Juggling care and career: Why supporting carers in the workplace is the right thing to do

My lovely mother-in-law describes her 50s, 60s and 70s as her “golden years”. As she keeps reminding my husband and I: “Your father and I were travelling the world when we were your age, or we were out and about meeting friends or at the bowling club.”

And so they were! Able to draw their pensions (state and private) at 60 and 65-years-old respectively, they enjoyed a long, happy and comfortable retirement unencumbered by caring responsibilities either for each other or for their parents who had passed away decades beforehand.

At 57, my “golden years” on the other hand are shaping up somewhat differently. Since May 2022 when my mum (86) collapsed with sepsis from a urinary infection, I’ve been sharing her care and that of my 92-year-old father, who has late-stage prostate cancer, with my younger sister (53), who is herself recovering from cancer treatment. Both mum and dad are now housebound and require 24-hour support which includes everything from meal preparation to toileting.

Fortunately, we were able to access a council care package for mum, which means two carers visit four times a day, but my dad is still waiting to be assessed. To pick up the slack and allow our much-loved parents to remain in their own home, my sister has given up her full-time job to be their primary carer with me staying over 48 hours each week to give her a break.

Added to this are my caring responsibilities for my mother-in-law who, despite living quite independently at 93-years-old, was widowed during the Covid lockdown and requires help with shopping and all the other bits and pieces that become so much more difficult when we get that little bit older.

Throughout all of this my job as Marketing Manager at Bell Ingram has been a lifeline, not just financially (as my husband was forced to retire earlier than expected due to a stroke), but as a means of living a life outside caring. Just having a natter with other people and hearing the banter of office life is a real tonic when things are rough at home.

I consider myself extremely lucky to work for a company which believes that supporting carers is the right thing to do and this ethos has allowed me to stay in a job that I love and progress my career.

It’s important to stress that Bell Ingram doesn’t just pay “lip-service” to carer inclusion. In practical terms, my boss has given me the green light to work from my parents’ home two days a week which has been a game-changer. Instead of driving back and forward from Perth to Glasgow twice a week, I now have a home office in their flat where I can do a full day’s work, while still being available to cook meals, let in doctors and carers, and keep an eye on them during the night.

Being a carer can be overwhelming at times and I also count myself blessed to work with people who have been amazingly supportive when I’ve had a bit of a tearful meltdown in ladies’ loo or on one mortifying occasion while serving drinks at our stand at the Royal Highland Show!

I am also part of Bell Ingram’s Carer Network which was formed recently as a platform for colleagues who identify as carers to talk frankly about the challenges of juggling our caring responsibilities with our working lives.

We met for the first time on Teams earlier this month and I found it really helpful to share my experiences with people who fully appreciated the physical and emotional toll of caring for loved ones.

It was also a chance to share information about the support that’s available from local or national charities, benefits that can be claimed, and tips on how carers can maintain their own well-being.

I know it’s a cliché but the last three years have been a rollercoaster for me and my family, and it’s taught me to be grateful for what I’ve got, to celebrate the small wins and not dwell on the future. I may not be travelling the world like my in-laws did at my age, but I have my family, my friends and a job I love … and that’s more than enough.


Our people

Alison Lowson

Alison Lowson

Marketing Manager
Tel: 01738 621 121

About: Alison heads up Bell Ingram’s marketing and PR team. She is a marketing and communications specialist who has worked across a wide range of sectors including social enterprise, events, museums, charities, farming, law, technology, building and public sector. Previously she was a regional editor with Media Scotland, co-ordinating print and digital newspaper titles across Central Tayside. Interests: Brand Marketing, Sales and Business Development, Public Relations and Media Management, Content Creation, Newspaper and Magazine Production, Event Planning and Delivery.

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    Three coastal properties for sale in prestigious island locations

    Three stunning costal properties in the Inner Hebrides have entered the market at under £600,000.

    Located on the ever-popular islands of Tiree, Islay and Mull respectively, Hynish House, Beth Shean and Redburn all benefit from wonderful waterfront locations and are ideally suited to lovers of the great outdoors.

    Andrew Fuller from Bell Ingram’s Oban Office says: “These three very special properties offer exciting opportunities for buyers looking for family homes and lifestyle opportunities on the islands.

    “All three are close to local amenities while being surrounded by the stunning landscape and outdoor opportunities which make Scotland’s islands so attractive to those seeking a quieter and more serene lifestyle.”

    On the market at o/o £575,000, Hynish House is a five-bedroom family home in an elevated location above Hynish Heritage Village in Tiree with far-reaching views across to Mull and Iona.

    The white-washed detached property, set over two levels, features lovely reception rooms with period features, a large kitchen, utility room, family bathroom and five bedrooms on the upper floor. There is also a mature garden with a lovely sitting area at the front of the house to make the most of the spectacular views.

    Perched on the picturesque Oa Peninsula on the Isle of Islay, Beth Shean is an ideal family home with holiday let potential.

    For sale at o/o £395,000, this architect-designed property has a combined lounge/dining room, kitchen, utility room and an accessible bedroom on the ground floor, with two further bedrooms, dressing room and stylish shower room on the first floor. There is also an attached conservatory which makes the most of the far-reaching views.

    Set in the sleepy community of Lochdon on the Isle of Mull, Redburn is an extensive croft house offering buyers an opportunity to acquire a traditional four-bedroom property benefitting from a tranquil waterfront location.

    On the market at o/o £375,000, this wonderful family home is currently operating as a bed and breakfast. The accommodation is set over two floors, with a dining, lounge, kitchen, utility and two bedrooms on the ground floor and two en-suite bedrooms on the first floor.

    To the left of the house, a separate area of the garden has been granted planning permission for the erection of a 1 ½ story property, offering scope for those looking to develop a holiday let business.

    For more information about any of these properties or to request a viewing, please contact Andrew Fuller on 01631 567 791 or email andrew.fuller@bellingram.co.uk

    Our people

    Andrew Fuller

    Andrew Fuller

    Senior Associate
    Estate Agency
    Tel: 01631 566 122

    About: Andrew heads up the Estate Agency team in our Oban office and is focused on ensuring his clients have a first-class experience when they list their property with Bell Ingram. A resident of the Isle of Mull, Andrew is very well known across the West Coast of Scotland and has developed an excellent reputation for marketing prime residential property, including plots, crofts, island homes and lifestyle opportunities. Andrew joined Bell Ingram following almost 15 years managing several high-level private and commercial development projects in the United Arab Emirates. Interests: Residential Estate Agency, Rural Property Sales.

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      Bell Ingram strengthens its rural land management team with three new appointments in Perth

      Leading land and property specialist Bell Ingram has strengthened its Rural Land Management team with three new appointments in Perth.

      New recruits Douglas Ogilvie, Isla Shaw and Niall Blair will be based at the company’s Perth HQ but will work with clients across Scotland.

      Douglas Ogilvie, from Milnathort, joins the business as a Farm Management Consultant further broadening Bell Ingram’s strength and expertise in the wider farming industry. He will specialise in farm management, contract farming agreements, Single Farm Payments and other grant schemes.

      Douglas has over 36 years’ experience in farm management having worked in this role for Andersons, Smiths Gore, Savills and the SAC.

      Isla Shaw, from Saline, Fife, joins the business at Senior Associate level and arrives from Galbraith where she spent six years carrying out Sales, Valuations and Lettings. At Bell Ingram, Isla will advise on all aspects of estate and farm management and undertake a range of rural valuations.

      Isla’s background is in livestock farming, having been brought up on the family beef and sheep farm in Fife. She is a graduate of SRUC in Edinburgh and is a RICS Chartered Surveyor and Registered Valuer.

      Niall Blair joins the Rural team as a RICS Surveyor with 20 years’ experience in land management. Having trained initially as an agricultural advisor/land agent in the Scottish borders, Niall went onto work for Tarmac Ltd. where he practiced a mix of mineral, commercial and rural surveying.

      Niall has a wealth of experience in practical farm management and currently runs his own upland farming business in the Angus Glens.

      Mark Mitchell, Managing Partner at Bell Ingram, said: We are delighted to welcome Douglas, Isla and Niall on board. This substantial expansion of our Rural Land Management team in Perth is in response to increasing demand for our specialised services to longstanding and new clients.”

      Our people

      Mark Mitchell

      Mark Mitchell

      Managing Partner, FRICS
      Rural Land Management
      Tel: 01738 646 584

      About: Mark is responsible for the strategic direction and overall performance of the firm. He specialises in all aspects of Estate and Facilities Management for private, corporate and public sector clients. He is experienced in the acquisition, disposal and management of estates and farms, rental negotiation and management of residential property. Interests: Estate Agency, Private Estate Management, Rural Land Management, FRICS Registered Valuer.

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        Farm Machinery Dispersal Sale

        SATURDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2023 AT 11AM


        On behalf of R D Dryden (retiring)

        To include: New Holland TX36 20’ cut combine K Reg, 4,040 hrs, self-levelling shoe, chopper & trolley; Clayton Bugge 24m Sprayer c/w Chafer tank; Maschio Power Harrow/Accord drill combination; 2 x Dowdeswell 5F Ploughs; Vaderstad Rapid 30 S mounted drill; Parmiter 12’6” Discs; Howard 100” Rotaspike; Lely 3 ½ m P. Harrow; Kuhn 4m & 3 ½ m P. Harrows; Twin leg sub soiler; Blench Packer; Simba 4m trailed press; Edlington 6m Rollers; N-H 286 Baler; Ritchie 56 Bale Carrier; Browns Flat 8 Sledge; 5 Round Bale Carrier; 14T Trailer; JCB 3C.

        Included by permission: Ford Ranger 19 Reg c. 26,000 miles 3.2 6 speed manual, tow bar.

        On behalf of Mrs M J Dryden: Deutz DX 450 4wd c/w Alo loader; John Deere 2650 2wd; MAN 8-163 7 ½ t Truck (no test); N-H 1530 12’ cut combine; Petbow FC48 60Kva generator; Kuhn 3m P. Harrow/Accord drill combi; J-D 359 small baler; J-D 550 R Baler; Dowdeswell 4+1 Rev Plough; Ransomes 4F Plough; 2 Sets Cambridge Rolls; Small trailed sprayer; 2 Sets Discs; P-Z Haybob; 56 Bale Carrier; Bale squeezer; Parmiter Post Knocker; Slurry Tanker; Drainage pipes; Various Dual Wheels; Rice Trailer; Manitou (scrap).

        Produce: 75 R Bales Haylage. No small tools. Refreshments available.

        Our people

        Derek Tyson

        Derek Tyson

        Partner, MRICS FAAV
        Utilities & Renewables
        Tel: 01845 522 095

        About: With over 40 years’ experience in rural land agency, Derek has responsibility for the Thirsk office providing valuation sale and management advice for our ever expanding private client base and our existing portfolio of pipeline and utility clients. Interests: Pipelines & Utilities, Rural Land Management, Valuations, Estate Agency

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          Race is on to find sites suitable for battery storage but farmers urged not to be blindsided by developers

          Renewables experts at Bell Ingram are urging farmers to think carefully about the potential impact on their business before agreeing to leasing land for renewables projects.

          As the UK works towards its target to operate a zero-carbon electricity system by 2035, the race is on to find sites available for large scale battery storage, solar, hydrogen and wind projects.

          With such high demand, farmers are being approached up and down the country by developers offering the incentive of a substantial additional income to lease their land.

          For many the approach is an attractive proposition. However, Rhona Booth, Land Agent and Senior Associate at Bell Ingram believes farmers must think about the implications on their businesses before signing on the dotted line.

          Rhona says: “The UK is completely transforming the way in which we distribute energy and this will have a huge knock on effect for landowners and occupiers across the country. As a result, we are experiencing an increase in enquiries from farmers and clients who have been approached by developers looking for land for new renewables projects, in particular solar and battery storage.

          “While there are certainly good deals to be done, especially for those looking for a solid retiral or succession plan, there is a long list of things to take into account when considering if this is the right move for your farming business.

          “Infrastructure projects such as these require land, not just for the footprint of the site, but for access, construction compounds and habitat management plans, which is a much bigger commitment than most realise. One must also consider the logistics of getting the land back at the end of the lease and the reinstatement of working crops.

          “Therefore, farmers must weigh up the effects on their current business and future plans as well as the potential for depreciation on home value and assets against the likely financial gain.”

          For more information on leasing land for renewables projects, or if you have been contacted by a developers about leasing land and want to make sure you are getting a fair deal, contact Rhona Booth on 01738 621121 or email rhona.booth@bellingram.co.uk

          Our people

          Rhona Booth

          Rhona Booth

          Senior Associate, MRICS
          Rural Land Management
          Tel: 01738 621 121

          About: Rhona is a highly experienced RICS Chartered Surveyor and Registered Valuer working across Perthshire and Angus advising on all aspects of estate and farm management, including landlord and tenant negotiations, telecommunication mast agreements, utility project and CPO compensation claims. In addition, Rhona can undertake a range of rural valuations for a variety of purposes as a Registered Valuer. Rhona joined Bell In gram in 2020 and has over 20 years’ experience in the sector. Interests: Rural Land Management, Valuations, Utilities, Renewable Energy, Agricultural Tenancy Advisor, MRICS Registered Valuer.

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          We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

            Future Agricultural Support in Scotland as at June 2023

            The Scottish Government have provided some further clarification on the future agricultural policy we are expecting to see from 2025, as well as clarification on the future of other support schemes.

            While Mairi Gougeon has promised there will be no cliff edges as businesses transition into the new support mechanisms, further detail outlining how some of the proposed measures and standards will be implemented remains outstanding. As anticipated, we are beginning to see further clarity on which direction agricultural support is going, with focus on the environment and climate change, and a move to more regenerative farming methods.

            Basic Payment Scheme and beyond

            New conditions for receiving Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) support will be introduced from 2025, before a new support mechanism replaces the existing scheme in 2026. We understand that essential standards will have to be met in order to receive BPS in 2025. These essential standards are focused on farming activity; climate response; biodiversity gain; whilst also safeguarding animal health and welfare standards and workers’ rights.

            In 2025 farming businesses will need to start the transition to the new support scheme which is considered as a ‘stepping stone’ to 2026 and beyond, with the compliance requirements for 2025 BPS linking to Tier 1 for the new support framework. In practice, these conditions will include the following, but may have other items added.

            • the maintenance of existing cross compliance requirements as a minimum for future support;

            • the introduction of new protections for Peatlands and Wetlands as a new condition on basic payments;

            • the foundations of a Whole Farm Plan, including soil testing, animal health and welfare declaration, carbon audits, biodiversity audits and supported business planning;

            • the introduction of new conditions to the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme linked to calving intervals to encourage livestock keepers to reduce the emissions intensity of their cattle production systems.

            2026 support is likely to be structured on a tier mechanism, with Basic Support and Enhanced Support available as outlined below.

            Tier 1: Base  – This will be the closest thing to a direct payment, guaranteed to all farmers and crofters who meet essential standards in farming activity; climate response; biodiversity gain; whilst safeguarding animal health and welfare standards and workers’ rights, as well as existing cross-compliance conditions

            Tier 2: Enhanced – This tier will build on the standards established in Tier 1. It will focus on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change, and protect, restore and improve nature. These measures will also incentivise more sustainable and regenerative farming practices, with focuses on farming for a better climate and nature restoration.

            Tier 3: Elective – This tier will be ‘optional’ and likely to be more specific to targeting a certain species or habitat, and will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change, and protecting, restoring and improving nature.

            Tier 4: Complementary – Funding in Tiers 1-3 will be complemented by providing applicants with access to support and advice, as well as continuous professional development (CPD) to help achieve the aims of the future support model.

            Payment Regions

            The Regions model will remain, but will be reviewed prior to 2027 to ensure it is fit for purpose within the new scheme guidelines.

            Greening (for arable/other cropping)

            Greening will continue into 2025 and from 2026 will remain, but may alter to better integrate into the new tier system.

            Voluntary Coupled Support

            Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS) and Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS)

            Both of these schemes will continue in 2025 and 2026, with consideration still being given to how Voluntary Coupled Support will be delivered in 2027

            New conditions will be introduced to SSBSS in 2025 linked to calving interval performance.

            Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS)

            This scheme is expected to continue to 2026 but changes may be introduced from 2025 to support the transition towards a more economically and environmentally sustainable model. Consideration is still being given to how this type of support will be delivered from 2027.

            Agri Environment and Climate Scheme (AECS)

            This scheme is expected to continue to 2026 to deliver elements of Tiers 3 and 4 until new Elective and Complementary Support is implemented from 2027. Some the options currently available through AECS are being considered for inclusion in Tier 2 so that more people can implement them.

            Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS)

            This Scheme is expected to evolve and continue to deliver elements of Tier 3 and 4 until new support is implemented from 2027. Some of the options available under this scheme are being considered for inclusion as eligible measures/activities in Tier 2 so that more people can implement them.

            Planning for the future

            Preparing for Sustainable Farming

            This new grant scheme is already open for applications for helping businesses prepare for changes, with support for conducting carbon audits and soil sampling, support for animal health and welfare activities and access to herd data for Suckler beef producers through MyHerdStat.

            Put simply, the scheme allows businesses to claim £500 for an eligible carbon audit, up to £600 per 100Ha of Region 1 land for soil sampling and £250 as a development payment alongside the first soil sampling payment for farmers and crofters to spend time on things that will widen their understanding of Nutrient Management Planning. In addition, there is funding available for businesses to select up to two (per year) animal health and welfare interventions, which include bull fertility, calf respiratory disease, liver fluke (sheep or cattle), roundworm (sheep or cattle), sheep scab, sheep iceberg diseases, and sheep lameness.

            Applications are already open for the carbon audit and soil sampling, with funding for the animal health and welfare interventions expected to be available shortly.

            Whole-Farm Plans

            Whole Farm Plans will be introduced from 2025 as a tool to help farmers and crofters integrate food, climate and biodiversity outcomes on their holdings and inform where they can seek support from the future support framework. The intention of the Whole Farm Plan is to help businesses become more environmentally and economically resilient and sustainable, with productivity baselines for soil testing, an animal health and welfare declaration, carbon audits, biodiversity audits and support for business planning.

            To discuss any of this further and what it might mean for your business, please contact a member of the Bell Ingram Rural Land Management team.

            Our people

            Catherine Lawson

            Catherine Lawson

            Senior Associate, MRICS FAAV
            Rural Land Management
            Tel: 01307 462 516

            About: Catherine is a highly qualified RICS Chartered Surveyor and Registered Valuer working across Perthshire and Angus advising on all aspects of rural estate management, farm management, residential property management and lettings. She joined Bell Ingram in 2014 working in the Perth office before moving to the Forfar office in 2019. As a farmer’s daughter from Yorkshire and now living on a farm in Angus, along with a degree in rural tourism management, Catherine can offer assistance on a variety or rural matters. Interests: Lettings, Rural Land Management, Tourism

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              Bell Ingram announces string of senior promotions with Rob Whitson stepping up to Executive Board

              Independent land and property specialists Bell Ingram have announced a raft of senior promotions, with Head of Land Management Rob Whitson stepping up to the Executive Board.

              Rob will work closely with Managing Partner Mark Mitchell and Executive Board members Neal Salomon, Gordon Thoms, Geoff Brown, Iain Cram, Steve Parlett, Malcolm Taylor, Mike Thompson and Derek Tyson to set strategic direction for the business, overseeing land management across a wide range of Bell Ingram clients.

              Mark Mitchell, Managing Partner, says: “Rob’s well-deserved promotion follows his adept management of many of our top tier clients. During his career at Bell Ingram, Rob has proven to be a fantastic mentor and manager to staff members, and his calm focus has proven invaluable to clients no matter the challenge.”

              Elsewhere, the company has made a string of promotions across its 10 UK offices. Planning Consultant Catherine Newton (Perth), Architect Murray Fleming, Land Agents Catherine Lawson and Alex Morrison (both Forfar) and Compliance Manager Sam McDonald (Perth) have been promoted to Senior Associate.

              Meanwhile Land Agent Gregor Dalziell (Ayr), HR Manager Kirsty Watson, Land Agent Borzo Taheri (Northwich), Land Agent Waldo Serfontein (Morpeth), Digital Marketing Manager Eleanor Mackay, Finance Partner’s Assistant Sheona Ross (both Perth) and Senior Architectural Technician Scott Ramsay (Forfar) all become Associates.

              Mark Mitchell, Managing Partner, adds: “All these colleagues have played a crucial role in our firm’s continued growth. These well-deserved promotions demonstrate the depth of talent and experience within Bell Ingram, and I’d like to offer a heartfelt congratulations to each of them and look forward to their continued success within the firm.”

              Our people

              Rob Whitson

              Rob Whitson

              Partner, MRICS
              Rural Land Management
              Tel: 01463 717 799

              About: Rob is Bell Ingram’s partner in charge of the Beauly office. He specialises in the management of rural properties for a range of private clients across the Highlands. This has included a number of significant and high profile sporting estates. For Land Management clients, Rob has worked on the negotiation of purchase/sale, servitude rights and renewable energy developments. He provides specialist management advice over a wide range of sporting estates particularly in relation to red deer stalking and salmon fisheries. Rob has enjoyed a long involvement with a number of district salmon fishery boards across the Highlands, and is a trustee of the Cromarty Firth Fishery Trust. He is Chair of the Highland Region for Scottish Land & Estates and also leads on valuations of commercial and rural property throughout Scotland in accordance with the RICS appraisal and valuation standards. Interests: Private Estate Management, Rural Land Management, Sporting Management, Valuations.

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                Forest Manager Stuart McArtney shares his top tips on buying Scottish woodland

                Stuart McArtney, Forestry Management expert at Bell Ingram, explains that buying your own section of Scottish woodland can be made much easier by having the correct professional guidance.

                He said: “Buying your own Scottish woodland is clearly not as common a practice as someone buying a home, therefore it’s crucial that you have the right expert advice in your corner.

                “Our team of Chartered Foresters provide management services and investment guidance for every type of woodland owner or potential buyer.

                “These can be everyone from corporate clients to rural estate owners or individuals wishing to add forestry to their investment portfolio or pension fund. Our Forestry Managers provide a bespoke woodland management service that’s tailored to meet the client’s unique requirements.”

                Bell Ingram provide a range of services including woodland budget management, valuations of woodland areas and digital mapping.

                Stuart continued: “We have a vast experience and knowledge of different issues regarding woodland ownership and are well placed to help guide buyers through the challenges of today’s forestry industry.

                “We are able to take clients through the process of buying Scottish woodland step-by-step and ensure you get the most appropriate advice and are able to take advantage of every opportunity.”

                To find out more about buying Scottish woodland or to view any areas currently for sale, visit www.bellingram.co.uk

                Our people

                Stuart McArtney

                Stuart McArtney

                Associate, BSc For MICFor
                Forestry Management
                Tel: 01738 621 121

                About: Stuart is a highly experienced Forest Manager working across Scotland advising private, corporate and public sector clients on all aspects of forestry and project management. Stuart joined Bell Ingram in 2014 and specialises in new woodland creation schemes. He is also highly experienced in GIS mapping. Interests: Forestry, Mapping & GIS Services, Woodland Management.

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                  Article posted on 15/12/2022

                  Legislation Freezing Rents & Evictions Passed in Scotland

                  The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 was been passed by the Scottish Parliament last week.

                  The Scottish Government says the Act temporarily:

                  • Restricts landlords from increasing the amount of rent they can charge private and social tenants, as well as for student accommodation.

                  • Places certain restrictions on enforcement of evictions from residential tenancies.

                  • Balances these restrictions with safeguards for those landlords who may be facing particular cost pressures or financial hardship.

                  The rent cap, which applies to in-tenancy rent increases, has initially been set at 0% from 6 September 2022 until at least 31 March 2023. Ministers have the power to vary the rent cap while it is in force.

                  Enforcement of eviction orders resulting from the cost crisis are prevented over the same period except in a number of specified circumstances, and damages for unlawful evictions have been increased to a maximum of 36 months’ worth of rent.

                  The measures can be extended over two further six-month periods.

                  You can view more information on the Act here



                  If you are landlord speak to your Bell Ingram Land Manager about how the emergency legislation will affect you.

                  Article posted on 31/10/2022

                  Carl Warden gives us the latest on markets and mortgages

                  It was inevitable that the fall-out from the mini budget and its controversial tax cuts would manifest itself in the housing and mortgage markets because the cost and availability of credit is a significant driver of the market.

                  Therefore, it comes as no big surprise to see mortgage lenders suspend many rates and deals as they gather their breath before attempting to reprice the market.

                  It goes without saying that any big jump in the mortgage rate is a major concern for those who are buying houses at the moment. But, if you like the house, you can afford it and are confident you can continue to afford it, then there is no reason not to go ahead with your purchase.

                  What is fairly certain is that we can wave goodbye to the historically low interest rates that we have grown used to and brace ourselves for a return to the higher levels we last saw in 2012.

                  There’s also been much speculation that we could be facing a housing market crash. But while prices could fall over the longer term, there is no evidence that they will collapse like they did during the global financial crisis of 2007/8. The market in Scotland is still functioning well despite the uncertainty.  I am seeing a small number of buyers pulling out of deals as we wait for this immediate uncertainty to pass, but I don’t see this continuing and especially so at the top end of the market.

                  From a Scottish perspective, it will be interesting to see if the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSP, replicates Kwasi Kwarteng’s Stamp Duty cuts for the Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) bands in Scotland.

                  On September 23, the UK Government announced a permanent cut to stamp duty in a bid to boost economic growth. The announcement means that in England no stamp duty will be paid on the first £250,000 of any property, up from £125,000 previously.

                  For first-time buyers in England the threshold is now £425,000, up from £300,000. The maximum value of a property on which first-time buyers’ relief can be claimed will also rise from £500,000 to £625,000.

                  While first-time buyers in Scotland do not pay LBTT on property purchases up to £175,000, a 2% LBTT rate is paid on property valued between £145,001 and £250,000.

                  It would be a big worry for the property sector should the Scottish Government not bring us more into line with the rest of the UK.  A reduction in LBTT would go a long way to giving the Scottish housing market a boost, particularly for the lower bands, as we navigate this period of economic uncertainty.

                  For advice on your house move, or for a free market appraisal contact Carl Warden, Head of Estate Agency on 01738 621121 or email carl.warden@bellingram.co.uk

                  Our people

                  Carl Warden

                  Carl Warden

                  Estate Agency
                  Tel: 01738 621 121

                  About: Carl heads up the Residential Estate Agency division for the company and has a proven track record within the Scottish property sector. He has been marketing property in the Perth and Kinross area for over 35 years and has vast and detailed practical experience and knowledge of selling prime residential property: from period homes to contemporary developments. Carl is well known in the local area, having developed excellent relationships with buyers and sellers. His wider role involves looking after and supporting our Agency teams and colleagues in Oban, Beauly, Ayr and Forfar. Interests: Estate Agency, Market Valuation, Negotiation.

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                  We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                    Article posted on 03/10/2022

                    Guest Blog: Managing trees and vegetation whilst being mindful of sustainability

                    By James Morrison, Senior Asset Engineer at Network Rail Scotland

                    It is a significant and ongoing challenge to manage the many risks that trees and vegetation can pose on our long, but generally narrow, infrastructure corridors. We cover the varied geography of Scotland which requires our teams, supported by specialist contractors, to be based strategically. Local knowledge of the infrastructure and asset condition, plus the ability to respond quickly to any issues is fundamental.

                    We make management decisions using data and imagery collected during multiple inspections undertaken by trains, people on foot, drones and manned aircraft. This is combined with additional information from our passenger and freight customers, neighbours and multiple key stakeholders. We then generate risk based workstreams so we can best deploy people and equipment to deliver this work efficiently and cost effectively on behalf of the taxpayers who fund the railway.

                    We also have to balance our operational responsibilities with those of being a large landowner, as the railway contains significant flora and fauna and in turn natural capital. We employ professional (in house) ecologists to advise our teams on how to protect this biodiversity based on site observations, historic records or legal designations. Not all trees and vegetation are a risk to trains so we can, where safe to do so, retain, pollard or prune trees. Every site has specific requirements, and it takes the work of many professionals from across Scotland to manage the lineside areas that flank the tracks.

                    First and foremost, Scotland’s Railway fulfils a variety of travel needs from business and leisure to daily commuter services, including cross border services. 

                    However, we equally have a responsibility to appropriately offset our tree and vegetation works that support this primary function. Our approach is governed by railway standards that reflect targets from our regulators and funders. But more importantly, it is the right thing to do.

                    Replanting is only one aspect of improving biodiversity on the railway. Mitigating the impact of our work takes many forms such as the habitat piles of cut woody material or standing and lying sections of dead wood. Raptor perching poles, crevice creation and veteran feature mimicry (via cutting incisions in trees) and provision of bird and bat boxes are some other methods deployed. Where appropriate and access to maintain is available, we plant native grass and wildflower areas, high wildlife value hedgerows and even small ponds can be considered. 

                    Mitigation can take place on railway land (where space allows) or alternatively in locations adjacent to, or even remote from the railway (offsetting). We are currently working to establish suitable partnerships with other landowners where offsetting would be appropriate. Locations on such land and where public access is possible have an added advantage to the people of Scotland as they can potentially visit these locations and enjoy them.

                    As a large landowner, we feel we can have a tangible and positive impact on biodiversity and sustainability and the changes we are making are also being acknowledged and welcomed at a local level by communities.

                    Article posted on 29/09/2022

                    The Property Expert: Portsonachan lodges hit the market

                    Scotland’s tourism industry is thriving and no more so than the country’s stunning west coast. One particular sleepy village near the banks of Loch Awe is pulling in visitors from across the globe for its picturesque location, and outdoor credentials including ample walking and cycling trails and water sports. Located just a short drive from Dalmally in the county of Argyll and Bute, Portsonachan is home to the impressive Portsonachan hotel and its nearby chalets where our Oban Estate Agents are marketing nine beautifully presented lodges.

                    These 1–4-bedroom lodges present an opportunity to purchase a holiday home for leisurely excursions with family and friends, or to run as a successful holiday let business. Here is a flavour of the properties on the market.

                    Stirling Lodge

                    Stirling Lodge at Portsonachan offers buyers an opportunity to acquire a beautifully presented three-bedroom wooden chalet, complete with built in sauna and external hot tub. With its modern open plan kitchen, stylish bathroom and spacious bedrooms, the lodge is perfect for entertaining family and friends. Stunning views across one of Scotland’s most picturesque locations will be sure to impress.

                    Offers over £325,000.

                    See more: Stirling Lodge, Portsonachan, Dalmally, PA33 1BJ | Bell Ingram

                    Carrick Lodge

                    This three-bedroom lodge has many of the outstanding features as Stirling Lodge, including built-in sauna and hot tub. Set just a little further back from the loch, Carrick Lodge enjoys a pleasant tree-lined vista, enjoyed from its expansive balcony, the perfect place to sit and take in the glorious surroundings.

                    Offers over £300,000.

                    See more: Carrick Lodge, Portsonachan, Dalmally, PA33 1BJ | Bell Ingram

                    Eilean Lodge

                    This two-storey semi-detached wooden chalet offers two ground floor bedrooms complimented by a spacious upstairs living area, with a balcony that enjoys far reaching views across to Loch Awe. The downstairs decking area is home to a welcoming hot tub.  

                    Offers over £215,000

                    See more: Eilean Donan Lodge, Portsonachan, Dalmally, PA33 1BJ | Bell Ingram

                    Duart Lodge

                    The smallest, yet one of the most popular lodges available, this semi-detached one-bedroom lodge is the perfect couples’ retreat. Offering a blend of rustic and modern living, the kitchen is traditional farmhouse style, while the open plan living space provides ample space to sit and unwind. A large decking looks out across the gardens towards Loch Awe.

                    Offers over £195,000

                    See more: Duart Lodge, Portsonachan, Dalmally, PA33 1BJ | Bell Ingram

                    For more information on the lodges, or our Estate Agency service on the West Coast contact our Senior Associate Andrew Fuller on 01631 567 791, or email andrew.fuller@bellingram.co.uk

                    Our people

                    Andrew Fuller

                    Andrew Fuller

                    Senior Associate
                    Estate Agency
                    Tel: 01631 566 122

                    About: Andrew heads up the Estate Agency team in our Oban office and is focused on ensuring his clients have a first-class experience when they list their property with Bell Ingram. A resident of the Isle of Mull, Andrew is very well known across the West Coast of Scotland and has developed an excellent reputation for marketing prime residential property, including plots, crofts, island homes and lifestyle opportunities. Andrew joined Bell Ingram following almost 15 years managing several high-level private and commercial development projects in the United Arab Emirates. Interests: Residential Estate Agency, Rural Property Sales.

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                      Article posted on 27/09/2022