People not worried by recession

PEOPLE in Sudbury are less worried about the current recession than they were about the downturn of the 1990s, according to South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo, writes Elliot Pinkham.

Mr Yeo held his regular surgery in Sudbury on Friday evening, which saw people come to discuss various issues.

He believes that while people do have some concerns, it is not all doom and gloom.

“I would say there is less anxiety about this recession than there was in the 1990s,” he said.

“I’m not saying it has not been difficult for people. It may be because Suffolk is a relatively prosperous area, but people have proven themselves to be quite adaptable to change.”

Some of the issues raised by constituents, both during Friday’s surgery and via post and email, include changes to the benefit system, business concerns and planning issues.

Mr Yeo said: “There is a regular stream of individual problems which will always appear, no matter what the economy is doing, but I have not had a significant upsurge which could be attributed to the economic situation.

“My judgement about people in and around Sudbury is that they are fairly hard-working and conscientious – they will accept changes and just get on with their jobs.”

John McMillan, president of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, believes businesses in this area have been more savvy than in other regions.

“We haven’t been anything like as stupid as a lot of people,” he said. “I read a report recently about plumbers on £60,000 a year. People in our construction industry haven’t been asking silly rates, so they haven’t had the same crash in work.”

Mr McMillan added that the dominance of smaller businesses and self-employed people in and around Sudbury has added to its resilience.

“The region has got the highest concentration of self-employment in the country, and when times are tough those people have less money but don’t lose their jobs,” he said. “There are also very few big companies, which are shedding staff all the time.”

Mr McMillan echoed Mr Yeo’s sentiments, stating that the chamber’s members seem less worried about the current downturn.

“It doesn’t seem to be anything like as hard as the recession of the 1990s,” he said.