Hope this helps you understand how to bargain the final pay package you receive.
1. UK experience though favored is never mandatory. If you are good at what you do, any quality experience counts so dont be perturbed.
2. Final package depends on any added benefits the company puts on the table during negotiations
For example - 40k with 10% guaranteed bonus every year plus bonus on performance, insurance, pension contributions, benefits such as car, fuel, possibly accommodation though very rare and many others must be taken into account
3. 50k in the main London city is equivalent to 35k in a nice town or suburb.
Honestly speaking, 9 years can easily demanding 40 to 50k, nothing wrong in that. Permanent and contracting pay packages are very different mainly because a contract is short lived, in most cases, and does not guarantee continuous salary every month end
Just as I have said in many other posts, all depends on your responsibilities, requirements and plans. If you have cash reserves for 6 to 8 months and are ready to wait patiently, and I do mean patiently as things move slowly, then come on over. Else you are better off waiting until 2010 and re-evaluating the job scenario and coming over.
You can never get a good picture of things if you are not here in person.
Market is bad but not dead. Quality people are always in demand, anywhere, anytime and in any country. Things are much different now and an example I like to give is - When before you had, say, 500 applicants for 50 openings, you may now have 2000 for 50 openings, so nothing is impossible, only the competition has got a lot tougher.