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Scotland

Why use a solicitor for a personal injury claim?

November 17 2014

If you have been involved in an accident you should think twice before saying “yes” to the compensation offered by an insurance company. The ordinary injured person will not know how much their injury is worth. Compensation typically tends to cover pain and suffering for the actual injury, medical treatment, time off work, or even for friends/relatives providing assistance while the person is injured. By having proper legal advice, the injured person can thoroughly explore their claim. Following a road traffic collision, the insurers of the driver at fault for the incident may attempt to contact the injured person directly and make an offer to settle any potential injury claim. This is known as ‘third-party capture’, and is when the insurance company hopes that a quick cash offer will prevent the injured person seeking legal advice. This can perhaps be an attractive proposition to the injured person, who may agree to take the money and move on. However, once the cheque is cashed there is no going back. If at a later date you find out that your injury is more serious than you first realised, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more compensation. In accepting an offer immediately and directly from an insurance company, there is a considerable risk that the claim will be settled for much less than it should be. The offers are made without knowing the true extent of the injury, with no diagnosis or prognosis made. A solicitor specialising in personal injury work will make sure that an injured person will have the benefit of a medical opinion to ensure the true extent of the injury is known. It may be the case, for example, that the medical expert believes your career prospects have been compromised by the injury. Recently, a client contacted us following an accident he was involved in at work. Shortly after coming to us, the insurance company made an offer to settle the claim at £1,500. Following our advice, the client rejected the offer and we proceeded to obtain medical evidence. After thoroughly investigating the injury, our client’s claim settled for £6,500. In all likelihood, having a suitably experienced solicitor deal with your injury claim will secure you a higher level of compensation appropriate to your injury. A Financial Services Authority report has shown that, on average, an injured person receives a settlement of 275% higher using a solicitor compared to dealing directly with an insurance company. The reason is simple whereas solicitors have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients, insurance companies have no duty to the people injured by the negligence of their policyholders. It makes sense to the insurers to ‘buy off’ any potential injury claims as cheaply as possible, but this is often to the detriment of the injured person. * By Gary Mannion, associate, personal injury, Thorntons.

Politics

Kezia Dugdale vows to tax the rich

April 16 2016

Scottish Labour would make taxing the rich a key priority in the next parliament, leader Kezia Dugdale has said. Ms Dugdale will focus on her party's plan to use new powers over income tax coming to Holyrood to introduce a 50p rate for top earners during a campaign visit to Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire. She will highlight analysis by think tank IPPR Scotland showing that Labour's tax plans, which also include a 1p increase to the basic rate of income tax, would raise £900 million more than the SNP by 2020/21. The Labour leader said the extra funds would be channelled towards two other key priorities for her party - investing more in education and stopping cuts to public services. Ms Dugdale will campaign with Rutherglen candidate James Kelly and local activists as they launch a new leaflet in partnership with trade unions. Speaking before the visit, she said: "Today I am outlining the three priorities that must define the next Scottish Parliament, and will guide the next Labour Scottish Government. "Those priorities are simple: Tax the rich, invest in education to grow the economy and stop the cuts to public services. "Labour will use the powers to ask the top 1% to pay the most and stop the Scottish Parliament acting as a conveyor belt for Tory austerity. "That's the positive message activists and trade unionists will be making on high streets and doorsteps all across Scotland this weekend. "Labour will set a 50p top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 a year so we can stop the cuts and invest in education." Meanwhile Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will join volunteers campaigning in Bridge of Allan, Stirling, and meet voters following his party's manifesto launch on Friday. The Lib Dems' flagship policy, a "penny for education" involves adding 1p to income tax for those earning more than £21,500 to raise around £500 million each year for education. Mr Rennie said: "The Scottish Liberal Democrats' manifesto is a bold and positive programme for the next five years to make Scotland the best again. "Feedback from the doorsteps is that our uplifting message for a transformational investment in education, leading the charge on boosting mental health services, guaranteeing our civil liberties and protecting the environment is translating into votes. "More Liberal Democrats will deliver positive, liberal change. We're back to our best. Now it's Scotland's turn." Elsewhere on the election trail, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will visit the south of Scotland to highlight her party's proposals to boost business in the area. She will focus on a manifesto pledge to set up a South of Scotland Enterprise, similar to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to grow the economy.

Other sports

Marin Cilic suspended after testing positive for nikethamide stimulant

September 17 2013

Marin Cilic has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for a banned stimulant, ruling him out until February 1, the International Tennis Federation has announced. The Croatian’s doping violation came when he tested positive for nikethamide a stimulant at the BMW Open in Munich in May. The 24-year-old’s ban was backdated to May 1, the date on which he provided the sample, to end at midnight on January 31. The sample was sent to a laboratory in Montreal for analysis, where it was found to contain nikethamide, a prohibited substance. Cilic was subsequently charged over the doping violation under Article 2.1 although he argued the banned substance was in his system after taking Coramine glucose tablets that had been purchased for him from a pharmacy. A statement from the ITF read: “The independent tribunal found that Mr Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the Coramine glucose tablets, and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so, and that he, therefore, met the preconditions of article 10.4 of the programme, which entitles him to a reduction of the period of ineligibility for specified substance based on an assessment of his fault.” As well as the ban “it was also determined that Mr Cilic’s results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. “Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open, up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension, are also disqualified and the ranking points and prize money forfeited.” Following the BMW Open, Cilic was knocked out of the French Open in the third round by Viktor Troicki, who coincidentally was banned in July for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample. He then reached the final at Queen’s where he lost to Andy Murray before withdrawing from Wimbledon, where he was seeded 10th, prior to his second-round match.

Business news

Budget 2015: Oil and gas tax overhaul would not have been possible under independence, says Chancellor

March 18 2015

Chancellor George Osborne has announced a £1.3 billion package of support for the oil and gas industry in his final Budget before the general election while saying an independent Scotland “would never have been able to afford” the measures. Among the measures he set out in his Budget speech is a cut in the supplementary charge on oil industry companies' profits from 30% to 20%, backdated to January. The move effectively reverses the hike in the 2011 Budget when oil prices were much higher. Mr Osborne said the UK Government will cut petroleum revenue tax from 50% to 35% next year, introduce a "simple and generous" tax allowance to stimulate investment in the North Sea from the start of April and boost offshore exploration by investing £20 million in new seismic surveys of the UK continental shelf. The package is expected to result in more than £4 billion of additional investment over the next five years and increase production by 15% by the end of the decade.More on Budget 2015 Chancellor claims tough decisions have worked The key points How they reacted How it affects Scotland Technologists pleased with focus on the ‘Internet of Things’ Osborne aims at ‘renegade nationalists’ during battle memorial announcement"It goes without saying an independent Scotland would never have been able to afford such a package of support," Mr Osborne said. The North Sea has been hammered by the plunging price of oil, with hundreds of job cuts announced in recent months and fears a drop in investment could lead to the accelerated decommissioning of oil fields. Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney said it was a long overdue "U-turn". “Measures to safeguard the North Sea are a step in the right direction for our oil and gas sector," he said. "The Scottish Government has been calling for such measures, along with the industry, for some time. "Today’s measures are a glaring admission by the Chancellor that his policy for the North Sea has been wrong and the poor stewardship by the UK Government has had a detrimental impact on our oil and gas sector and the many people who work in the industry.For in-depth coverage of how the Budget will affect you, see Thursday's Courier"It has taken the Chancellor four years to admit the tax rise he implemented in 2011 was a mistake. A heavy price has been paid for this mismanagement. “Today I cautiously welcome the U-turn by the UK Government to take action on the future of the North Sea. We will study the proposals in detail. It is now essential that work is focused on boosting investment and growth in the North Sea sector.” Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "The major package of investment in our oil and gas sector, including a new investment allowance, a 10% cut in the supplementary charge and a 15% cut in petroleum revenue tax, shows that the UK Government is determined to safeguard the future of this vital national asset and keep our economy on the road to recovery." Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "The Chancellor has listened to the oil industry and come good on the pledge we made to help. "These tax breaks will aid investment and ensure a secure future for the North Sea. "Today's announcement won't be a cure for all of the North Sea's ills, but it's a strong start. "This is yet more proof that the North Sea is best served within the strength of the UK, which can deliver assistance a separate Scotland simply would not have been able to." Derek Leith, head of oil and gas taxation at Ernst and Young, said the package was "positive news" for the industry, with the reduction of petroleum revenue tax likely to boost more mature North Sea fields that have been taxed at a marginal rate of 81% despite falling production and rising costs. He said: "The UKCS (UK Continental Shelf) is a mature oil basin and, to remain capable of attracting international investment, it must have a very competitive tax regime. "The Government has taken a significant step towards creating such a regime today and industry will hope that further change will be forthcoming in the months ahead as industry, HMT and the new Oil and Gas Authority work together to ensure the longevity of a vital sector of the UK economy." The UK's biggest offshore trade union, Unite, said the industry must now end what it described as an "opportunistic assault" on North Sea jobs and conditions. Unite's Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: "We are clear that economic reform of the North Sea must go hand in hand with sustaining jobs and strengthening employment and workplace health safety rights. "What we cannot contemplate is a deregulated future for the North Sea - a race to the bottom on jobs and standards where workers will have to work longer for less. "Our challenge to the industry is this: You have got what you asked for, so stop attacking your workers' livelihoods and working conditions. "With their morale at rock bottom, the workforce needs this confirmed immediately." Industry body Oil and Gas UK hailed the package as "sensible and far-sighted". Chief executive Malcolm Webb, said: "Today's announcement lays the foundations for the regeneration of the UK North Sea. The industry itself must now build on this by delivering the cost and efficiency improvements required to secure its competitiveness. "These measures send exactly the right signal to investors. They properly reflect the needs of this maturing oil and gas province and will allow the UK to compete internationally for investment. "We also welcome the Government's support for exploration announced today. With exploration drilling having collapsed to levels last seen in the 1970s, the announcement of £20 million for the newly formed Oil and Gas Authority to commission seismic and other surveys on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) is a very positive step. "Along with substantial industry efforts to address its high cost base and the regulatory changes now in train to provide more robust stewardship, the foresight shown by the Chancellor in introducing these measures, will, we believe pay real long-term dividends for the UK economy." Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "These measures were necessary to reflect the challenges facing the oil and gas sector in Scotland resulting from the prolonged low oil prices. "Together with a simplification of the tax allowance regime, this must be the start of a process to develop a strong and coherent fiscal plan for the North Sea that will help to ensure that Scotland and the UK continues to benefit from our natural resources in the long term." Derek Henderson, senior partner in Deloitte's Aberdeen office, said: "Today the Chancellor has recognised that immediate action was required to extend the life of the North Sea. "The changes announced are bold and a big step in the right direction. Without significant action, the consequences for future activity levels would have been severe. "This means at a time of low oil prices, high costs and challenging conditions, headline North Sea marginal rates now range between 50%-67.5%, instead of 62%-81% prior to last year's Autumn Statement." But environmental charity Friends of the Earth criticised the decision to introduce tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. Its senior economics campaigner David Powell said: "With growing calls to divest from fossil fuels, massive tax breaks aimed at squeezing more gas and oil out of the ground show how dangerously out of touch the Chancellor is on climate change. "The Chancellor should heed the Bank of England's warning about the threat climate change poses to our financial well-being by ditching support for gas and oil extraction - instead of propping it up. "Clean power and ending our fossil fuel addiction must be at the heart of energy and economic policy, not just a half-hearted sideshow."

Readers' letters

August 4: Care standards at Ninewells second to none

August 4 2010

Today our correspondents discuss the standard of care at Ninewells Hospital, bureaucracy in the NHS, John J. Marshall's marshalling of facts and the quality of food at the Apex Hotel in Dundee. Care standards at Ninewells second to none Sir, Your front-page report (July 31) about Mr McLeay and his wife's experiences at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, must cause concern to those about to require the services of the hospital, especially if their visit can result in a life-changing situation. For this reason, I would like to present another side to the story. I underwent radiotherapy for throat cancer in 2008, which did not solve the problem. In June 2009 I was admitted to Ward 26 for surgery. The staff were at pains to explain what I was in for and I was offered support left, right and centre, support which I personally did not want. I knew I was coming out of theatre without a voice box and that was enough but, never having been hospitalised, that was my concern. Cancer I could handle but what felt to me like incarceration was something else. However, from the minute I left theatre to the time of discharge, I had never been so pampered and fussed over in my life and I won't see 70 again. From the night nurses who brought me tea when I couldn't sleep, to the young student who nagged me incessantly about nebulising, I knew I was being well looked after. As for aftercare and support, that could not be bettered. I have a voice (but cannot sing) thanks to a valve and a therapist. I can smell thanks to the same therapist and I am regularly checked out. To be more logical, does anyone out there know anyone who hasn't slipped up? Garry Stewart.Springbank,Clayholes,By Carnoustie. Free clinicians from paperwork Sir, Mr John Blair, a retired senior consultant at Perth Royal Infirmary, is spot on with his criticism of the over-managed National Health Service (July 30). My own family's experience (two consultants and a doctor) echoes that of Mr Blair, with growing frustration among doctors and nursing staff caused by the empire-building bureaucrats who have shanghaied the National Health Service. Form-filling and box-ticking have taken over from patient care as priorities, while highly trained doctors of long experience have to defer for permission to act to managers with no medical training. Social workers, for instance, have equal status with consultant psychiatrists in decisions whether to section a mental patient or not. If the social worker says no, the patient is released against the wishes of a psychiatrist of long experience. The only way to restore sanity to the NHS is to return to the old regime where doctors and nurses were in charge, with pen-pushers relegated to the secondary role of dealing with the paperwork. Doctors and nurses complain bitterly about the top-heavy management structure, the bureaucracy and the never-ending paper-chase. Why do their organisations not take matters in hand and confront our various governments with an ultimatum - return to a system run by medical staff with a greatly reduced bureaucracy performing a secondary role, or doctors and nurses will opt out of the health service? Next to patients, medical staff are the people who matter. Faced with their opposition, even our benighted leaders would have to give way and dismantle this house of cards. If not, the only part of that title with any meaning will soon be the word national. At the moment, it is an organisation increasingly serving the interests of a bloated and blinkered bureaucracy. Paper has replaced patients at the top of their priority list. Put patients back at the top, with doctors and nurses free to make decisions about their treatment, untrammeled by endless form filling. George K. McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth. A voice of reason Sir, I am sure that your columnist John J. Marshall would be the first to accept valid opinion or comment as regards his detailed article last Wednesday, but the content of the letter from James Christie (July 31) contained pure party-political bias as opposed to Mr Marshall's facts on the Megrahi case. If it was not for newspaper writers and articles of certain journalists of calibre, the public would be ill informed. Mr Christie did not have to look far for another example of the Scottish Government ignoring public opinion the letter by Ron Greer (also Saturday) on support for Calliachar windfarm. Harry Lawrie.35 Abbots Mill,Kirkcaldy. Casting pearls before swine Sir, One of the best meals (roasted lamb with colcannon) and one of the most memorable breakfasts (lightly smoked Finnan haddock, fresh rocket and a perfect poached egg) I've ever had is when I had occasion to stay in the Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee. So I was surprised when I recently read an extremely bad review of the hotel in a tabloid. I'm not in the habit of jumping to the defence of large hotel organisations let's face it, they're big enough to look after themselves but I have to say that review was ridiculously unfair. However the management shouldn't get too worried nor should the citizens jump into the Tay yet. The piece was based on the buffet breakfast and written by a sports "pundit". Further research reveals that the reviewer's favourite meal appears to be over-spiced curries and hand-cut chips. He also complains of "the language problem" in the hotel, although it's not made entirely clear who was having the problem. Brian McHugh.52 Kirkwell Road,Cathcart,Glasgow.

Angus & The Mearns

Meffan exhibition tells the story of Angus and the Great War

September 10 2014

The outbreak of the First World War and its effect in Angus is being marked in a new exhibition in Forfar. The exhibition uses iconic objects, artworks, poetry and slideshows to tell the history of life in the trenches, The Black Watch and of local recipients of the Victoria Cross. Visitors to the Meffan Museum and Art Gallery can also view a selection of war drawings by Sir Muirhead Bone, who was appointed Britain’s first official war artist in 1916. Photos by Kim Cessford.

Dundee

Carrots hidden in pizzas as school chefs battle the bulge

October 18 2016

School cooks are hiding carrots in pizzas in a stealth bid to tackle obesity. According to Tayside Contracts, making sure children eat school dinners could be the solution to childhood health issues. Nearly one in five primary one schoolchildren in Dundee are classed as either overweight or obese. Ibukun Strachan, facilities business improvement manager for Tayside Contracts — which provides school meals to city youngsters — called on parents to send their children to the dinner hall instead of the shops. She said: “The percentages are shocking. What we see is that children who make the wrong nutritional choices at a young age tend to continue to make those wrong choices when they move on to secondary school. “You see them going to secondary schools and they are down at the shops in a big group eating bags of donuts and sweets, sharing a bottle of juice.” Ms Strachan said Tayside Contracts ensures meals served in schools are nutritionally balanced and low on sugar. She added: “All of our meals comply with national nutritional guideline requirements for food and drinks. “Kids get a variety of options, which involve a daily choice between three hot meals and a sandwich option. “We have full-time nutritionists whose job it is to ensure the meals we are offering are healthy. “We often hide healthy foods in the meals. For example, our pizza bases are made with carrots included.” Ms Strachan said that all the firm’s menus are available online and she recommended that parents take a look.

Alex Bell

ALEX BELL: Harvesting a better future

February 1 2018

Whenever ‘superfoods’ are listed, it reads like the food we used to eat. Blaeberries, the fruit of summer picking, apparently confer ever-lasting life. No day should begin without porridge and no snack is better than an oatcake. When a meal is planned, the ideal is a herring or a mackerel with kale; the bitter twist of life, that the dreaded kale of childhood should become a magic ingredient now. By some oversight, our forebears didn’t also corner the quinoa and goji berry markets, but they probably felt no Scot could ever go wrong just eating oats, berries and oily fish native to our waters. By ingredient and tradition, the Scottish diet should be world-famous for its healthy properties. Yet while slim celebrities swear by the ingredients native to Scotland, Scots are dying from an awful diet. Our food is famous for killing people early. The forces which made us give up berries and smokies are well known. Poor Britons were moved off fertile land and away from ‘superfood’ diets by the farm enclosures and clearances. As substitute for the excellent natural supply, the British workers’ diet switched to fats and sugar. Famine, here, is a political construct, as is bad diet – we eat according to our wealth, class and location. This has been reinforced by evidence which shows years of soft campaigning for Scots to eat better hasn’t had any effect. We may think choice is what determines the evening meal but deeper social habits and economic status write the menu. Food is happiness – the delight in flavour, texture and mood, not just for feast but the favoured snack too. Yet the diet of many in Scotland is joyless – yesterday’s chips from the chippie, microwaved burgers with gristle in the middle. It is food to fill up on at low cost, food to supply energy with little fuss – and food which is killing us. There is comfort in the fat and sugar but, then, they line coffins for comfort, too. What happened to our joy? Richard Lochhead MSP is trying to get food quality raised at Holyrood, linking bad diets to cancer rates and NHS costs. This seems yet another example of an ex-minister seeing the light – he was in charge of food production for eight years. The argument, though, is valid – we need a complete change in what we eat, a revolution that takes us back to the diet of the past. As Holyrood gets used to having more tax powers, we can expect all issues to be seen through the tax lens. Linda Bauld, a professor of health policy at Stirling University, says the nudging hasn’t worked and it’s time to use tax as a strong-arm tactic towards a better diet. Tax, though, is a loud hailer – everyone hears the message when tax goes up so it’s useful. It might work but given what we know about Scotland’s diet history, it does seem rather unfair – a punishment to the poor who live in neighbourhoods where the only shops sell fast foods. Other things we should do are simple. Stopping pupils from leaving the school grounds for lunch and serving them something healthy in the canteen would be a start, as would cooking lessons for all kids. But even that might not be enough to overcome an instinct buried in our culture: that our own food is not good enough. To reverse centuries of conditioning, we need drastic measures. The food served in those school canteens should be the same food talked about in environmental lessons, the same food eaten in every hospital – porridge, oatcakes, berries, kale and herring – because the food we produce is not only good for us (not ‘super’, nothing is) but healthy. This should be taught in other lessons at primary and secondary school because food is also about health and the environment – and keeping mum and dad in a job. A grass-fed cow raised in Scotland is much more environmentally sound than a beast raised in drought-ridden America or Argentina. It hasn’t travelled miles, hasn’t absorbed endless supplements and the water it drank is in abundance; same for the venison, the sheep and the pigs – animals raised and cut and packaged on our land, by ourselves, served in our canteens. Most of all we need a shift from the crippling political culture which makes MPs and MSPs compete in the I’m-more-ordinary-than-you stakes, where everyone has to profess love for Irn-Bru and macaroni pies, and nobody dare champion fresh ingredients for fear of appearing too fancy by half. We need change, and tax may be helpful, but a bigger help would be fresh food shops in poor neighbourhoods, our natural ingredients in all canteens and our political leaders seen eating our own harvest.

Readers' letters

April 8: Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

April 8 2011

This morning's letters look at the River Tay beavers and wildlife management, taxation, fuel prices, and road safety in Fife. Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers Sir,-I read with interest your article 'Call for halt to beaver damage' (April 6) regarding the acceleration of beaver damage on the lower River Earn, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by an angler. As with other wildlife, most notably deer, whether the felled trees are viewed as damage or not is only really the concern of the landowner involved. SNH maintain that it is legal for landowners to kill or remove beavers if they deem it necessary so, officially, there is no problem here. If the landowner thinks he has a problem, SNH say he can do something about it. Others will dispute this and the legal position does require to be clarified. This is why the River Tay beavers are important. They will force us to address these issues much sooner than the official Scottish Government reintroduction of beavers into Argyll and everyone will benefit from that, whatever their views on beavers might be. There is little point in calling for a halt to the beaver damage as the Tay beavers do not read The Courier. What we need is a pragmatic approach from government to this issue which allows us to learn how these animals will interact with other land uses and provides landowners with a workable mechanism for dealing with problem situations. Ultimately, all our wildlife should be managed locally according to local circumstances and sensitivities, not by a centralised quango in Inverness. Scottish Natural Heritage are all over the place on this issue and do not have the answers. We will have to look elsewhere for those. Victor Clements.1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy. Victorian species cull Sir,-I agree in part with Eric McVicar's letter (April 5) about culling non-indigenous species but he shows a severe lack of knowledge in some areas. For example, beavers are a native species, as are bears and wolves. The absence of these animals is solely down to Victorian bloodlust, which saw the eradication of a vast number of species worldwide simply to amuse bored aristocrats. This has left us with a red deer population held on estates causing genetic diversity issues and out of control numbers, due to the lack of natural predators. I believe he is referring to Japanese knotweed, not Japanese hogweed. If Mr McVicar is a teacher then I fear for his pupils as he seems to be giving out wrong information and failing to teach them to check their facts. (Mr) J. Phillip.3 Lyninghills,Forfar. March of indirect taxation Sir,-Your editorial (April 5) and related article on the launch of the Scottish Conservative election manifesto for Holyrood misses an important fact. The fees or graduate contribution to the sum of £4000 is for every year of study. Parents and students can do the maths. Common sense it may be for Conservatives but, for those affected, it will feel very much like indirect taxation much favoured, as many of your readers will recall, by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s. Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans. Motorists need fuel transparency Sir,-We were conned in the Budget last month. The petrol companies had predicted the one penny reduction and had already upped the price by three or four pence. So is it now possible for the UK Government to do two specific things to regain some credibility? First tell the fuel retailers to instantly removed the ridiculous 0.99 they tag on at the end of their main price and, second, make it a rule to give the displayed price per gallon and not per litre. After all, cars in particular are sold with predicted miles per gallon consumption (admittedly often optimistic) not miles per litre. And if motorists were to see immediately the true cost of fuel for their car, instead of ridiculously having to multiply the litre price by 4.546 to find out, they would most certainly be more cautious with their travels and work a lot harder at reducing petrol/diesel consumption. Having been conned a few weeks ago, vehicle owners are surely entitled to some honesty now. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Wind farm risk to road users Sir,-I feel compelled to reply to your article regarding Fife's fatal road crashes. With 10 out of 13 fatal crashes in 2010 happening on rural roads, the most common contributory factor given in your article was failure to observe the road properly. My concerns are related to the plans submitted to Fife Council for the giant wind turbines on Clatto Hill. The road that runs adjacent to the proposed site is the C30. This rural road demands your full attention and concentration while driving in either direction. With the road being narrow, it requires even medium-sized cars to slow down or pull in when passing. The road has several vertical crests and sharp vertical curvatures which would make the turbines appear suddenly then disappear just as quickly. As this road has seen many accidents over a number of years, this would surely add another driving distraction to an already dangerous road. Norman Moodie.Craigview,Clatto Farm,Cupar. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

Business news

Outlook good for Fife firm Micronas

March 12 2015

The managing director of Fife switchgear testing facility Micronas Limited says he is optimistic for 2015 despite suffering a profits fall last year. Accounts show a marginal drop-off in revenues to £4.35 million in the year to December 31, down from £4.42m the previous year. However, pre-tax profits were down significantly from £179,049 to £19,256 for the period, with a tax credit of £2,248 taking the final profit figure to £21,504. The company is part of Swiss switchgear and controls group Micronas and it employs 74 staff at its base at Glenrothes. The plant provides testing services for automotive switchgear components produced by another group company in Germany. The components are brought to Fife in an untested state and are put through a rigorous quality control process to ensure they operate as expected. The tested parts are then packaged up in a manner specified by the end client before being despatched back to Germany for distribution. The Fife plant used to carry out consumer electronics testing but the business model has changed in the past five years to focus solely on the automotive sector. Managing director Derek Hampson said the slight dip in revenues for the year was primarily due to factors outwith the company’s direct control. However, he said the Fife plant was receiving ongoing investment from the parent group and said he was optimistic about its future prospects. “The decrease in turnover was due to delays in business activities planned mainly for the second half of 2014,” Mr Hampson said in his strategic report to the accounts. “Customer shipping releases were not achieved on time for the beginning of Q3, 2014 due to external factors outwith the control of Mironas Ltd. “In addition, technical difficulties with some of the new projects scheduled in Q4, 2014 resulted in delays to the transfer of equipment from Micronas GmbH. “Micronas Ltd continues to be a cost-effective production facility and in combination with a planned capital investment of £1.93m for new tester / handler systems, we aim to strengthen the business to ensure our future competitiveness in 2015.”

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