Doom and gloom ahead as we enter a tumultuous 2019
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.