We keep hearing from the Government that the green-shoots of economic recovery are around the corner. I am not so sure.
If what is happening in Halifax is anything to go by, then there is little sign of such optimism.
I fear, once again, the Government are trapped in their South-East bubble. Unable to see the bigger picture, unable to understand how much damage their policies are causing to our town.
The latest unemployment figures still make dismal reading. Policies to cut more benefits hardly help. Making the poor poorer gets cheap claps at Tory conference, but only makes the social and economic problems worse.
But the economic barometer should not come from facts and figures, but from real life stories. I regularly speak with many Halifax businesses. Confidence, moral and hope has never been as low.
Since I was elected, I have worked closely with an excellent and well-run company called IPLAS.
They were modern in their outlook, with a dedicated loyal and local workforce. Their products had national and international recognition. Exactly the kind of company that should be at the heart of any economic recovery. I met with their managing director, Howard Waghorn, a few months back and he was confident that the company could survive the economic turmoil.
So it was with some shock that I learnt of the company’s closure. The factory gates were closed a couple of weeks ago, after they had gone into administration. The hard working staff out of work and another excellent and forward thinking company lost to the austerity strategy. A real blow to our local economy.
This is exactly the kind of company that should not be allowed to go under. Whenever I visited IPLAS I never failed to be impressed by how well run they were, how they were constantly improving their products and marketing them across the world.
Quite simply, economic recoveries cannot be left to the market. Government has a huge role to play, but the laissez-faire approach of this one is forcing too many companies to the wall. It is all so unnecessary. If the policies were right, instead of ideologically right-wing, IPLAS would be filling their order books, not locking their gates. For me it is a stark warning that there could be many dark days ahead. In the meantime, it’s time the Government realised that their polices are still hurting, but not yet working. The time for a Plan B has arrived.