Monday, April 13, 2009

Recession in Romford

This is - or was - the newsagent downstairs from my flat. They opened a couple of years ago but always struggled to get a large number of customers. Opposite is T K Max, still open but nowhere near as busy as it once was. The Romford Recorder also reports the failure of Giorgio's restaurant, on of the town's smartest venues.

In contrast, nearby Primark was packed over the Easter weekend and Marks & Spencer attracts a lot of older shoppers who are in there every day, although the luxury sandwich range disappeared back in March.

This mixed picture of the recession - some losers, some winners - is repeated elsewhere in business as I discovered last week when I spent a morning with the Academy of Chief Executives. the dozen or so businesses represented around the table were mostly keeping their heads above water, although two manufacturers were pessimistic and one service organisation was actually launching a new product online.

One thing that had changed was their enthusiasm for taking contracts from the public sector. In the past many companies haven't bothered and one of my previous employers had a policy of not taking part - you have to draft bureaucratic equal opportunities, health & safety and environment strategies, then complete some lengthy and confusing tender documents before you can even bid, then the work still goes to the same old people - one of the directors claimed. Now, with reducing opportunities and profits cut to the bone, they can no longer afford to be choosy.

They were also sceptical of the LDA's ability - and the Government's - to actually improve conditions for business. Much of the activity that politicians pride themselves upon was seen as well meaning but ineffective and the credibility of Business Link, which is supposed to be helping, was seen to be low. Recovery, when it comes, will be driven by hard working, risk taking individuals and not by The State.


morris hickey said...

And what about Ilford? You are very specific about Romford, but just in case you have fogotten let me remind you that your constituency is Havering AND REDBRIDGE.

Anonymous said...

do these hard working risk taking indiviudals also include the greedy bankers that wrecked our economy