Sunday, 15 November 2015

From the President - 15th November

Following the incidents in Paris I feel it is inappropriate for me to be my usual flippant self. I am sure all of our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives or been injured in Friday’s attacks.

Since my last update, I have attended two events as IRRV President and I would simply like to thank the Rating Surveyors Association together with their President Robert Brown for their hospitality on 5 November 2015.    David Magor and I were invited as guests to the RSA Annual Dinner held at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in London; a beautiful setting and a wonderful event.

On Friday I attended the annual luncheon of the the Association of Chief Estates Surveyors and Property Managers in the Public Sector (ACES) held at the City Chambers in Edinburgh.   I would like to thank ACES for their kind invitation and wish their new President Jeremy Pilgrim a successful year in office. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Darcy - the President's new companion!

The new companion is a rescue dog called Darcy.    Darcy was in Edinburgh Cat & Dogs' home for some months.   It appears she was a bit too lively for many. She is two years old and has a heart murmur.

Originally she is from Spain and has a penchant for siestas, playing with balls and seeks out sunshine (too bad on that one). 

I think she may also be a Barcelona fan as she perks up when Lionel Messi is mentioned.

Update from Jim - 3rd November 2015 ...

Kevin Stewart warned me that not much happens in the first few weeks of an IRRV presidency except that you have to start planning out things for the rest of your presidency as there are lots of invites to various events to cover over the rest of the year.    Oh yes and I still have to do my own work.    Please make no mistake though I am genuinely humbled by becoming President and I hope to give it my best possible efforts throughout.    I want to visit all of the associations and meet as many members as possible. 

There is a lot of good work going on out there and yet it has becoming commonplace to knock all that goes on in our worlds whether that’s revenues, benefits or valuation. I want to hear of the good work that is going on in all the association areas.   There is much to be proud of out there.    This is not supposed to be an entirely serious blog so I will I get on with the randomness of some of the thoughts that cross my mind. 

This week things have kicked off in earnest though. I was in London at HQ to chair the Council meetings that took place yesterday.    Really great to see David Magor back; he is clearly not fully recovered yet as he thinks his beloved Watford will beat Leicester.    I think Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez et al will something to say about that; but we shall see.  Monday was a day when travel was difficult with widespread fog in the Midlands and south of England.   So it was off to Edinburgh Airport for a flight to Luton and then the Thameslink to St Pancras; London Luton Airport aye that’ll be right: I wouldn’t fancy walking it.

On Thursday I will be back off down to London for a Dinner hosted by the Rating Surveyors' Association; should be interesting.    Was looking at my London A-Z circa 1988, when I did some work in the big city.     Time I bought a new one; things have changed considerably and that’s not just me; I had ginger hair back then.    Talking of which, a recent study has concluded red haired people are more sensitive to pain than others.    Come on, the rest of you knew that already; you’ve seen how we act to sunlight.    Anyway I digress.

What else has happened?    Well who would have thought that the House of Lords would feel so strongly about a work based benefit?    I’m sure Messrs Cameron and Osborne will not bear a grudge on that one.    Well at least not beyond the end of the next Ice Age.   The issue now is who will meet the costs of any transitional arrangements to cover the Tax Credit changes.    All will be revealed in the Autumn Statement ... can’t wait.

And as I look out the window as a grey fog comes down (for it is our turn now; when do we get a shot of the big orange thing in the sky?) my mind turns to the imminent release of the Commission on Local Taxation’s report.     There will be lots more on that in the next few months and beyond.

Then there was the outbreak of generosity by the UK and Scottish Governments towards businesses. For England it will all sort itself out by 2020 or thereabouts.   In Scotland it’s happened already - 31 October 2015.    Only issue is that the cost falls fully on councils and as I am sure Directors of Finance will be advising there is no budget in place for the current year and we haven’t got a policy (no that last one will be the fault of the Revenues Manager). 

Finally, loosely on the work front, how is it going in secret squirrel land with UC Digital?   Come on you tell us after all it may help people to plan for the future.   Tell us something, tell us anything just don’t tell us it’s on budget and it’s on time. 

Anyway the fog and the darkness roll in and I have distance learning assignment to read and mark. 

Whilst writing this I have been listening to the music of one of the greatest bands ever, The Clash.    A slight mood change is required now The Stone Roses, I think.

Finally I am flipping hopeless at predicting football results but here goes:

Leicester 2 Watford 1
Hearts 2 Hamilton 0

All the best

PS Informal photo from Annual Conference below!