House Price Trends in 2018 Expected to be Similar to 2017

Halifax has revealed that prices in the final quarter of 2017 (October-December) were 2.7% higher  than in the same three months of the previous year. In addition house prices in that quarter were 1.3% higher than in the previous quarter (July-September).However despite there being a rise of 0.3% in both October and November 2017 there was a fall in December 2017 of 0.6% which was the first price drop since June 2017.

According to the latest House Price Index from Halifax the average price of a property in the UK at the end of 2017 was £225,021 which is 2.4% higher than in January 2017 when the average price was £219,741.

Halifax says it expects house price trends in 2018 to be similar to last year. Overall, annual house price growth nationally is expected to stay low and in the range of 0.3% by the end of 2018. The main drivers for this apparently are the continuing effects of the squeeze on spending power as inflation has outstripped wage growth and the uncertainty regarding the prospects for the UK economy next year.

“As we’d anticipated, the housing market in 2017 followed a similar pattern to the previous year,” commented Russell Galley Managing Director, Halifax Community Bank. “House price growth slowed  whilst building activity, completed sales and mortgage approvals for house purchase all remained flat. This has been driven by a squeeze on real wage growth and continuing uncertainty over the economy.”

“However nationally house prices in 2018 are likely to be supported by the ongoing shortage of properties for sale, low levels of house building, high employment and a continuation of low interest rates making mortgage servicing affordable in relative terms,” he added. “Overall we expect annual price growth to continue in the range of 0.3% at the end of 2018.”

For expert legal advice on buying or selling in Scotland then please contact Alison Gourley on 0141 552 3422 or by email

Various Claimants v WM Morrisons Supermarkets Plc

This case serves as a reminder that an employer can be held liable for acts or omissions of their employees if it can be shown that those acts or omissions took place in the course of employment.

In Various Claimants v WM Morrisons Supermarkets Plc, the High Court found the supermarket chain vicariously liable for an employee’s disclosure of colleagues’ personal data. This is the first case of its kind since the introduction of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Mr Skelton, the employee, worked as a senior IT internal auditor and had access to confidential information about his fellow workers. In June 2013, Mr Skelton was subject to disciplinary action which he believed was unwarranted. In November 2013, he obtained payroll data to be passed to KPMG for external audit purposes. He downloaded this to a USB stick for KPMG but also made a personal copy. Just before Morrisons’ annual financial reports were announced in early 2014, Mr Skelton posted the personal  information he had obtained on a file sharing website. He was then arrested and charged with a number of crimes including fraud and an offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act. He was convicted and given an eight year prison sentence.

His colleagues, whose data had been disclosed, raised a group civil action against Morrisons, seeking redress for breach of the company’s statutory duty under section 4(4) of the DPA 1998, misuse of private information and breach of confidence.

The High Court agreed that Morrisons had no primary liability as they were not the data controller at the time of the breach. However, they were found to be vicariously liable as Mr Skelton’s wrongdoing was carried out in the course of his employment.

As Mr Skelton’s aim was to cause harm to Morrisons, the Court granted the company the right to appeal.

If you are an employer or employee facing difficulties in the workplace, please contact Paul Neilly or Hugh Grant by telephone (0141 552 3422) or email ( or

The Problem with Plastic

According to The Independent “Humans have produced about 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic since 1950”.Researchers writing in the journal , Science Advances ,warned that if current trends continued some 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste would be in landfill sites or the natural environment by 2050.

Campaign groups suggest that the average person throws away the equivalent of 1,212 Coca Cola bottles or 4,600 plastic forks each year. Scientists from a number of Universities in a paper published in Science Advances state that “The growth of plastics production in the past 65 years has substantially outpaced any other manufactured material”.

“The same properties that make plastics so versatile in innumerable applications – durability and resistance to degradation-make these materials difficult or impossible for nature to assimilate.”

“Thus , without a well-designed and tailor- made management strategy for end-of-life plastics, humans are conducting a singular uncontrolled experiment on a global scale, in which billions of metric tons of material will accumulate across all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the planet.”

In October 2014 shops in Scotland began charging 5p for single-use plastic carrier bags. In the first year the number of plastic bags handed out in stores was slashed by 80%- the equivalent of 650million carriers. Scottish government research concludes that a reduction of 650 million bags means a net saving of more than 4000 tonnes of plastic and other materials each year.

MPs are now considering a 25p latte levy on disposable coffee cups to reduce waste. Apparently the UK throws away 2.5 billion paper cups every year with less than 1% being recycled. The rest are incinerated or buried in landfill sites because they have an inner-lining made of plastic which paper mills struggle to remove.  The Environment Audit Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a minimum 25p charge on disposable coffee cups to cut waste in the same way as the plastic bag levy.  It seems that MPs are open to the idea but want to ensure that any levy would trigger a change in behaviour not merely an increase in price.

In our office we do our best to recycle as much as possible but these figures suggest we should be doing considerably more to protect our environment.

Value of Privately Owned Housing Stock Reaches New High

New research by Halifax has revealed that the total value of privately owned UK housing stock has surpassed £6 trillion for the first time.

Since 2007 the total value of private residential property in the UK has grown by £1.94 trillion (or 48%) to an estimated £6.02 trillion. The average value per household in the UK now stands at £256,912, up from £187,310 in 2007, representing an increase of close to £70,000 (37%)

This increase has been driven by a 45% rise in the average house price and the stock of privately owned homes expanding by 1.9 million from 21.5 million to 23.4 million.

Net housing wealth peaks as homeowners reach retirement age, with 40% of wealth in households with owners aged over 65. Three in five (61%) of homeowners in this age bracket are mortgage free. Almost a quarter of total household wealth is held by householders in the age group from 55-64. 47% of those aged 25-45 have a mortgage and account for 15.4% of total housing wealth. Just 0.1% net housing wealth is held by those aged 16-24.

I have been a residential conveyancing practitioner for over 24 years and I would be delighted to advise you on buying and selling property. If I can help please contact me Alison Gourley on 0141 552 3422 or by email

Care for the Elderly

People are certainly living longer. The number of people in Scotland, according to the National Records of Scotland in September 2016, living for more than a century has increased over the last ten years. In 2005 there were 900 centenarians in Scotland, an increase of 67% from the 540 in 2005. The number of men aged 90 to 99 increased from 6360 to 11,300 between 2005 and 2015, an increase of 78%. The number of females aged 90 to 99 increased from 21,630 to 27,590 during the same period, an increase of 28%.

Caring for the elderly is therefore now a situation facing millions of people who need help managing elderly relatives’ affairs and assistance to make plans for their own old age.

We can offer a wide range of advice and are specialists in these areas.

  • Putting a Power of Attorney in place before you may become unable to manage your own affairs
  • Making a Will
  • Setting up trusts
  • Inheritance tax planning
  • Financial planning
  • Making arrangements to pay for help and care home fees
  • Obtaining Guardianship Orders
  • Administration of Guardianships

Our private client team are here to help and are very knowledgeable in dealing with such matters applying sensitivity as well as legal expertise. Find out more at