Thursday, 7 August 2014

When will we feel the benefits?

IT SAYS a lot about how little time off my boss has when, after nearly two years as deputy editor, I’m finally deputising this column!

But with Philip away on a (brief) trip to Cornwall with his family, it falls on me to write what has become the traditional introduction to your favourite local newspaper.

In this week’s Pulman’s View, the story that sticks out for me is East Devon MP Hugo Swire praising his constituents for their efforts during the economic recovery.

Mr Swire said: “Thanks to the hard work of people in East Devon . . . the economy is now above its pre-crisis peak. It means more businesses creating more jobs, so families can look forward to a brighter, more secure future.”

As a proud community newspaper, we have  always aimed to bring our readers the more positive news stories (although, it has to be said, without shying away from the bad when necessary).

And whilst I wouldn’t wish to knock the sentiments of Mr Swire’s comments, how many of us can completely share his point of view?

Yes, the British economy did grow by 0.8 per cent during the second quarter of 2014, but how many of us are still earning no more – or even less – than when the recession began in 2008?

Yes, East Devon unemployment figures are falling, but they’re still significantly higher than before the recession.

And how many people are stuck on ‘zero hour’ contracts - masking the real figures?

For those struggling to make ends meet and still hunting for work, such comments as Mr Swire’s are of little comfort. Especially as they’re nothing more than pre-election campaign sound bites.

Within the last two weeks, Pulman’s View has reported on cuts to day care services, libraries, youth services, police station front desks, children’s centre services and, of course, hospital beds.

So then, this recovery, Mr Swire – when are the people of East Devon actually going to see the benefits?
  • There have been a number of events in the area commemorating the outbreak of World War I over the last few days. The reenactment of the boys from Beer marching off to war was a huge success and memorial events in Axminster attracted more than 200 people. Even now, 100 years on, the bravery of the men who fought in the Great War has not - and will not - be forgotten.                        
James Coles

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