Gloom hits home but don’t despair
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.