Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
Dundee’s digital media companies have been chasing new business in America as part of a Scottish delegation to the world’s largest games industry event. A total of 32 firms and organisations joined a Scottish Development International trade mission to the four-day Games Developers Conference in San Francisco. It is the longest-running event of its kind in the world and brings together more than 27,000 professionals to discuss issues in the industry, showcase the latest developments and make new deals. Dundee was particularly heavily represented amongst the Scottish presence, with nine city-based development firms including Denki, Tag Games, Cobra Mobile and 4J Studios making the trip, along with representatives from Abertay University and chartered accountants Henderson Loggie. The group had hoped to return to a new tax landscape for the games industry in Britain, but the UK Government’s proposal to offer a new relief has yet to be granted approval by the European Commission. Steve Cartwright, who leads the video games team at Henderson Loggie, was among the delegation which travelled to the US last week. He said it was imperative the proposed games tax relief was given the green light in order to ensure UK-based developers were competing on a level playing field with overseas rivals. Such reliefs have been in place in other countries for a number of years, and their games and mobile app development scene has flourished as a result. “The implementation of this new tax relief will be great news for the games industry in Scotland and Dundee in particular, where there are a significant number of games companies,” said Mr Cartwright. “Countries such as France and Canada where tax reliefs for this sector already exist have seen significant increases in the numbers employed in this growth sector, whereas jobs in Scotland have contracted. “This new tax relief will go a long way to levelling the playing field, and hopefully will get Scotland back to where it was a number of years ago when it punched well above its weight in the games industry globally.” Mandy Cooper of SDI said there was great value to be had for Scottish companies by attending events such as GDC, where they had the opportunity to showcase their products to an audience of globally influential people. She said: “Having so many companies with a variety of products, skills and expertise to showcase what Scotland has to offer has led to a significantly higher level of interest and activity on the Scotland Pavilion stand. “As well as helping our Scottish companies find new global business growth opportunities at GDC, we’re also receiving a number of positive inquiries from businesses looking at Scotland as a potential location for new business,” she added.
The computer games sector has broadly welcomed the publication of a Scottish Affairs Committee report on the state of the industry. TIGA, the body that represents the video games industry, has backed the committee's findings that highlight the need to improve education for those entering software and IT development, provide greater incentives to retain skilled people in this country and recommend that tax relief for the industry should be reviewed. The trade association, whose aim it states is making the UK the best place in the world to do games business, also backed the committee's findings that the sector needs more government support, calling on Westminster to offer economic incentives to gaming in a similar way that it does to British cinema. Monday's publication came on the back of last summer's announcement by the coalition government to scrap tax relief for the games industry a decision TIGA hopes will be reversed. CEO Dr Richard Wilson said, "The UK video games industry is high tech, highly skilled and export oriented. "If the coalition government is serious about its intention of rebalancing the economy then it should invest in the UK video games industry by introducing games tax relief. "This would create jobs, boost investment, power an export focused sector and generate much needed tax revenue for the government." TIGA estimates that tax relief over a five-year period could create or safeguard 9519 direct and indirect UK jobs and could more than pay for itself over the time. The body also predicts that such a move would benefit Scotland directly by creating or safeguarding £28 million in investment over the same period.Start-upAttending the announcement at Abertay University was Chris Wright, CEO of Edinburgh's Games Analytics, a company founded only last year. As a start-up firm Mr Wright was particularly keen to attend the publication of the committee's report and, while pleased at what he heard, he remained adamant Britain's place in the gaming world is in severe jeopardy. He said, "It's a hard market and the games industry is going through massive change. We're going from boxed products to digitally downloaded games and it's the same in the music and film industries. "There are lots of new ideas and opportunities and we're in the middle of that. It's an exciting time for the industry but it needs support. "If we don't watch out we will see the same as has happened in other industries." Although largely supportive of the committee's findings, Mr Wright was another who could not hide his disappointment that no consensus had been reached on the issue of tax relief. However, pleased they had recommended the issue to be put under review, he added his belief financial assistance could make or break some smaller companies. "It's not as far as I'd like to see them go and that's a shame as there was real cross-party support for tax relief and the government pulled it after the election."
Dundee's gaming industry must be given support to capitalise on the boom in smartphone use. New research published by communications regulator Ofcom has revealed more than one-quarter of adults in the UK (27%) and almost half of all teenagers (47%) now own a smartphone, such as an iPhone, Blackberry or Android device. As well as making calls, the phones can also be used to browse the internet and play games. Ofcom's research found that nearly half of all adult users (47%) have downloaded an app while 15% have paid for a game. Tech-savvy teenagers are even more likely to have paid for a downloaded game, with nearly one-third (32%) having paid for at least one. Dundee developers selling apps and games for smartphones are already cashing in on the growing demand. Dundee developer Tag Games has developed iPhone games based on Doctor Who and the recent Coen Brothers movie True Grit. Production manager Mark Williamson said, "It's quite clear that pretty much every device that people use now for their telephones has some kind of connectivity and the ability to play games and apps, so it is a growing market." Mr Williamson said that Tag has developed games for a range of platforms and this expertise will be vital as the smartphone market continues to expand. However, Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick said more government support is needed to support the games industry in the city. He said, "With more people using smartphones than ever, Dundee's digital media industry has a real opportunity to tap into this expanding market. "Typically, the investment required to create mobile-based media is significantly lower than for multi-platform console games, which allows ambitious entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in this industry. "However, these small businesses require support from the UK Government to expand and thrive in a competitive international market. "That is why I continue to press the UK Government to introduce a targeted games tax relief like that found in Canada and perhaps soon Ireland too. "This kind of relief already exists for the film industry and it is only right that games developers in Dundee are able to compete on a level playing field with their international competitors who enjoy significant government support."
Chancellor George Osborne delivered his autumn statement last month, much of which confirmed what we already knew, and which was covered in our October article. However, there were one or two surprises and so it is perhaps worthwhile both confirming some of the good news, and unwrapping those unexpected financial gifts. Pensions: what’s the good news? April 5 will herald a brave new dawn of pension flexibility. Gone will be the requirement to buy an annuity and, from the age of 55, people will have the ability to access as much of their pension pot as they wish. Of course, caution should be urged in this respect as pension funds should primarily be seen as a source of income in retirement. If money is spent in the short term, individuals may well have insufficient funds to last them in retirement. However, provided care is taken, greater flexibility will be available for those who may previously have been frustrated with the narrower alternative options of either annuity purchase or drawing down income with a limited ceiling. Q What options are there when taking money out? A The ability to draw a flexible and unlimited amount of income, in addition to the 25% tax-free lump sum, will provide much wider scope for general retirement planning. If larger capital sums are required in the short term, perhaps a wedding to pay for or a replacement car, then a larger pension amount could be taken whilst retaining the balance for future years. Provided the pension plan allows, individuals will have the ability to access infrequent and indiscriminate amounts of pension fund as and when they so wish. Q What happens to pension funds on death? A More detail was provided in relation to the position on death before age 75. We already knew that from April this year the proposal was that ‘drawdown’ pots could be passed to beneficiaries with no liability to tax. However, the vast majority of people who have annuities and not drawdown funds were given some very welcome news. Essentially, if an annuity has been bought with a spouse’s entitlement, or an unexpired guaranteed period in the event of death before age 75, then this will also be payable free of income tax. Effectively, this brings the treatment of annuities into line with drawdown rules, a very welcome and fair amendment to the original proposals. On death after the age of 75 any beneficiary will pay income tax on funds they draw. It was confirmed that for 2015/16, this will be at a flat rate of 45%. In subsequent years, however, the beneficiary will pay income tax at their relevant rate on any sums drawn. Importantly, any beneficiary can leave money in the pension plan and draw money from it as and when they choose, leading to opportunities to remain within income tax thresholds. Is there any bad news? On the down side of these changes, if the new flexible use of pensions is triggered, individuals will be restricted to a reduced maximum annual allowance of £10,000 which can be paid into a pension, in addition to which the use of ‘carry forward’ of previous years’ allowances will no longer be available. Q What about ISA ‘inheritability’? A This is where the Chancellor really sprang a surprise. With effect from the date of the autumn statement people will, on death, be able to pass on the full value of their ISA portfolio to spouses and civil partners within the tax-exempt status of the ISA ‘wrapper’. Conceivably, this could lead to substantial funds remaining in tax-exempt funds, which previously have been their deceased partner’s ISA fund, in order to retain the tax advantages of the wrapper. There will be no impact on the spouse’s/civil partner’s own ISA annual allowance. Q Do these changes create planning opportunities? A Very possibly. The traditional objection to pension funding has always been a frustration at the inability to ‘get the money back’ that has been put in. That objection will become obsolete after April 5. Any money paid in will effectively be either: * Fully accessible after age 55. * Paid to beneficiaries tax free on death before age 75. * Payable to beneficiaries at their own rate of income tax on death after age 75. As a result of this new era of pension flexibility, people may be much more inclined to take advantage of the tax relief available on contributions, safe in the knowledge that beyond age 55, the fund will be available in the event that capital is needed due to a sudden change in circumstances. Money previously held in a bank savings account, for example, may possibly be put to better use by redirecting this into pensions in order to obtain tax relief, tax-free growth, and a 25% tax-free lump sum. This may be of benefit for those already using the current flexible pension options. Whilst we would always urge caution in the prudent use of pension fund monies, there is no question that these impending changes will widen the choices available for UK savers. It brings into sharp focus the increased advantages and flexibility now available through pension planning, whilst removing some of the long-standing concerns held by many. In addition, the Government seems to be increasingly keen to incentivise and help those who want to save that alone has to be a good thing! * Any references to tax and legislation is based on our understanding of law and HM Revenue & Customs practice at the date of publication. Tax and legislation are liable to change. Tax relief may be altered, and the value to the investor depends on their financial circumstances. The purpose of this article is to provide technical and generic guidance and should not be interpreted as a personal recommendation or advice. Investment entails risk, which means the asset values can increase or decrease and you may not get back what you put in.
A recent Government consultation on a new tax relief for orchestral companies is just the latest move to help what may be termed ‘creative’ companies. As Tayside contains a significant number of creative organisations and businesses engaged in, for example, the games sector, the increase in creative-sector tax reliefs is worth looking at in some detail. It all started in April 2013 when the Government introduced tax reliefs for animation and high-end television. At that time it was proposed there would also be a video games tax relief available. However, that relief was delayed due to concerns raised by the European Union and, in particular, the cultural requirements of such a relief. The video games tax relief is now in place, effective from April 1 2014. A final relief was introduced relevant to theatres and productions which is called the theatre tax relief and is effective for expenditure incurred after September 1 2014. These new regimes only apply to companies, so structural changes may be required in order to unlock these. The claims are made within the body of the company tax return, so the quicker the financial accounts are completed, the sooner the claim can be lodged. Therefore, what readers need to know are the main criteria and benefits of these exciting new tax regimes. All the new tax reliefs are derived using the concepts of ‘European Economic Area expenditure’ and ‘core expenditure’, with at least 25% of this expenditure requiring to be consumed in the EEA. The relief works by allowing the company to take an additional deduction, which is capped at a percentage of core expenditure. Two of these regimes, namely the video games and the animation tax relief, require the content to be certified by the British Film Institute (BFI) and pass what is referred to as a points-based cultural ‘test’. Although this is referred to as a test, in our recent video games seminar in Dundee the BFI confirmed it will work with companies to try to help them meet this test. Key to this step is making the application well in advance of any financial and taxation deadlines that may be coming along, as factoring in this application late in the day could have a detrimental impact on obtaining the tax relief. Each regime is quite descriptive as to the nature of expenditure that has to be undertaken in order to obtain the tax relief but, assuming that the right type of expenditure is incurred, a valuable tax benefit will be obtained. For example, in the context of video games tax relief, the relief is available to video games development companies primarily responsible for designing, producing and testing (not de-bugging) the game, but not for advertising, promotion or gambling purposes. The extra tax relief is equal to the lower of the actual EEA expenditure and 80% of the core expenditure incurred. This relief then reduces the tax payable for profitable companies or, in the case of loss-making companies, the enhanced loss can be surrendered back to HM Revenue & Customs for up to a 25% tax repayment. The loss surrendered is capped by reference to the level of qualifying core expenditure. Now, let us turn to the orchestra tax relief that is planned to be effective from April 1 of next year onwards. From a cursory glance of the January 23 consultative document (responses required by March 5), this relief will follow a similar tune. Therefore, provided the right type of company is identified and the correct core type of orchestra-related costs are claimed, there will be the potential for companies to claim a 25% repayable tax credit for touring loss-making companies, or a tax reduction for profitable companies. In a similar manner to theatre tax relief, it is proposed that the rate will drop to 20% for non-touring orchestras. At a time when Tayside is preparing for the cultural benefit of the V&A, the business sector should embrace these creative-sector tax reliefs.
Fife Council’s Lib Dem group leader has said he can’t see how Frank’s Law can be fully delivered in the current financial climate. Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said the predicted £300 million a year price tag is “very significant” and additional funding would have to be provided. He said it was with a heavy heart he admits it will be extremely difficult to implement Frank’s Law in Scotland unless full additional funding is provided. Health Secretary Shona Robison cited the £300m figure from work carried out by her officials and Stirling University’s Professor David Bell. Mr Brett said: “It can be very difficult to know when a person may die and therefore the current arrangements to say that people can receive free home care in their last six months of life is difficult if not impossible to implement.” He continued: “The other bigger issue for all of us is that while we would like to see Frank’s Law introduced, the fact remains that nearly all local authorities across Scotland are struggling to meet the needs of their populations at the present time.” Amanda’s husband Frank, former Dundee United and Manchester United star, was diagnosed with dementia at 59 and died shortly after his 65th birthday. The Kopel family paid thousands of pounds in care costs until just weeks before his death. The Courier has backed Amanda’s campaign, as have a number of footballing stars. Health Secretary Shona Robison said a decision on Frank’s Law could be made by the time parliament breaks up in March. Frank’s Law candidate Pat Kelly previously said the estimated £300m price tag should not be the project’s death knell. He said one person’s dignity “has no price tag” and that 1p on income tax could raise £330m. In response to Mr Brett’s comments, Mr Kelly added: “The Barnett consequentials means that £800 million will come to Scotland by Westminster, so perhaps some of that money can be ring-fenced for Frank’s Law. “That with the 1p in income tax shows there’s money there.”
A Dundee MSP has criticised the UK Government for ruling out tax relief for the computer games industry. The SNP's Joe FitzPatrick, who represents Dundee City West, has urged the Treasury to introduce sector-specific relief, as several other countries have done. But he has been told that the focus is on reducing corporation tax as the government "seeks to provide a competitive tax environment not just for the video games industry but for companies in all sectors." Dundee is a hub for the Scottish games industry, which totals around 50 companies contributing almost £70 million to the economy. Mr FitzPatrick reckons that the government is missing a trick by concentrating on corporation tax. "It plans to have the main rate reduced to 23% by 2014, which it claims will be the lowest rate in the G7 and will therefore, it claims, keep the UK internationally competitive for business. "I'm certainly in favour of using varying of corporation tax to stimulate growth in fact we want Scotland to have those very powers, similar to what Northern Ireland is to be granted and if Scotland did have those powers we would certainly use them to provide incentives for business investment. "But the problem with the answer I have received from the Treasury is it continues to reject the idea of any specific targeted tax relief for the computer games industry alongside the blunt instrument measure of corporation tax. We should be doing both. "Why can't the Treasury use all the levers at its disposal, continue lowering the corporation main rate but also introduce specific tax relief now? That would pay off with a greater tax take as the industry expands to fill the opportunities of the expanding market." Mr FitzPatrick said the rising number of countries offering tax support to their computer games firms was evidence that growth in the sector worldwide would be taken up by competitors like the USA, Canada and South Korea. "What we're calling for is not about giving away tax money to the computer games industry it is an investment decision and as such it makes clear sense. It would be highly targeted and would offer best value for money. "TIGA, the games industry body, has been able to demonstrate with strong research and data that any specific tax relief given would more than pay for itself in a short time span. The Treasury would get back more than it invested. "This is not just an obscure financial wrangle. The creative industries and digital publishing sector employs up to 3000 in Dundee. It is vital that we do not lose out on increasing our market share as the market expands, or fail to benefit from creative work done in Dundee when new products are brought to the global market." The Treasury said, "It is the government's view that, in general, providing a low corporate tax rate with fewer reliefs and allowances will provide the best incentive for business investment, promoting economic growth. The government announced in the June 2010 budget that it would not introduce a sector specific tax relief for the video games industry. "Additionally the 2011 Budget announced a series of reforms to the research and development tax credit scheme and to the schemes designed to incentivise equity investment in smaller, higher growth companies." These reforms included increasing the rate of enterprise investment scheme tax relief and increasing the rate of tax relief for small and medium-sized enterprises by 2012. "These changes will help stimulate investment in, and by, innovative companies in the games sector. Maintaining the competitiveness of the UK's tax system remains a priority for the government," the Treasury said. Photo used under a Creative Commons licence courtesy of Flickr user alancleaver_2000.
Nicola Sargeant, a tax manager at Henderson Loggie, shares advice on how to make the most of the tax year end and some changes for lower earners in the new tax year. With the end of the tax year approaching now is the time to ensure you have fully utilised the reliefs and exemptions available to you as an individual. These include: ISAs Probably the most obvious, but often overlooked, is to use up your ISA entitlement. The cash limit increased significantly from 1 July 2014, when New ISAs (NISAs) were introduced. The NISAs allow any combination of cash and shares up to a maximum of £15,000. Prior to 1 July 2014, there was a limit of £5,940 on cash investments. As announced in the March 2015 Budget, the rate from 6 April 2015 will be £15,240 and from this date you will be able to take out your money and put it back in within the same year, without losing your ISA tax benefits - as long as the repayment is made in the same financial year as the withdrawal. (To see this and other changes announced in the 2015 Budget click here.) Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Annual Exemption The CGT annual exemption (£11,000 for 2014/15) is available for offsetting against capital gains arising in the same year. If unused, the exemption is lost and cannot be carried forward. Pensions Contributions to pension funds should not be overlooked as tax relief is available, albeit there are limits to the amount of tax relief available, on payments into a pension fund. Inheritance Tax (IHT) The first £3,000 of annual transfers is exempt for IHT purposes. If unused, the exemption can be carried forward for use in the next year. Small gifts of £250 to any one person are exempt from IHT. If you are gifting cash each year, it is advisable to make full use of the above exemptions. Tax Efficient Investments in Business Enterprise Certain investments attract income tax relief, although there are limits to the amounts that can be invested each year. Such investments include the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCT). EIS A qualifying EIS company must meet several criteria and be an unquoted trading company. Income tax relief is only available if the individual does not have a connection with the company. A connection would be someone that has been an employee or director or controls more than 30% of the company. Income tax relief is given at 30% of the amount invested, up to a maximum investment of £1,000,000. The relief is given as a tax reducer and, therefore, will only reduce your income tax liability and would not create a tax repayment. Capital gains arising from disposals in the 36 months before or 12 months after the EIS investment can be deferred. The gain deferred is then taxable when the EIS shares are sold or no longer qualify as EIS shares. SEIS Similar to EIS but focuses on smaller companies in the early stages of setting up business in a qualifying trade. Maximum amount of investment is significantly less at £100,000 but income tax relief is given at 50%. Again, as with EIS, this reduces your income tax liability. For SEIS subscriptions, a reinvestment relief is available for CGT on gains arising in the same year. Half of the amount invested can be used to reduce or eliminate capital gains arising in the same year. VCT VCTs are quoted companies investing in qualifying unquoted trading companies. The income tax relief is at the same rate as for EIS (30%) but the maximum investment is restricted to £200,000. Another highlight to a VCT investment is that the dividend income received from VCTs is exempt from income tax. If certain criteria are met, the sale of shares in all three of the above types of investments is exempt from CGT. Looking ahead to the next tax year, for lower earners, there are a two changes from April 2015 that you should be mindful of: the savings income nil rate band and personal allowance transfer. Read more helpful information on end of year tax planning both for individuals and business owners here. Savings Income Nil Rate Band From April 2015, the savings rate band for income tax reduces from 10% to 0%, which means individuals with savings income of less than £15,600, may not pay any tax. This will be extended from April 2016 as announced in the March 2015 Budget. There will be no tax due on the first £1,000 (or £500 for higher rate taxpayers) of interest earned on savings. If you expect your total income to be less than £15,600 for 2015/16 (£15,660 if born before 6 April 1938), you may be able to ask your bank to pay your interest gross (without deduction of tax). This is done by completing HMRC’s form R85 and handing this in to your bank. Unless they receive a signed R85 from you, banks are required by law to pay interest on non-ISA accounts net of 20% tax (ISA accounts are exempt from income tax and are paid gross). There are, however, some types of non-ISA accounts which are paid gross and your bank could advise on this. HMRC also have an online tool, which can be found at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/r85/r85-2015.htm, for helping you to determine if you can apply to receive your interest gross. If you are required to complete tax returns, any tax overpaid on your investment income can be claimed via self assessment. If your spouse has low income, it may be worthwhile transferring part of your interest generating investments to your spouse to fully utilise both of your personal allowances and savings nil rate bands. Personal Allowance Transfer From April 2015, for basic rate taxpayers, it is possible to transfer £1,060 of your personal allowance to your spouse. This means that if your spouse does not use all of their personal allowance, up to £1,060 of the allowance can be transferred to you, which would result in a tax saving of up to £212. If this is of interest to you, you can let HMRC know by registering at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/registration-opens-for-new-married-couples-tax-break and HMRC will email you once it is possible to claim. HMRC have still to confirm how the transfer will operate and, hopefully, we will have more information on this soon. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a sponsored article by Henderson Loggie. Find out more at hlca.co.uk.
Sir, I sincerely hope that when the roadworks are complete at Dundee’s waterfront there is a totally separate lane leading on to the Tay Road Bridge. Last Monday I was heading home to Tayport along Riverside Drive only to be stopped at the Tesco entrance at exactly 5pm. I was in the correct lane unlike so many who chanced their luck in the left-hand lane, only to later indicate and push their car into the right-hand lane. So many near misses. Because of this it took me and everyone else in the correct lane 28 minutes to reach the Tay Road Bridge access. No mention was made of this on the Radio Tay jambuster line. When I eventually got home I searched my phone book and checked online for their number to alert them to the congestion. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Why not display it on the billboards? Goodness knows there are plenty of them en route! So, come on, traffic controllers and pushy drivers get your act together! Anne H F Lowe. 13 Nelson Street, Tayport. Biomass makes no sense Sir, Recent Courier reports relating to the proposed biomass plant in Dundee have focused on the health impact associated with emissions of nitrogen dioxide but what is never mentioned is the increase in local carbon dioxide emissions. No new coal-fired generation facility would be allowed in Scotland without carbon emission mitigation and yet people seem to be sleep walking into supporting a so-called biomass (wood burning) facility which also emits significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Both coal and wood-burning involve the oxidation of carbon to form carbon dioxide. In fact, a wood-burning generator emits almost 25% more carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated than a coal-fired generator would. In effect, Dundee would be importing carbon emissions from the countries from which the wood will be sourced. This makes no sense when we are ravaging our countryside with ever more wind turbines in an effort to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions. Dr G M Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross. Figures are dwarfed Sir, I wish to congratulate Steve Flynn on his excellent letter (Courier, April 11) on the inequalities of present government legislation. While most people do not wish to see illegal benefit claims made, these are dwarfed by tax dodging from the well-off and by reduced taxes, again, to people who are much more than comfortably off. Another group of people Mr Flynn does not mention are the directors of banks who, through inefficiency and cavalier decisions have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds yet, many are still being paid large bonuses and pensions. I am sure that the amounts of illegal benefit claims pale into insignificance when compared to these latter items. John Baston. 9a Seabourne Gardens, Broughty Ferry. It is a time to show respect Sir, Why should anyone want to organise a street party to celebrate the demise of a former prime minister? The only appropriate time to organise such a gathering was surely when that person left office(in the case of Mrs Thatcher, over 22 years ago). But dancing on the grave, so to speak, of the former leader is not just distasteful it is perverse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the Durham coalfields, the republican streets of Belfast and Londonderry, or the centre of Glasgow or Brixton. Events like these don’t just diminish our reputation for tolerance, they undermine the whole texture of political debate and democracy. Respect for your opponents in time of personal difficulty and death is simple good manners and humanity. Nobody contests that Mrs Thatcher was a controversial figure. But the plain fact is that her attitudes and beliefs (honestly held and worthy of respect at a time of her passing), were subject to the test of the ballot box. For good or ill she was successful on three occasions. In the end it was her own MPs and Cabinet who prompted her resignation in November 1990. Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.Remarks show a lack of classSir, I write with reference to your article featuring Labour councillor Tom Adams and entitled, A dram to toast the lady’s demise.I found the tone of the article to be in incredibly poor taste and I am very uncomfortable with the pleasure Mr Adams appears to derive from the death of an 87-year-old frail lady with Alzheimer’s. Mr Adams, of course, makes no mention of the fact that Harold Wilson closed three times as many coal mines as Margaret Thatcher ever did. Nor does he appear to apportion any responsibility for his plight as a young man to the militant NUM leader Arthur Scargill. Most of those in his party seem to accept that Mr Scargill and his fellow militants played a major role in the failure of the mining industry. That aside, his comments, coming from an elected member of Fife Council regarding Mrs Thatcher’s death are disgraceful and show a distinct lack of class. Allan D S Smith. 10 Balgonie Place, Markinch.