Doom and gloom ahead as we en­ter a tu­mul­tuous 2019

City View

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Letters And Opinion - By PROF RICHARD SCASE

Here are my 10 pre­dic­tions for the com­ing year.

Brexit will not hap­pen on March 29. I have no idea of the out­come of the cur­rent mess but leav­ing on that date will be aban­doned. There could even be a Gen­eral Elec­tion by then.

The na­tional econ­omy will con­tinue to de­cline. Wages and salaries will stag­nate and house­hold credit card debt will in­crease.

High street shop clo­sures will con­tinue, af­fect­ing Can­ter­bury as with many other towns and cities. Wait un­til Fe­bru­ary through to April for a string of an­nounce­ments as busi­nesses as­sess their year-end 2018 per­for­mance. The im­pact of on­line shop­ping will con­tinue to grow.

The night-time econ­omy will have a tough year as drinking out-of-home de­clines. Young men and women would rather share down­loads, and drink with friends in their flats, than pay what they re­gard as in­flated prices in wine bars and pubs.

In any case, al­co­hol con­sump­tion among the young is on a down­ward slope.

Car sales will con­tinue to fall. Con­sumer anx­i­eties over gov­ern­ment poli­cies to­wards diesel ve­hi­cles will con­tinue. But also, an­other fac­tor. Young peo­ple are turn­ing away from car own­er­ship. Fewer cars on the road must be a good thing, although in con­gested Can­ter­bury we will not no­tice it.

The coun­cil will con­tinue to pay lip ser­vice to sus­tain­abil­ity but in re­al­ity do lit­tle to im­ple­ment ef­fec­tive prac­ti­cal poli­cies.

These range from fail­ing to in­sist de­vel­op­ers in­stall fast charge points for elec­tric ve­hi­cles in new-build homes, through to not aban­don­ing the pol­lu­tion-cre­at­ing multi-storey car park in Sta­tion Road West.

There will be a fall in stu­dent en­rol­ments at the city’s uni­ver­si­ties. For a grow­ing num­ber of young peo­ple, the univer­sity dream is over. The knock-on im­pact on the buyto-let mar­ket and main­te­nance and re­pair busi­nesses in the lo­cal area will be huge.

The re­de­vel­op­ment of the old Serco site at Kingsmead will be de­ferred. It will con­tinue to be a boarded derelict site through­out 2019.

Hos­pi­tal wait­ing lists will con­tinue to grow de­spite greater state fund­ing.

Any in­crease will be out­paced by the de­mands of an age­ing pop­u­la­tion with its greater risks of ill­ness and dis­abil­i­ties. Per­haps ex­tended wait­ing lists are a ploy by the gov­ern­ment to de­velop a larger pri­vate health sec­tor as more af­flu­ent pa­tients be­come more pre­pared to pay for im­me­di­ate treat­ment rather than wait their turn on the NHS.

The May lo­cal coun­cil elec­tions will pro­duce some sur­pris­ing re­sults for the rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive party. Na­tional trends and lo­cal is­sues such as the Can­ter­bury West mul­ti­storey carpark could eas­ily elim­i­nate its present over­all ma­jor­ity on the coun­cil.

These are my 10 pre­dic­tions. Apolo­gies for a list laden with doom and gloom. 2019 may make us richer or poorer, Re­main­ers or Leavers. But let us all be united in stand­ing up to can­cer. A Happy New Year.

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