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29 March 1996



The most coveted trophies at the National Shire Horse Show were won by breeders from Wales this year, reports Ann Rogers who joined the crowds on the second day of the spring event

THERES something for everyone at the National Shire Horse Show whatever their interest in the breed may be – from buyers and breeders with bloodlines, conformation and sound feet on their minds to the enthusiasts only able to express their pleasure in Shires by buying pictures, models or horse brasses.

Pleasure that Shire horses give featured in the first World Shire Congress which took place on the three days leading up to the show at the East of England Showground, Peterborough.

"There were almost 100 delegates from eight nations and they were full of enthusiasm," said Shire Horse Show secretary Tonie Gibson, adding, "There was an enormous demand for another one in two or three years time, perhaps not in this country."

As well as the technical aspects of breeding and keeping Shire horses, the congress looked at ways of using them, he said, with a well received paper from an expert from the USA on using Shires for promotional work and one on Shires for pleasure from a Dutch enthusiast. He spoke of riding his Shire through the woods for an hour before work each morning and spending time with it again in the evening.

Judging by the programme of activities at the show interest in Shires for riding seems to be growing. Besides demonstrations of modern horse-drawn farm tackle and timber hauling techniques and displays of American driving, the programme included musical rides by Brookfield Shires, knights playing medieval mounted games and an impressive dressage to music performance by Mrs Christine Mogli-Scharer who had brought two Shires from Switzerland.

Durham farmer Gawin Holmes, a competitor in the agricultural turnout classes, has hunted with one of his Shires this winter. Sixth in the single turnout class and the only competitor forward for the pairs, Gawin also uses his horses for light work on the 202ha (500 acres) at Beamish he farms with his brother Keith, a Clydesdale breeder.

The agricultural single heavy horse turnout class was won by Ken Taylor from Oxfordshire for the fourth year running. Cyril Knowles Ltd of West Thurrock, Essex won the open pairs and teams turnout classes and the Bass Museum from Burton-on-Trent, Staffs won both the open single heavy horse class and the turnout championship.

Stallions were judged on the first day of the weekend event and 43 premiums awarded to approved stallions from funds provided by the Horserace Betting Levy Board. The stallion championship and the King George V champion challenge cup, the shows premier award, were won by beef and sheep farmers C J & S Leverett from Tyn-y-Morfa, with Gronant President, a three-year-old bay by Herswell Premier. Reserve was E R Williams four-year-old bay Moorfield Edward. Among the host of awards scooped by Gronant President is the honour of being the first to qualify for the Equivite Shire Horse of the Year competition at Wembley. Seventeen other qualifying events will take place during the course of the summer.

The female championship was decided on the Sunday and won by W T Jones of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant whose eight-year-old bay mare Caerberllan Gold Gift took the title for the second year running. Reserve was G T Brownlows and K C Parrishs year-old filly Sandalwood Lincoln Locket.

The champion gelding was Ermine Jack, a four-year-old bay exhibited by Ermine Farms Ltd of Gainsborough, Lincs. Reserve was E R Williamss Moorfield William Henry.

The Fox Valley Farms-Thomas Smrt best feet and best shod horse award, for which all in-hand Shires are considered, was won by Mr M P & Mrs J M Pinions mare Hullocks Pool Lady Jane, reserve was Mr D Williamsons colt Hillmoor Magic.

carriageways side-by-side on the same level without shifting vast amounts of earth," said Ken. "So they decided on splitting on the east side of the farm and joining up again a mile to the west. This created the motorway island."

A short country lane still leads to the farm and there is a small pattern of dry stone walls. But step outside the house, on to the worn and weathered stone setts and slabs, and the whole world is rushing by in two directions only yards away.

At night the endless flow continues, a ribbon of red lights lead to one horizon and streams of white ones emerge from another. Six lanes of traffic on one of the countrys busiest motorways make a lot of noise but over the years Ken has grown accustomed to it. Thick stone walls and double-glazing are so effective at blotting it out inside the cottage you could be back in the 18th century.

Living on a motorway has its hazards. Lorries lose wheels which bound dangerously on to the island, which sheep still graze, and stranded motorists climb the fence and ask to use the phone. One morning Ken and his wife, Beth, woke to find a 32-t articulated lorry loaded with books lying outside the front door.

Ken suffers the occasional theft and the odd sheep has been killed. A tup worth nearly £200 which jumped through a gap in the fence opened up by a crashing vehicle was a recent casualty.

Pollution is a worry, some days there are clouds of exhaust gases. Ken admits he doesnt know if it is health threatening but there is little he can do about it.

Ken and Beth are now celebrating 25 years as carriageway castaways. They are alone at Stott Hall. Their son Allan now farms in Manitoba, Canada, and daughter Ann lives nearby in Ripponden.

At 67 Ken has no thoughts of retiring or moving. "They say you can get used to anything in time and we have. The motorway doesnt really interfere with the day-to-day running of the farm."

On the other hand it hasnt brought any benefits, either, and there is talk of adding extra carriageways in the future. The only time traffic stops is when it is snowbound. Ironically while the ploughs are clearing it Ken is also digging himself out.

Even joining the rush isnt easy for a motorway Robinson Crusoe. Ken has to go three miles to the nearest intersection.

Top to bottom: Tracey Pugh, Matthew Burk and Alison Hasemore at work.

Tchaikovskys Sleeping Beauty was the music Christine Mogli-Scharer chose for her dressage performance.

Gawin Holmes, accompanied by Tony Pearson, of Park Nook Farm, Beamish with Balla Prince Henry and Hillmoor George to a four wheel farm lorry.

Tom Brewster of Bandirran Clydesdales, Dumfrieshire and Brit McLin of Midnight Stars Shires, California, judged the open turnout classes. The championship was won by the Bass Museums single turnout.

Pictures:Jonathan Page

Top: Steven Leverett with Gronant President, the three year old bay which took the stallion championship. Above: William Jones with his eight year old mare Caerberllan Gold Gift which took the female championship. Left: Shire Horse Society secretary Tonie Gibson, organiser of the first World Shire Congress.

Sophianne Flint collected two trophies, a wooden shield, several cash prizes and a commemorative medal in the young handler competition.

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27 October 1995


A LEADING Scottish meat plant has new owners this week following an internal shuffle. A controlling interest in Lockerbie Meat Packers, which handles 30,000 lambs a week for the export trade, is now owned by the Rafique family. "My family owns more than 70% of the business," said general manager Sher Rafique.

"Management and ownership are now the same and that is good news for our employees and the farmers who supply us," claimed Mr Rafique.

CONTRACTS were exchanged yesterday in excess of the £40m guide for the 19,500-acre agricultural portfolio owned by Royal Insurance Asset Management. Bought by Lands Improvement Holdings, which also purchased the farming subsidiary British Field Products, it includes farms in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

"The portfolio has almost doubled in value during the four years of Royal Insurances ownership," said Ian Youdan, senior partner at Brown & Co, which acted jointly with Savills for the vendors.

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4 August 1995



Contrary to the information given in our July 21 issue, there are no annual charges for the new Flexible Loan from the Scottish Agricultural Securities Corporation. Interest currently ranges from 8.85% for a variable rate loan to 11% fixed for 10 to 25 years, and is charged quarterly.

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19 May 1995


Jeremy Lewis, a partner with accountant Grant Thornton, answers more readers enquiries on a range of tax matters

Easement payment

Q: My wife and I have recently received a payment from British Telecom for the installation of underground ducts across our land. The payment is described as a "permanent easement payment" and I would like to know if this is tax free.

A: The payment would appear to be capital by its nature and is therefore subject to capital gains tax. The amount received should be divided between yourself and your wife in accordance with the land ownership. If your resulting share of the gain exceeds £6000 then the balance is taxable at your highest rate of tax for the current tax year. If you have made other capital disposals, then the gain on these will be added to the BT gain before deducting the £6000 annual exemption when determining the tax liability.

PAYE – Lump sum payment

Q: I have an employee who died suddenly and I propose to make a lump sum payment to his widow. What is the tax treatment?

A: The PAYE guide states than an ex-gratia payment made on the death of an employee to his estate or dependents is counted as pay for tax purposes in its entirety. However, the Inland Revenue states that such a payment is not taxable if it has been approved by the Inland Revenue beforehand. Approval should be given if the payment is less than two times the deceaseds salary. I suggest that you seek approval for the tax exemption in accordance with this statement of practice before you make the payment to the widow.

Benefit in kind

Q: I intend to let one of my employees have the use of a van to travel from home to work. What are the tax implications?

A: Travel from home to work is not treated as business mileage for tax purposes, so the use of the van will be treated as a benefit in kind. The employee will be liable to a flat rate benefit in kind of £500 if the van is less than four years old and £350 otherwise. The benefit should be reported on the form P11D at the year end if the employee earns more than £8500 including benefits.

Inheritance Tax Relief

Q: I am in partnership with my son. I would like to know if agricultural property relief will be due on my share of the land and buildings at my death. I also want to know if any relief would be available on my capital account which stood at approximately £150,000 at the last balance sheet date.

A: It would appear that agricultural property relief at 100% would be due on your death as you can obtain vacant possession of the land within 12 months and have owned the land for more than two years. It is likely that business property relief would also be due at 100% on your share of the business, which would be represented by your capital account balance. However, if non-business assets were owned by the partnership, then the relief would be restricted.

PAYE on board and lodgings

Q: I have recently had a PAYE visit, and the Inspector is now asking for income tax and national insurance on the board and lodging allowance paid to employees. Is he correct?

A: You advised that your wages book showed a gross wage, from which the board and lodging allowance was deducted and paid to the workers mother.

Because the board and lodging is deducted from the gross wage, the Revenue can argue that the liability is the employers, so that national insurance will be due. They will also be able to argue that the board and lodging was part of the employees salary, and so is liable to income tax.

I would suggest that in future payment is made direct to the workers mother, so that it would only be treated as a benefit in kind to be reported on the form P11D (if the worker earns more than £8500 including benefits). National insurance would not then be due.

Farmhouse expenditure

Q: The annual rent for my agricultural holding is £5000. The Inland Revenue has specifically asked what proportion of this relates to the farmhouse and I would like to know how this could be calculated. I also want to know how to apportion other farmhouse expenditure between business and private use.

A: Your landlord might be able to give you a breakdown of the rental figures or you might seek the advice of a professional valuer. If your landlord has opted to charge VAT on rental income, then you should find that the rent attributable to the farmhouse is exempt from VAT, as it is for the letting of residential accommodation.

An apportionment of farmhouse expenses should be based on the facts. For example, if a specific room in the house is used wholly for business, say an office, then an apportionment based on the number of rooms could be used.

Further tax advice is available from the Grant Thornton/NFU Tax Help Desk on 01993-706999

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