Last night I was soundly ticked off by a friend ... "you've not been writing on your blog" she said "what have you been doing?". So I explained that a few weeks ago I decided to set myself a personal challenge to visit as many of the 58 Westminster Constitunencies in the East of England before next year's European Elections. I guess I've been quite busy...
On Monday I heard from a friend of a friend who had just had to tell his 41 employees that their jobs were gone. On Friday I was in Mid Bedfordshire. Nadine Dorries MP had just come from a constituency surgery where she said every constituent was in tears. On one hand she's helping to deliver practical advice to those who have lost jobs with the other hand she holds the box of tissues. Local councillors were telling me about the plans to merge councils next June. Its going to be a difficult period for them... restructuring creates more job uncertainties both in the public and private sector.
Last night I was in South Cambridgeshire. Big debates here are happening about the desire to keep council services supported but keep the tax low. I learnt how private sector computer software businesses are being impacted by the current fear of investment but in the public sector I leant how Defra computer systems are still outdated despite massive spending.
Today I have been in South Suffolk. The conversation ranged from an expert in preventing pollution explaining how nuclear waste is managed, pensioners telling me how the interest rate cut has left their incomes highly precarious, but a leading Estate Agent told me that since the last rate cut he was seeing signs of buyers coming back into the market. The rural part time fireman also had a word on property prices - he explained how difficult it is to man the rota in villages where young people can not afford to buy homes. There is fear for the pound but the couple who manage holiday homes in rural England were hopeful. The expensive Euro means they predict better bookings next year.
This recesssion throws up a complicated jigsaw of issues. Gordon's VAT cut does not solve the problems. If you're going to throw money at a problem you should make sure the money is well spent - and I'm not convinced that is happening.