STAR-STUDDED LINE-UP BRINGS THE CURTAIN DOWN ON SMASH-HIT PLATFORM FESTIVAL

A limited number of tickets are available for a star-studded closing event at Perth Museum & Art Gallery which will bring down the curtain on the PLATFORM Festival this weekend.

Top of the bill on Saturday evening (April 1) are well-known Perth College musicians, Conor Heafey and Elliot Stradling, who will perform alongside Corbenic Poetry Path’s Jon Plunkett.

Guests will also get exclusive access to some of the exhibitions which have impressed crowds during the week-long festival. These include Anne Gilchrist’s ‘Oak Year’, Richard Ashrowan’s Millais-inspired digital artwork ‘Landscape Symphony in 22 Movements’ and Perth-based artist Su Grierson’s curated video installation ‘On the Ground’.

Said Helen Smout, Chief Executive of Culture Perth & Kinross: “One week, 20 venues and over 30 events … it’s fair to say that the first annual Festival of Perthshire Creativity, PLATFORM, has really caught the imagination of audiences, artists and performers alike.

“Culture Perth & Kinross hopes to build on this incredible success and create an annual showcase for the area’s huge community of creative talent.”

In tandem with the Perth event, Dunkeld supergroup The Gutenbergs will close PLATFORM on a high note in Highland Perthshire at Birnam Library on Saturday (April 1).

Featuring singer Ali Mathieson, The Gutenbergs line-up includes various instrumentalists, along with author and ace piano player Jamie Jauncey, and The New Madrid’s Donny McElligot.

Intriguingly the group mixes up different art forms – including short films – and performs using readings and stories to bring the songs to life.

During the show Ali will introduce his new web-based project ‘New Grammar’ aimed at opening up reading to new audiences.

Limited tickets are available for the PLATFORM Festival closing event at Perth Museum & Art Gallery, from 6.30pm on Saturday, April 1. Book online via the Culture Perth & Kinross website www.culturepk.org.uk

Tickets for the Gutenbergs gig at Birnam Library from 7.30-8.30pm on Saturday, April 1, cost £5. Booking is essential via the Culture Perth & Kinross website www.culturepk.org.uk

PAOLO NUTINI PUTS HIS NEW SHOES ON AND BOOGIES DOWN TO PERTHSHIRE’S FAMOUS GROUSE EXPERIENCE

Paolo Nutini was presented with a souvenir bottle of whisky when he visited The Famous Grouse Experience in Perthshire today (Wednesday, March 29).

The 30-year-old Caustic Love singer-songwriter happily chatted to staff and posed for photographs at the top visitor attraction near Crieff.

Paulo, who is understood to be on holiday in the area, was also spotted by excited locals dining in the town’s popular Delivino restaurant.

His presence in the town was picked up on Twitter by @visitcrieff who co-incidentally launched their website earlier this week aimed at driving visitors to the picturesque holiday destination.

Stuart Cassells, General Manager of The Famous Grouse Experience, said:

“We are glad that Paolo put his new shoes on and visited Crieff. We’re even more pleased that he made a visit to the distillery as part of his trip.”

For more information about The Famous Grouse Experience, visit www.thefamousgrouseexperience.com

URGENT TAX PERK DEADLINE REMINDER FROM TOP TAYSIDE SOLICITORS MILLER HENDRY

Individuals throughout Tayside could miss out on tax breaks if they fail to review their wills and investments ahead of major changes to Inheritance Tax (IHT) law early next month.

That’s the warning from Ernest Boath, Head of Private Client at Miller Hendry Solicitors and Estate Agents, who advises: “As the end of the tax year approaches, it’s a good time to make sure you’re maximising your opportunities for inheritance tax reliefs.

“This year, as well as taking advantage of exempt lifetime gifts and transfers, property owners should also look at how the new transferable residence nil rate band fits their profile.”

From April 6, each individual can claim an additional allowance of £100,000 to offset the sale of a family home on death, on top of their existing £325,000 inheritance tax exemption. This increases by £25,000 each year until it reaches £175,000 in April 2020, allowing a couple to pass on £1m estates tax-free.

The introduction of the new transferable residence nil rate band (also known as the ‘family home allowance’), allows couples to pass on a £1m family home free of inheritance tax.

However, not everyone will qualify for the new allowance. It will not be available to those without children, or to many business owners. Estates worth more than £2m will also be penalised.

And, the shake-up also means that many wills are now out of date – and people will not benefit from the new tax break unless they take immediate action to review their estate.

Mr Boath warns: “The new regime is complicated and falling foul of the complexities could cost your beneficiaries dear. I would advise individuals in Tayside to seek specialist advice as soon as possible.”

You’ll benefit from the new rules for inheritance tax residential nil rate band if:

  • You have direct descendants and intend to leave your residential property to one or more of them on your death
  • You have a total estate worth more than the current £325,000 IHT nil rate band per person threshold, but less than £2.35m overall
  • You have downsized or sold your residential property, or intend to, where the sale took place after July 8, 2015 and you have retained the proceeds

More straightforward is the opportunity to mitigate inheritance tax by making smaller gifts or out of surplus income.

Mr Boath continues: “Everyone can make use of the £3000 per annum annual exemption which can be used to make gifts up to the total each year, and if the allowance is not used fully in any year, it can be carried forward one year.

“On top of the annual exemption, the rules on small gifts allow individuals to gift up to £250 per recipient per year with no limit to the number of recipients. However, if you give more than £250 to any individual, you lose the exemption completely, even on the first £250. And you can’t use your small gifts allowance together with any other exemption when giving to the same person.

“Looking at these two allowances together, if you had three children, ten grandchildren and four godchildren, you could make gifts of £1000 to each of your three children by using the annual exemption of £3,000 for all such gifts. Then you could give up to £250 per year to each of your grandchildren and godchildren using the small gift exemption. You cannot make an exempt small gift to your children as you have already used the annual exemption to make a gift to them. These allowances are automatic, but it’s a good idea to log and track the gifts as it makes it easier for your executors and simplifies dealing with HMRC.

“If you’re concerned about inheritance tax and hope to mitigate it through gifting, asset transfer or the new residential property allowances, it’s important to check the position regularly. Getting it right, and reviewing any existing will, is key to making sure reliefs are maximised.”

For further advice or information on employment law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendry.co.uk

MILLER HENDRY’S JEFFREY HOPE DELIVERS TENANCY LAW MASTERCLASS TO DUNDEE SOLICITORS’ CPD

A leading Tayside solicitor will brief legal professionals on major changes to the law surrounding residential tenancies this week.

Jeffrey Hope, Managing Partner and property law expert at Miller Hendry Solicitors and Estate Agents, has been confirmed as guest speaker to Dundee Solicitors’ prestigious Continuing Professional Development (CPD) group on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, which comes into force later this year, looks set to shake-up Scotland’s private rental sector by introducing new rules for landlords and tenants.

Strikingly, the modernised system includes a clause introducing a new Private Residential Tenancy, which will have no end date, meaning landlords will no longer be able to recover possession of their property just because the lease has reached its end date.

If a tenant does not want to leave, a landlord will have to rely on one of the grounds for eviction set out in the new Act, otherwise the lease continues.

Jeffrey Hope, property law expert at Miller Hendry said: “I am honoured to have been invited to address Dundee Solicitors’ CPD group to highlight the implications of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

“The 2016 Act makes the biggest changes in the landlord and tenant relationship in Scotland for a generation. It is important that landlords in particular take early legal advice.”

ENCHANTED FOREST COMMUNITY TRUST FUNDS 13 LOCAL PROJECTS

The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, organisers of the award-winning sound and light show in the woods, has awarded a whopping £10,000 to a range of worthy projects in Highland Perthshire.

This is the fourth year that such a fund has been available, and the good causes range from a Girl Guide trip to Switzerland, to a Christmas Market in Pitlochry, and the purchase of new Neighbourhood Watch signs. Full list as follows:

£1,600 – Highland Mainline Community Partnership.

£1,500 – The Atholl Centre.

£1,200 – Pitlochry Winter Lighting Project.

£1,000 – Soldiers of Killiecrankie.

£1,000 – Pitlochry Paths Group.

£600 – Pitlochry in Bloom.

£550 – Pitlochry Baptist Church.

£500 – Pitlochry and Blair Atholl Bagpipe Band.

£500 – March Into Pitlochry Music Festival.

£500 – Pitlochry Christmas Market.

£500 – Girlguiding Dunkeld and Pitlochry.

£300 – Biodynamic garden at Camserney.

£250 – Pitlochry and District Neighbourhood Watch.

The 2016 show, shimmer, marked The Enchanted Forest’s 15th year and has been widely hailed by visitors as the best event to date with many visitors taking to social media channels to express their delight at the spectacle. Just over 70,000 visitors attended last year’s show, a 13% increase on the previous record-breaking year.

It is estimated that the event’s impact on the local tourism economy is in excess of £3 million per annum with around 50% of all visitors to the event choosing to stay overnight in the area on their visit and over 90% citing the event as their main reason for visiting the area in Autumn.

Scotland’s premier sound and light show is a three-time winner of Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Event Awards and was recently crowned winner of the Rural Tourism & Hospitality Award at the 2016 Scottish Rural Awards.

Ian Sim, Chairman of The Enchanted Forest, said:

“2016’s shimmer extravaganza saw more people visiting The Enchanted Forest than ever before. This incredible support means we are able to fund a host of exciting local community projects. We’re delighted that our show helps make all of these projects possible, and visitors should feel proud that, just by visiting the show, they have done their bit to give back to the community and benefit the local area.”

This year’s Enchanted Forest will run from September 28 to October 29 and tickets will go on sale to the public in June 2017.

Student Blog- The last day

The last day in the office was nostalgic for me as I have enjoyed every day I spent at Volpa, with the different projects I was welcomed to take part in, various in-office tasks, and all the meetings and training sessions which have taught me so much. I have had the opportunity to apply the knowledge I have gained during my university course in a practical, real-world situation where my actions mattered and my suggestions were taken into account. It has been an amazing experience and when today came about I did not want it to end.

We had the regular Publicity Department Meeting today to review the progress of ongoing projects and improve on them by taking in suggestions from all team members – even if they are not the ones managing or working on that particular project. The main topics for discussion were product launches for both Aurora Spirit and Inveralmond Brewery as they are due in the next couple of weeks and they also overlap with the Easter holidays. This meant that a well-defined plan for both events (and confirmation from the team members of who can attend which event) was set in place in order to ensure the undoubtful success of the launches.

After lunch we had a Team Meeting as well where Tricia went through the new updates for the business and all the coming changes and important projects with which all of the team must become familiarised. I was fortunate to have my placement at such a time as I was privy to the old systems and organisation of the business and then I had the chance to see the improvements and changes made on them in order to optimise processes, minimise waste, and increase turnover – all the while maintaining the amazing Volpa business culture which makes work an enjoyable part of one’s day where you want to come back time and time again.

I continued working on the list of existing retailers for The Famous Grouse Experience to compile a database of their contact information. This has been a very time-consuming task but it was very rewarding as I felt entrusted with a high level of trust and responsibility which made me feel appreciated by the team. The team were extremely lovely and presented me with a good luck card as it was my last day and with a couple of gift cards to continue growing my book collection and to enjoy a little film treat.

Thank you everyone for the amazing experience which you have offered me and for making me feel welcome and a part of the Volpa family!

Student Blog- Influencers

Today was a really interesting day as I had the chance to take part in a CPD (Continual Personal Development) session organised by Linda and Ellis – as each member of the team is actively involved in the CPD programme by researching and presenting a certain relevant topic to the rest of the team. The topic for this session was online influencers – such as bloggers, vloggers or youtubers – the people who shape the opinions of their followers and the online community. We discussed what makes them influencers to begin with and what they can do for a company, such as creating a new channel which directly reaches the target market segment. Using online influencers is very useful as it online traffic is easy to monitor and receive statistics in regards to it, as well as analysing the reach and effectiveness of an online campaign (especially if said campaign has its own hashtag).

However, as useful as influencers might be one of the most important piece of advice is that before approaching any influencer one should do their research thoroughly and ensure that one deals with the whole process in a professional manner as, after all, they are professionals in what they do and should be treated as such. It is also important to keep in mind that there is a certain degree of risk associated with using influencers as one has no control over the message they deliver since the message they pass on will always be in their words. On the bright side, often an influencer will simply refuse to endorse a product or service if they do not like it rather than giving a negative review. Lastly, the end of the session stressed upon the importance transparency regarding any sponsored campaign and on that of stats when measuring influence (for example, followers can be bought and as such their numbers are not an accurate representation of the influence and popularity of a potential influencer).

Afterwards I had the chance of sitting in on another PR meeting where the focus was the launch of two new beer types and the relaunch of two old ones by the Innes & Gunn Inveralmond Brewery. The schedule for the launch was discussed and perfected while a balance between the actual launch and the fact that the brewery is also celebrating 20 years was discussed to ensure that one does not upstage the other. The event promises to be a spectacular sight and a testament to the proficiency of the Volpa team! And since we were on the topic of influencers earlier in the blog, the launch of Aurora Spirit’s Vodka, Gin, and Akvavit will see many opinion makers there, such as bloggers (connoisseurs in their fields) and acclaimed cocktail makers.

I spent the rest of my working day researching contact details for all Famous Grouse Experience’s wholesalers, four hours later having managed to go through 60 of the over 350 contacts on the list. This task promises to be a time-consuming one but at the same time quite rewarding as it gives this odd sense of accomplishment as one makes one’s way through it slowly but surely filling each row and column, making the spreadsheet look complete and professional. Just roughly 20 more hours of work to go and I should be done, although I am betting on the fact that by the time I get to number 100 I would have gotten the hang of it in such way that optimises the data input – fingers and toes crossed!

TAYSIDE PROPERTY OWNERS WARNED OF SCOTTISH LAND REGISTER CHANGE AS KIR GOES LIVE IN DUNDEE POSTCODES

A Scottish Government project to create a map-based, publicly-available Land Register by 2024 could have major financial implications for Tayside property owners.

That’s the opinion of Alistair Duncan, a property law expert at Tayside Solicitors and Estate Agents, Miller Hendry, who has been weighing up the pros and cons, now that an integral part of the initiative has gone live in some Dundee and Angus postcodes (including Broughty Ferry and Monifieth).

Alistair Duncan, Partner at Miller Hendry and Head of both Commercial and Residential Property, said: “While there are clear benefits to having a new digitised Land Register providing clear and up-to-date information about land values and ownership, we are coming across a number of situations whereby clients are having to meet substantial costs with no benefit apparent to them.”

Last year, Registers of Scotland (RoS) started to move land and property titles from the deeds-based General Register of Sasines onto the map-based Land Register within areas of Angus, Dumbarton and Midlothian

This is being done through a new power, Keeper-induced Registration (KIR), which allows RoS to transfer titles from one public register to another without an application from the owner.

Meanwhile, the General Register of Sasines closed to standard securities on April 1, 2016, meaning applicants planning to use a new lender to re-mortgage or take out additional lending secured on their existing Scottish property may need to prepare an additional application to move a title onto the Land Register.

It is understood that the customer will still pay the same fee of £60 to register the standard security, with the normal registration fee charged by Registers of Scotland to move onto the Land Register then being waived. However, solicitors may charge for additional work by them which is required for the application to the Land Register.

The change will not affect those wishing to re-mortgage with an existing lender, as monies are rolled into the same account, with no need to check title deeds.

Some property transfers where no price is paid are also affected by these changes and what was once a relatively straightforward procedure now involves additional legal work and outlays. A new deed plan is also often required.

Explained Alistair Duncan: “An example would be a gift between husband and wife or parent to child, or where property is inherited from an owner who has died.

“The additional costs incurred will vary from case to case and from firm to firm but, as an indication, the extra work involved in an application for a first registration of title could increase legal fees by around £300 including VAT. This could be more where the title is of a complex nature or where there are problems with determining the extent of ownership which can often happen with older titles.

“Clients may also be looking at additional costs for deed plans, which are not prepared by lawyers and generally outsourced to surveyors or some other specialist provider at a cost of around £100, and pre-registration reports from Registers of Scotland which can cost up to around £70.

“These costs mount up so most property owners are facing costs of around £500 or more, not including the registration dues charged by the Land Register which are based on the value of your property.”

Mr Duncan continued: “The new scheme is undoubtedly affecting those who wish to provide a legacy for their loved ones. In recent years, there has been an increase in the elderly considering equity release schemes and they are set to particularly suffer as a result of this drive to complete the Land Register.

“A re-mortgage of a Sasine title will likewise trigger a compulsory registration in the Land Register, thereby increasing the costs of re-mortgaging with a new lender for some property owners. Again, it is likely that this will impact on elderly clients as many elderly clients have remained in the family home and their titles are recorded in the Sasine Register.”

One of the aims of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012 is to speed up completion and modernisation of the Land Register of Scotland. The Land Register, a map-based register of titles, was brought into effect in 1979 to replace the existing General Register of Sasines, also known as the Sasine Register.

Dating back to 1617, the Sasine Register is the oldest public register of land ownership in the world. However, it is not map-based and is instead a chronological list of land deeds. After introduction of the Land Register in 1979, progress of completing the registration of all titles to land in Scotland has been slower than originally though.

As an incentive, the Scottish Government is encouraging voluntary registration of Sasine titles by offering a 25% discount on the registration dues charged by Registers of Scotland to those property owners who voluntarily register their property in the Land Register but, by doing so, existing property owners will still incur the legal costs and other outlays.

Alistair Duncan added: “As unintended as the consequences of Land Registration may be, the implications are not just affecting home owners but public authorities too, with the Government insistent that their properties are also placed on the Land Register. This is a mammoth task which is tying up legal departments of public authorities across Scotland. It also begs the question of whether it is an effective use of what are already stretched and limited public resources.”

For further advice or for information about Miller Hendry, visit www.millerhendry.co.uk

NEW PERTHSHIRE FESTIVAL IS A PLATFORM FOR REGION’S CREATIVE ARTS

A new arts festival coming to Perthshire this month will showcase the area’s creative talent in the world of contemporary arts.

Platform, the Festival of Perthshire Creativity, will take place at numerous venues across the whole of Perth and Kinross from March 25th to April 1st.

In its inaugural year, the festival will host over 30 events in venues across Perth and Kinross including exhibitions, design, photography, artists talks, gigs, special installations, drama and film.

Venues include the historic Innerpeffray Library – Scotland’s first lending library – the Fair Maid’s House, the Cateran Trail and Perth Museum & Art Gallery, which is due to be refurbished from 2018 – 2021 as part of an ambitious city cultural development.

Highlights include a special installation, the Story Tree (a huge split level willow and paper sculpture at AK Bell Library); the UK premiere of a short art film by Perthshire-born artist Susan Mowatt; a live drama at Breadalbane Library: plus live music, several workshops and talks by artists and creatives.

Opening on Saturday 25th March and continuing throughout the week, Perthshire Open Studios will be celebrating 10th anniversary with a celebratory exhibition and Perthshire Visual Arts Forum are showcasing their work.

Platform is being run by Perthshire Creates, a network of contemporary creative activities, and Culture Perth & Kinross, which works to support the development and delivery of cultural services across Perth and Kinross.

Through a week of events, programming and celebration, Platform will encourage established and emerging artists in Perthshire to push their creative boundaries and explore the contemporary cultural identity of the region.

Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, said: “It seemed fitting that we’re looking forward to how Platform will raise awareness of artists in the region, and also push these artists creatively. Culture Perth and Kinross is proud to be part of the first annual Platform, which we see growing and being an innovative, must-do event on Perthshire’s cultural calendar.”

For more information visit www.culturepk.org.uk

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME AS BRICK CITY LAUNCHES TWO-MONTH RUN IN PERTH

Proving that LEGO® really is the toy of the century, the popular Brick City LEGO® exhibition drew excited crowds on Saturday at Perth Museum & Art Gallery.

Lovers of the multi-coloured bricks – which push imaginations of all ages to the limit – visited the exhibition on its first Saturday to see, learn and play.

The touring exhibition, created by author and artist Warren Elsmore, features more than 50 models of iconic buildings worldwide. Visitors to the exhibition can get up close to LEGO® versions of Rome’s Colosseum, the Arc de Triomphe, and London’s St Pancras Station. There is also an interactive area where visitors can play Minecraft – widely regarded as the digital version of LEGO® – and create their own structures from a pit of LEGO® bricks sponsored by A&J Stephen (Builder) Ltd. A&J Stephen is also running a competition to see who can recreate the firm’s custom home, the ‘Control Tower’ at Clathymore.

Helen Smout, Chief Executive of Culture Perth & Kinross, said: “We knew we’d created a great buzz about Brick City around Perthshire and Tayside, but even we were surprised by the numbers through the door on Saturday. Opening day was sold out days before. It seems that everything really is awesome when it comes to turning LEGO® into public, interactive art.

She added: “We just want to remind everyone that the exhibition runs until May 7th, so there’s time over the next two months to visit. It’s a going to be a must-see event over the Easter holidays, in particular.”

The Brick City exhibition runs daily Tuesday until Saturday, 10am-5pm, until May 7, 2017.

Tickets costing £4 (or £10 for a family ticket) are available to purchase in person at Perth

Museum and Arts Gallery’s reception desk or through eventbrite.co.uk. Booking is recommended.

For more information visit www.culturepk.org.uk