Gloom hits home but don’t de­spair

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

DE­SPITE the na­tional me­dia’s ob­ses­sion with the credit crunch in re­cent weeks the im­pend­ing re­ces­sion has by and large had lit­tle ob­vi­ous im­pact on Ash­ford bor­ough – un­til now. But sud­denly the ef­fect of the eco­nomic cri­sis on the so-called ‘real econ­omy’ is un­for­tu­nately start­ing to hit home. Ash­ford coun­cil chiefs are be­ing forced to make ma­jor sav­ings to bal­ance the books af­ter the ex­ec­u­tive heard last week that the au­thor­ity is fac­ing a £250,000 bud­get short­fall. The coun­cil is im­pos­ing a ban on re­cruit­ment and there are even ru­mours of re­dun­dan­cies. In­ter­est­ingly one of the main causes of the coun­cil’s bud­get dif­fi­cul­ties is the drop in in­come from its car parks. The Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau next week launches a new ser­vice in Ten­ter­den and Ash­ford to help the ris­ing num­ber of peo­ple hav­ing their homes re­pos­sessed or hit by debt. House-build­ing, a key el­e­ment of the fu­ture plans for the bor­ough, has also slumped. It’s im­por­tant that or­gan­i­sa­tions like the coun­cil tackle the prob­lems they face but in a pos­i­tive and speedy man­ner. For the rest of us, well let’s talk up our town and use it in the build up to Christ­mas. Traders in both Ash­ford and Ten­ter­den need your sup­port now more than ever. One of the bor­ough’s slo­gans to pro­mote Ash­ford is that it’s ‘best placed’. Orig­i­nally this was in­tended to re­flect geo­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion. But given the eco­nomic down­turn let’s hope and work to­wards that same phrase ap­ply­ing to the bor­ough’s prospects for the end of the credit crunch.

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