‘We don’t feel in re­ces­sion’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

A SUR­PRIS­ING swell of op­ti­mism has been found among busi­nesses de­spite the eco­nomic down­turn.

Only five out of 80 com­pa­nies in a straw poll at a con­fer­ence in Ash­ford be­lieved they were still in re­ces­sion. And more than half said they were start­ing to see signs of re­cov­ery.

The ver­dicts came in a sim­ple show of hands in a State of the Econ­omy busi­ness break­fast at Eureka Busi­ness Park.

Ju­dith Ar­mitt, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Ash­ford’s Fu­ture, said: “It was en­cour­ag­ing to learn how many busi­nesses in Ash­ford are see­ing the green shoots of re­cov­ery. The start of the full high-speed timetable on De­cem­ber 13 will, of course, give us an­other boost.

“Only five out of 80 com­pa­nies con­sid­ered they were still in re­ces­sion, so this is a strong tes­ta­ment to Ash­ford’s sta­tus as a sus­tain­able busi­ness lo­ca­tion dur­ing un­cer­tain fi­nan­cial times.”

Guest speaker Phil Eck­er­s­ley, from the Bank of Eng­land, summed up the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion based on the Bank’s Novem­ber 2009 Inflation Re­port.

This says the world econ­omy is show­ing signs of re­cov­ery al­though ac­tiv­ity is still far be­low pre-cri­sis lev­els.

In the UK, out­put fell by about 6 per cent over six quar­ters, but eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity has be­gun to sta­bilise.

The event, chaired by Ash­ford MP Damian Green, also detailed busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in Ash­ford with the £2.5bn de­vel­op­ment strat­egy to cre­ate 28,000 jobs and 31,000 homes by 2031.

LAT­EST fig­ures for un­em­ploy­ment in Ash­ford show a slight dip, al­though they are still high. Statis­tic for this Oc­to­ber show 1,977 peo­ple claim­ing job­seek­ers al­lowance (2.9 per cent com­pared with the na­tional 4.1).

This is a slight fall on Septem­ber, which was 2,008 (3 per cent). But in Oc­to­ber 2008 the rate was 988 (1.5 per cent).

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