates. The gap between male and female employment rates in Scotland has shrunk to a record low of 4.0 percentage points – compared to 9.5 percentage points in the UK. Not only is the employment rate in Scotland higher, we are also seeing more women in employment.

“This clearly demonstrates that the Scottish Government can do much to secure economic growth, tackle inequality and protect public services within the limited powers we have, but we want to – and can – do more.

“UK Government proposals for the devolution of support to the unemployed fall well short of what was promised, hampering efforts to address joblessness by devolving only a section of the current support network and leaving important levers to support people as soon as they become unemployed in the hands of UK ministers.

“We will be working closely with stakeholders to ensure these proposals are improved for Scotland and that they reflect the views of ordinary people.”

The Deputy First Minister continued: “The Scottish Government is committed to working with a range of partners to support all of Scotland’s young people towards and into employment. And it’s encouraging to see the youth unemployment level and rate fell to their lowest in five years, whilst the youth employment level increased. While we are approaching the pre-recession level of youth unemployment - a good benchmark - we have ambition to see this go much further.

“I strongly believe the public sector should lead by example and take forward the recruitment and training of young people by engaging with the education system to provide development opportunities for young people. Organisations such as Scottish Enterprise who are achieving the status of Investors in Young People set a good example and I hope to see more public sector bodies following their lead.”

Second February meeting at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse holds its second meeting of the month with February Jumps Raceday on Monday 23 February.

The six race card kicks off with a two mile maiden hurdle at 2.20pm and runs through to the two mile four furlong handicap chase at 4.20pm.

The feature race, is the Best Odds Guaranteed at Handicap hurdle over two miles with a prize fund of £10,000 with the Handicap Chase over three miles three furlongs the main supporting race.

For more information on racing at Ayr call 01292 264179 or go online at

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Now is the time for farmers to assess cash needs and consider restructuring debt

The beginning of the year is typically the time when farmers take stock of their finances - often in readiness for the annual bank manager review. Given the generally poor outlook for farm-gate prices especially in sectors such as potatoes and dairy, the task this year may not be one to be relished.

“Finding the time to properly assess the financial status of the business and knowing where the cash pinch-points will be in the future could be the difference between success or failure for some”, says Robert Taylor (pictured above), partner in charge of AMC agency at CKD Galbraith, who offers the following advice.

Be realistic and budget honestly

The first imperative is to budget honestly and be realistic with your projections and assumptions. Being over-optimistic on your calculations will not serve you well when it comes to the reality of your cash flow and the requirements for working capital.  How much will you need and when? What will this mean to your overall debt position and how will you manage this in the best interests of your business?

“Hope for the best” or take the time to plan for the longer term

For some, the impetus for planning ahead will be to “trade through” the next few months. This may mean some “fag packet” calculations, arriving at a reasonably sensible figure, speaking to the bank manager and adopting a “hope for the best” outcome. It’s a strategy, but ultimately could be a costly one. However, the chances of having to do it all again in six months’ time, and with a poor set of accounts is likely to be high.

Others will invest the time to more fully consider all the key financial drivers of their business. This could include the short to medium term cash needs, say for the coming year, but may also include the need to invest in the business over time. Whilst the appetite for this may be low, the reality is that even some level of on-going capital investment will be needed for the business to succeed.

When a realistic assessment of cash need is done it’s time to consider the total level of debt and how this can best be structured. With cost management high on the agenda, knowing the total monthly or annual cost of borrowed money becomes a key consideration and one that informs the best option for the business for the future.  

The overdraft is an obvious starting point but there are other, more secure, alternatives that could provide breathing space for the business to trade successfully through a tough time. 

Re-structuring hard core debt over a longer period

A long term loan from AMC can provide a way to repay existing hard core debt over a long term, up to 30 years. Loans can be structured to suit your particular circumstances including interest only or repayment terms at variable or fixed rates of interest. Once in place the loan is un-callable (and can be passed across generations) so long as loan commitments are met. Interest rate margins are agreed for the term of the loan and there are there are no annual reviews.

Guaranteed working capital

The AMC Flexible Facility provides a secure source of working capital for a period of 5 years during which time the only person that can ask for the agreement to be changed is you, the customer. It operates on a similar basis to an overdraft and as cash flow needs alter throughout the farming cycle funds can be drawn down and then repaid and then drawn again over the 5 year term. Once in place there are no annual reviews and the loan margin and annual facility fee are agreed at the outset applies for the full five year term and interest is only charged on the amount drawn.

For further information on AMC’s shorter term facility or their long term mortgage please call Robert Taylor at CKD Galbraith on 0800 38 99 448 FREE.

About CKD Galbraith 

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach. 

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres.  CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

Robert Taylor is partner in charge of rural valuations and AMC agency for the firm. He is a qualified Auctioneer and Chartered Surveyor with over 25 years working experience in both the rural and commercial property sectors.

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 
Ayrshire, Scotland 

Tel: 01292 268181   
Fax: 01292 292300 

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.