The banknote that is about to be withdrawn

The £50 banknote featuring a portrait of Sir John Houblon on the back will no longer be accepted as legal tender after Wednesday 30th April 2014. As from May 1st only £50 notes depicting entrepreneur Matthew Bolton and engineer James Watt will count as legal tender.

Sir John Houblon was appointed as the first Governor of the Bank of England in 1694. The £50 note celebrating him was issued in 1994 to coincide with the Bank of England’s 300th anniversary.

It is estimated that there are around 63 million £50 notes (worth £3.2 billion) in circulation with Houblon’s portrait so if you have cash lying about it would be worth checking as you may have one or more of the notes about to be axed.

The Bank of England is advising people who find they have a Houblon £50 note to spend , deposit or exchange it before 30th April 2014.

What happens if you miss the deadline ?

From the beginning of May Barclays, NatWest, Post Office, RBS and Ulster Bank have agreed to exchange up to £200 worth of notes for customers and non customers until 30th October 2014.Santander will also exchange notes  but only for existing customers up to a value of £250. HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and TSB will allow existing customers to deposit notes until the end of October with no limit on the amount , while Nationwide will allow existing customers to deposit £50 notes on an ongoing basis after the April deadline with no limit.

If you still have an old style Bank of England note after November 2014 the Bank of England will always exchange old series notes for their face value.

How quickly can I get divorced?

Divorce can be extremely distressing yet surprisingly a question often asked is how quickly can a divorce be obtained. Of course the answer is: it depends.

For a divorce to be granted there has to be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no prospect of a reconciliation. If you cannot demonstrate this then you cannot get divorced.

The irretrievable breakdown of marriage can be established if one of the following is true:

  1. Since the date of the marriage, your spouse has committed adultery and you thereafter ceased to cohabit together as husband and wife (this is and will continue to apply exclusively to heterosexual relationships even after same sex marriage is introduced).
  2. Since the date of the marriage, your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to cohabit with them.
  3. You have not cohabitated with your spouse for a period of one year and your spouse consents to the granting of the divorce.
  4. There has been no cohabitation for a period of two years.

A Simplified Divorce is the fastest way to obtain a divorce and is essentially a form filling exercise. You must not have cohabited with your spouse for one year and have your spouse’s consent or been separated for at least two years. This simplified procedure can only be used if there are no children of the marriage under the age of 16 and no financial issues to resolve. The relevant form can be downloaded from the court website and is completed by the individual raising the action who must then sign an affidavit at the end of the form stating that everything in the form is true. This affidavit can be sworn before a notary public (most often a solicitor), a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner of Oaths. The form is then submitted to the court along with the appropriate fee (currently £107). A divorce order is usually granted within 4-6 weeks of lodging the relevant paperwork with the court.

If there are financial issues still to be agreed upon or there are children of the marriage under the age of 16 you must use the Ordinary Procedure, which will require the assistance of a solicitor. A list of the parties’ assets requires to be lodged with the initial paperwork when a financial order is sought. If the action is not defended by your spouse a court order may be passed within approximately 6-7 weeks from raising the action.

If the action is defended because there are young children and custody and contact are disputed, or a financial order is requested or indeed the allegation of adultery or unreasonable behaviour is denied then it is extremely difficult to state with any certainty how long proceedings will take.

If you have any queries regarding divorce please contact Fiona Wayman on fhw@mitchells-roberton.co.uk or phone 0141 552 3422 to talk to her.

Property Prices Are Rising

On 2 April 2014, Mark Holden of GSPC, reported the good news that house prices in Glasgow and the West of Scotland rose by 7.4% in the last year. Transactions have also improved significantly with sales up by 30% on the same time last year and properties are taking on average 20 fewer days to sell than they were 12 months ago. Also according to the latest GSPC figures the average selling price in the area is now £120,000, up by £1500 on the previous quarter and by just over £8000 compared to the same time last year.

Professor Gwilym Pryce of Glasgow University who analysed the GSPC’s data stated “This is the largest annual rise in house prices in the West of Scotland since the end of 2007.”

He continues “It is, of course, too early to pronounce a housing market recovery based on a single quarter, particularly since we have already had several false starts. But it seems likely that the sustained fall in selling times together with a shortage of new properties coming onto the market will continue to put upward pressure on selling prices, at least in the near future”.

It seems the key issue is now one of supply. The number of properties coming onto the market remain well short of demand and stock levels are declining as a result. If prices do rise further, this will largely be due to a shortage of sellers.

Social Inertia ; a modern day problem ?

This is only my opinion.

I woke up the other morning with the sun streaming in through the window and after a leisurely breakfast I took the dog to the park where the grass was carpeted with crocuses and daffodils were swaying gently in the breeze. Last week end  the clocks went forward and as with every spring there is a sense of new beginnings. I felt great.

Then I went home and put my feet up with the newspaper, a freshly brewed coffee and warm scone. Very quickly my optimism and positivism began to lose their shine. I read about Putin’s territorial machinations, the latest trial of a household name on sex charges and of course bankers’ bonuses.

The BBC very recently reported that “The Co-operative Group is set to give pay rises and bonuses to its senior staff despite the near collapse of its banking division.” Euan Sutherland, the newish Chief Executive Officer, is recommended to receive a £3.66 million package while admitting that last year was the worst year in the Co-op’s 150 year old history.

The Independent on Sunday the 9th March 2014, also drew attention to the fact that Barclays where profits are down 32%, with 7,000 job cuts paid out bonuses of £2.4 billion. The Royal Bank of Scotland made losses of £8.2 billion but gave £3 million of shares to their new boss and Lloyds gave their CEO a bonus of £1.6 million and their staff a 2% pay rise.

Depressing news indeed. But you know what really gets to me is the apathy and lameness of our population placidly accepting just about everything. There may be flurries of righteous indignation but where is the fiery spirit of public outcry? How is it that Scottish people have in 100 years moved from tanks in George Square to meek willingness to accept inequality, wage deflation and job insecurity . Why is there such social inertia ?