Austerity Gone Mad!

Austerity Gone Mad!budget2013_chx_hoc_landing_page_narrow

“So very deluded and living in a Country in his own head!” Wordle_%20Milliband's%20response-1774982

I wonder what will happen to this world, to this country, as I watch this recession dip for a third time, and in so doing banishes humanity from our politics, preferring to put cost before need, saving money instead of protecting vulnerability. I watch in amazement as we live in a world where a country, in order to attract aid, is prepared to steel the savings of the people that did not cause the problems and have had good sense enough to save money not get into debt. As we trawl over the latest Osborne Budget, knowing already there is no good news to be had in his red ministerial box, which he held up as tradition dictates for the flashing cameras. The man keeps going on about the economy is healing, well it doesn’t feel like it to anyone, or perhaps he is on about another economy; that one in his head perhaps, a fantasy economy where he has been successful, an economy that is the polar opposite of the reality on the ground. A ground stained with the blood of companies that were bled-out by the banks foreclosing, the stench of decay left by the collateral damage of austerity, those high-street brands gone in a couple of years: austerity_is_working_homepage_slide

2007-2013 Review (Who’s gone bust courtesy of Retailer Research http://www.retailresearch.org/whosegonebust.php):

2012 was the worst year since 2008, with more than 48,000 employees affected, almost 4,000 stores and 54 retailers. The reasons include: a second economic downturn causing weak retail sales; the failure of a few retail giants (e.g. Peacocks and Comet) which bumped up the figures for affected employees and stores; and the exiting of many companies that could survive a year or so of recession but not four years of low profits or losses. So far, 2013 looks to be even worse.

Companies failing

Stores Affected

Employees Affected

2013

(to 6 Mar)

16

(12m = 96)

1,676

(12m =   10,056)

17,334

(12m =   104,004)

2012

(12   months)

54

3,951

48,142

2011

(12   months)

31

2,469

24,025

2010

(12   months)

26

944

10,930

2009

(12   months)

37

6,536

26,688

2008

(12   months)

54

5,793

74,539

2007

(12 months)

25

2,600

14,083

george-osborne-budget-477617952

Just some of the companies affected in the last five years have included Comet, JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Game, Borders, Barratts, Alexon, T J Hughes, Jane Norman, Habitat, Focus DIY, Floors-2-Go, the Officers Club, Oddbins, Ethel Austin, Faith Shoes, Adams Children’s-Wear, Thirst Quench, Stylo, Mosaic, Principles, Sofa Workshop, Allied Carpets, Viyella, Dewhursts, Woolworths, MFI, and Zavvi/Virgin Megastore. IF-campaign-Budget-Dy

Failures in 2013

  1. Monsoon Accessorize Ireland is to appoint an examiner (=go into administration). The UK operations are not affected.
  2. Dreams, the bed retailer, went into administration for one day as part of being restructured, before being acquired by private equity firm Sun European Partners for £35 mn. It was worth £222 mn a few years ago. Sun Europe has purchased the head office, its 2 manufacturing plants and 171 stores (1675 employees). That leaves the other 93 stores not part of the deal in administration. Sun also owns ScS, Alexon and bed specialist Sharps.
  3. West One Fashion, the young woman’s fashion retailer with 17 stores went into administration at the end of February. There are around 35 employees affected.
  4. Republic, the mid-market youth fashion retailer with 121 stores and 1,600 employees, went into administration in mid-February in order to reorganize (=close shops) before the next quarterly rent period. Negotiations with landlords came to nothing. It has been suffering because it cannot afford the high rents and rates of UK high streets and the youth market has been one of the most strongly hit sectors. Its chairman departed in Jan and the company twitter accounts closed, the modern precursor to announcing bad news.
  5. Rapid Hardware, the Liverpool family-run business that operates from a 10K sq ft store in Williamson Sq, went into administration in early February. The company was established in 1971 and has 90 employees. It left its original property and moved into the heart of Liverpool’s retail district in 2009.
  6. Store Twenty One, the value clothing chain with 200 stores previously known as QS, has closed its online operation. Several stores received visits from bailiffs in January to seize stock. There are 1,000 employees. The business needs refinancing if it is to survive, but it has not made a profit for 10 years and is caught between the powerful value fashion tigers and the fact that most of its sites are in unattractive secondary locations (of less interest to other retailers).
  7. B&Q Ireland, a subsidiary of Kingfisher Group, has appointed an examiner (this is Irish law for administration) to enable the business to continue trading in order to survive. It may close up to four of its nine stores.
  8. PleaseandThankyou, the online business start-up run by Peter Gelardi (co-founder of failed wedding gifts provider, Wrapit [see below]) has been wound up with no debts. The company sold home and garden products.
  9. Excellar, the wine retail chain with 7 stores in the South East and one in Paris, went into administration at the end of January. There are 45 staff. Simon Baile, former head of Oddbins, originally bought 158 Oddbins stores from Castel Frères, but the chain went into administration in 2011. The present Exceller was rescued from the administrator.
  10. Cobbetts, the law firm with 500 employees sat in offices in Birmingham, Leeds and London went into administration at the end of January. Its revenue to April 2012 was £45 million, but debts amounted to £10 million. £400 million IT reseller/integrator, 2e2, with 2,000 staff has also gone into administration.
  11. Mothercare Australia has been put into administration by its parent. Its recent performance has been weak and it represented only 7% of Mothercare international sales. Mothercare UK and other subsidiaries are unaffected.
  12. Godfrey, the Norwich-based DIY retailer established in the 1980s, with stores in Stowe, Diss and Norwich is to go into liquidation. An attempt in December to focus on the Norwich store of the £5 mn business came to nothing and the business is to be wound down with 51 employees likely to lose their jobs. Sales had been falling since the recession started.
  13. Midlands Co-op is to close its eight non-food outlets including department stores in Derby, Coalville, Chesterfield, Stafford, Ilkeston and Wigston plus small furnishings/homeware operations in West Bridgford and Long Eaton. The food operations, by far the biggest part of the business, are unaffected.
  14. D.J.Jenkins Stores, operator of five general stores in the East Midlands, has gone into administration because of a downturn in trade affecting 198 employees. All stores are thought likely to close by the end of February.
  15. Play.com, the popular etailer, is to close its retail operations and concentrate on acting as an internet third party to other organisations. It is the second largest etailer with 14 million registered users and 500 employees, operating behind the VAT-free regulations (Low Value Consignment Relief) in Jersey. However the value of the company was only £25 mn when acquired by Rakuten, which had also folded its PriceMinister etail business into Play.com. The business can only have been marginally profitable because, when the VAT-free status was withdrawn by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2012, the etailer decided to close its retail operations. It has not gone bust but beat a strategic retreat. Other parts of the business continue unaffected.
  16. La Senza, the remains of the women lingerie retailer bought out of administration in 2012, is to go into liquidation. Alshaya bought 60 of the original 140 stores in 2012, saving 1,100 jobs. The liquidation is thought to be a financial reorganisation not affecting La Senza’s current operations. The European arm is also to be liquidated.
  17. Sony Centre, the East Midlands based electronics and electrical goods retailers, has closed its stores in Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln and Leicester and its staff of 24 have been made redundant. The parent company is Raresupply Company.
  18. Gio Gio, the menswear retailer sold in JD Sports, USC, Littlewoods, Republic, Lifestyle and independents, went into administration in mid-January and its staff of 24 have been made redundant. It closed three stores last summer (Aberdeen, Glasgow and Manchester) but could not stem continued losses.
  19. Blockbuster, the national chain of video (rental) stores, went into administration in mid-January. There are 528 stores with 4,190 employees. Like HMV the chain was a former market leader, adversely affected by the importance of video downloads and online rentals and DVD sales.
  20. HMV, the last UK chain of music and entertainment stores, went into administration after a weak Christmas and years of fighting a losing battle against downloads and online retailers. There are 238 stores and 4,350 employees. HMV is still trading though it is unlikely to attract a buyer for the whole business. The failure of HMV is likely to be a ‘Woolworths’ moment’ where shoppers (and no-longer shoppers) realise that a changing world is exactly that.
  21. Ethel Austin, the 32 remaining stores of the once-flourishing budget chain (which had 300 stores at one time), were closed immediately in January as the company went into administration for the fourth time. In July 2012, Liric bought 32 stores from the restructuring specialist GA Europe, but the company has been unable to continue. See below for previous administrations.
  22. Jessops, the only national UK camera retailer, was the first major retailer to go into administration in 2013. It had grown from around 50 stores in 1994, acquired Camera Crew and City Camera Exchange, and had more than 200 stores by 2002. It sold its central premises in 2008, avoided administration in 2009 by carrying out a debt for equity swap (involving HSBC taking 47% of its equity and a £34mn debt write-off). The administrators closed down Jessops’ 193 stores and fired its 2,000 staff, two days after taking control, partly at the instigation of Jessop’s suppliers. Goods were returned to suppliers, who had become concerned that a ‘fire sale’ of under-price merchandise by Jessops’ would undermine everyone’s businesses for the following few months.
  23. Ethel Austin/Life&Style: the administrators have stated that they may take action against ‘certain parties’ as a result of the failure of Life&Style in 2011.
  24. K Village, a shopping outlet opened in Kendall in June 2010, went into administration in January. It failed to attract sufficient tenants. Budget-cuts-2013

Failures in 2012

  1. Green & Blue Wines, ethical retailer of organic wines in the London area, went out of business in December. Highly-targeted businesses of this character have found the UK a very inclement market since the recession started.
  2. Wine Shak, a chain of 14 off-licences created out of the ruins of Thirst Quench (Oddbins, Threshers), went into administration in December, taking with it Hampshire-based Wickham Vineyards (the owner). The main thrust of the chain was to support English wine, positioned between “high-end specialist shops and where Wine Rack was before”. Fifty-eight staff are involved, 34 from the stores and 24 from the vineyard.
  3. Nidd Vale Motors, the Harrogate-based Yorkshire car firm selling Vauxhall, Seat and Mazda, went into administration in December. There are 105 employees over two sites. The company had existed for 92 years but problems with their bank led to the appointment of administrators.
  4. Manor Furniture, near Swindon, went into administration in November as a result of a slowing of trade and problems with their suppliers. The company had been in existence for 18 years.
  5. Whiteleys Garden Centre in Mirfield, Huddersfield, went into administration in November and is currently on the market. Annual sales are £2 mn and there are 45 staff.
  6. Walmsley’s, the Walsall-based furniture chain, went into administration for the third time in seven years in November. There are 24 stores and 105 staff. It was bought by turnround specialist SKG Capital in 2011.
  7. Famous Footwear, the loss-making chain with £15 mn sales and 21 stores and 21 concessions, went into administration in November. It is owned by the shareholders of the shoe manufacturer Jacobson Group who bought the company to give them access to the retail market.
  8. The Web Group, owners of Book Club Associates, Choices UK (once 2nd-largest DVD/video game retailer), and five other brands, went into administration in October. The companies have ceased trading. Choices UK itself closed in April 2012. The remaining parts of Webb employ 60 staff.
  9. Comet, Britain’s second-largest electrical retailer, went into administration in November and the last stores closed in w/c 16 Dec 2012. It was established in 1933 and had grown to 243 stores and 6,500 employees. It suffered as a result of the credit crunch, competition from online retailers, and by not being seen as authoritative in consumer electronics. The final blow was given when its insurers refused trade credit insurance and suppliers demanded to be paid in advance. Part of the Kingfisher Group since the 1980s, it traded suboptimally for years and went to Darty (Kesa Group). Kesa sold it for £2 to OpCapita and gave OpCapita £50 mn to take it away. OpCapita have now obviously given up the ghost.
  10. J Harris & Sons, long-established Cheshire furniture retailer, went into administration in September and has been closed down. It traded as Andrew Harris Furniture and Mr Bedds.
  11. United Carpets put its subsidiary, Northern Carpets into pre-pack administration early in October, then bought back most of the assets. It intends to renegotiate rents downwards as an alternative to closure. There are 420 staff. It is assumed that 20% or so of these stores will close shortly.
  12. Romida Sports, a small cricketing specialist established for 30 years, went into administration in September. There were stores in Rochdale, Maghull, Brighouse and Leatherhead in Surrey. There are 10 employees.
  13. Optical Express, with 200 branches providing laser eye surgery, has put its Southern subsidiary into administration. It closed its 40 worst stores the day after the subsidiary went into administration (though most affected staff will be switched to the remaining stores). 40 other stores are transferring to the main company along with 750 staff.
  14. Stratford Wine Agencies, a 30-year old firm importing and distributing wine (based in Cookham not Stratford on Avon), went into administration in September. The assets were bought by F E Barber. There were 19 employees.
  15. Mostyn’s, the curtain and soft furnishings company established in 1950 with 128 staff, went into administration and was bought as a going concern. Sales last year were £7 mn.
  16. JJB Sports, the struggling sportswear retailer with 4,000 staff and 180 stores, went into administration in September. Its 20 best stores have been bought by Sports Direct and a few others have been picked up by other retailers, but the rest have closed and the staff sacked. US-chain Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in August that it had written off the £20 mn investment in JJB that it had made in April.
  17. Hein Gericke UK, the UK arm of the dominant German motor bike dealer, went into administration in early August. It has 49 stores, a catalogue and online business, with around 200 staff. It is a separate business from the German operation, which is unaffected by the administration and trades throughout the rest of Europe. A new buyer was found (completion in September) and the business is expected to continue much as before.
  18. Fultons Fine Furnishings, one of Northern Irelands best-known retailers (three stores) trading at the upper end of the market, went into administration in July. It was started 50 years ago and has 57 employees. It follows another high-quality NI furniture retailer that closed down in 2011.
  19. Ethel Austin, the low-price clothing retailer that has now failed four times, was placed in administration in July by Ashloch Ltd, the company that had bought it out of administration in August 2011. Ashloch stated early in 2012 that there was £5+ mn of stock missing and they refused to pay the full purchase price. There are 60 stores, compared to 300 stores in 2010. 32 stores and the ‘Ethel Austin’ brand have been purchased from administration by Ricli Limited (owned by Mike Basso), saving 200 jobs.
  20. Bathroom Emporium, a Lancashire-based bathroom showroom/online business, ultimately failed as a result of local price competition and excessive amounts of stock.
  21. Julian Graves, the natural food store, was one of the first retailers to go into administration in July. Since its purchase from Baugur, the Icelandic group, in 2008 it lost £2 mn pa. There are around 189 stores and 755 employees, mostly part-time. Its owner is NBTY which also own Holland and Barrett that currently is trading strongly and in unaffected by the problems of Julian Graves.
  22. Allders of Croydon, the third-largest department store in the UK, went into administration in June threatening the livelihoods of 300 people. It had been rescued from previous failure by Harold Tillman but succumbed to the general retail malaise and the problems of the other parts of Tillman’s group (see below, Aquascutum).
  23. Cecil Jacobs, the Leicester-based camera retailer with 19 stores and 154 employees, went into administration early in June. It was established 70 years ago. By mid-June the administrators had closed all its stores except London Road, Leicester. By the end of the month only 25 staff will have been retained
  24. Peters Bakery, the North-Eastern multiple baker and retailer with 58 stores and 403 employees, went into administration in June. As well as its retail chain, it supplied leading supermarkets and wholesalers.
  25. Masai GB, the UK distributor of MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) shoes, went into administration following its Swiss parent’s filing for bankruptcy. There are 10 stores and sales of around £10 million.
  26. 50.    Rhythm and Booze (R and M Swaine), a Yorkshire-based drinks chain with outlets also in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire , collapsed in April with losses of £7 mn. It was bought out of administration by Bibby Retail Services (trades as Costcutter). There were 68 stores, mainly loss making, many of which had been bought from Thirstquench in 2009. The 425 staff are expected to transfer to the new owners.
  27. Wallace Clement Interiors, a quality home furnishings retailer set up in 1906 with stores in Diss and Cambridge, went into administration in mid-May after a long period of declining sales. The website (on 15 May 2012) seemed to be unaware of this. Its former Norwich store closed in 2011. There are around 30 employees
  28.  Joscelyne, the long-established furniture retailer, went into administration early in May. Founded in 1878, it has 6 Clement Joscelyne stores in the south-east, and owns two Ligne Roset stores in London and Charles Page. There are almost 100 employees. The reason given for the failure is recent worsening in trading conditions.
  29. Clinton Cards, which operates 628 Clinton and 139 Birthdays stores, went into administration early in May. Its US supplier, American Greetings, bought its £35 mn loan from its bankers and the company has had to apply for administration. The company has been struggling for several years. There are 8.500 employees. The fall is caused by weakfish management, high rents, the slump in consumer demand, and the purchases of not-very-good card companies.
  30. Micro Anvika, the Tottenham Court Road electronics retailer has closed four of its stores. A CVA with creditors will allow it to continue operating with two stores in London and one in Newcastle. Its mail order business will also remain. Staff numbers have fallen from 140 to 48.
  31. Allied Floors, which bought the remains of Allied Carpets in 2011, itself went into administration in April. It has been purchased pre-pack by Scotland-based General George, which has 8 stores selling carpets, laminates and flooring. This deal saves the 9 Allied stores and 41 jobs.
  32. D&d Wines International, the wine shippers and importers based in Knutsford, went into administration in April. It supplies 600 wines from 25 businesses to supermarkets and cash-and-carry. There are 25 employees. One-half has lost their jobs but it is thought the business will survive.
  33. Carsite, the company behind Tesco’s unfortunate foray into online second-hand car sales, was placed in administration one day after Tesco announced it was closing its sites. Tesco sold only 140 vehicles a month and explained that it was hard to get hold of good stock. About every 10 years a grocer has a go at selling cars or doing car repairs, including Sainsbury’s in the mid-80s and ASDA in the 90s. It never works. The problems can be seen in the economics classic The Market for Lemons. Unless you have read that don’t sell second-hand cars.
  34. Instyle Furniture and the R&M Deluxe Upholstery/Holdings, which produced and sold its own furniture and chairs, went into administration in April. The Aberdeen and Glasgow stores have closed: it continues to trade from its Uddingston store and the Hillington HO remains open. There are 45 employees of this Scottish firm, founded in 1983.
  35. Acquascutum, the famous fashion name bought by Harold Tilman, was placed into administration in April following the sale of Tilman’s Jaeger. The factory in Corby was immediately closed with the loss of 115 jobs. There are another 135 retail and HO employees, working in 3 stores and 16 concessions. The company made a £10 mn loss in 2010 on sales of £28 mn. The company dated from 1851, making waterproof coats in the Crimean war. These garments adapted for use in WWI became known as ‘trench coats’. The vicious weather in the Crimean war gave rise to a number of fashions such as the cardigan, the balaclava, and beards.
  36. John Frackleton and Son, the Northern Ireland bathroom and tile retailer went into administration in April. It has two showrooms and 15 staff.
  37. Houston Fashions, the Northern Ireland retailer (68 staff) with 4 stores in the Province and two in Eire went into administration early in April.
  38. Webb Brothers, the Midlands Electrical retailer with 7 stores (some trading as ‘Panasonic’) went into administration in April. All stores except for the Cannock one have been closed and 15 out of 21 staff have been made redundant.
  39. Ellie Louise, the women’s fashion retailer that operates 97 stores under the names Budget Box, Gimbles, Seconds Ahead, Trade Secret, Happit and Ellie Louise, went into administration at the beginning of April. It has 400 staff and also sells lingeries and jewellery.
  40. DBC Foodservice, bulk wholesaler and supplier for convenience, smaller supermarkets and independent stores, went into administration at the end of March. Although sales rose by 10% to £302 mn its profits collapsed from £1.3 mn to a loss of £4.95 mn. DBC had 12 depots and 1,000 staff. It served retail, catering, pubs, education, business and the Ministry of Defence from 12 depots. Trade insurers removed cover, larger suppliers pressed for invoices to be paid in full and changed to cash pro forma arrangements, and there was no likelihood that the dire cash position could be reversed. The main contracts have already been sold to Brakes and Vestey, leaving around 40% of the business to be transferred elsewhere. 250 jobs have already gone. DBC was set up 110 years ago as the Danish Bacon Company. In the 50s and 60s it was a pioneer of voluntary groups for independent retailers.
  41. Game Group, the UK-based retailer of computer games, suspended dealing in its shares on 20 March having decided that there was no more equity left in its shares. Rent was due at the end of that week and Game was trying to raise £180 mn. In the UK there are 600 stores and 6,000 employees, all of which are now in jeopardy. Game is the largest specialist videogame retailer in Europe with 1,300 stores in total and 10,000 employees. The company will certainly need to restructure, whether or not it actually goes into administration.
  42. Firetrap, the high street fashion brand, has been bought out of administration by Sports Direct. Its brands, Firetrap UK and FullCircle, and the wholesale business have been saved along with 170 jobs but Firetrap’s 6 stores have been ditched costing 51 jobs. Sports Direct also bought USC and Cruise this year.
  43. Azendi, the Leeds-based jeweller with 17 stores, went into administration in March. There are around 80 staff.
  44. Fenn Wright Manson, the fashion retailer with 17 stores and 62 concessions in department stores like John Lewis and House of Fraser, went into administration in early March. It has 350 staff and continues to trade awaiting a buyer.
  45. Shoe Envy, the popular women’s shoes website trading at http://www.shoe-envy.co.uk, closed down without warning at the end of February. It had been trading for 10 years. It operated on Amazon as well through its own site and had shoe-envy Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn corporate sites.
  46. Madhouse (or Deluxe Retail Limited), discount young men’s fashion chain selling Lee Cooper and Nike at a discount, went into administration again suddenly in February. Its previous version was as Cromwell’s Madhouse. There are 700 employees and we guess around 38 stores.
  47. Rowlands Clothing of Trowbridge (Wiltshire), aimed at slightly older ladies, went briefly into administration in February before being purchased by New World Private Equity. There are seven stores and a mail order and internet operation based at Southwick. 60 jobs have been saved although there have been eight redundancies.
  48. Twickenham Film Studies has entered receiverships and will close finally in June. It was established almost 100 years ago and Alfie (Michael Caine) was made there, the anti-landlord film by Roman Polanski Repulsion and the studios were used by the Beatles for A Hard Day’s Night and Help. More recently the studios have been used in making The Iron Lady and Warhorse.
  49. Shoon Limited, a family-owned retailer in the south of England selling shoes and clothing, went into administration in February having failed to sell some of its loss-making stores. The company employs 280 staff and has 23 stores.
  50. Abbeycrest, the manufacturer and distributor of jewellery, went into administration in February although its Brown and Newirth subsidiary survived through a previous MBO. The manufacturing business in Thailand also survives. A shrinking order book and the jump in gold prices made it impossible for the company to continue.
  51. Ugo, the hard discounter created by Haldanes from ex-Netto stores acquired from Asda, has been sold to Poundstretcher. The stores will become part of Poundstretcher saving 300 jobs. The company itself did not go bust but it had been an unsuccessful operation based on 20 stores across the North and the north Midlands. A buyer pulled out of a previous sale early in January. Haldanes retail itself went bust in June 2011, blaming The Co-op for selling it some allegedly duff stores. Remaining are some bakery stores (trading as Bakery Products) and three plant bakeries.
  52. United Retail, the American operator of 433 Avenue plus-size stores applied for bankruptcy protection under US law in February, seeking relief from the high costs of its leases.
  53. Pumpkin Patch, the retailer of children’s clothes, has gone into administration. It has 36 stores in the UK with 400 staff. Five stores have already been closed with the loss of 60 jobs. The New Zealand-based company’s operations in other territories are unaffected.
  54. Peacocks, the fashion chain, has posted a notice of intent to appoint an administrator covering the Peacocks chain and BonMarche. There are 550 stores and 9,600 employees. BonMarche was subsequently sold for £10mn to Sun European Partners, although 160 stores will close and 1,400 jobs lost.
  55. La Senza, the lingerie retailer with 146 stores, announced at the end of December 2011 that it planned to enter administration in early Jan 2012 as part of a KPMG-planned company rescue. There are 2,600 employees.
  56. Past Times, the modern antique-based business selling retro Wm Morris, Pre-raphelite etc. merchandise also announced it planned to go into administration, probably in week 2 of Jan 2012. There are 100 stores and perhaps 1000 employees. It previously went bust in 2005 and was acquired by Epic Private Equity. In 2010 it turned over £45 mn, but made losses of £1.5 mn. Epic also owns Whittards, the tea company, which is doing OK and is not affected by Past Times’ problems. Whittards is still separate although originally there was talk of running the stores together.
  57. Blacks Leisure, the outdoor sports, camping and recreational stores, announced in December that after putting itself up for sale it had received no bids. The next stage is probably the sale of subsidiaries, although a new bidder may still emerge. However pre-pack administration is still likely to form part of the process. The company has announced that its equity shares have little or no value at present. There are 98 Blacks stores and 208 Milletts shops. There are 3,885 employees. building-budget-transparency

And to prove my point that our Chancellor is deluded about what is going on in our economy, by “our” I mean the non-millionaires that live in the UK and struggle to survive this imposed austerity (remembering ‘austerity’ didn’t exist economically before the Coalition took hold and strangled out economy), the following was apparent from his budget statement:George-Osborne1

  • 1p off a pint when everyday they spend tens of thousands on TV advertising specifically about reducing the consumption of alcohol;
  • His growth forecasts downgraded again. He is having to be ‘liberal’ to the extreme with the way he portrays his own statistics or we would officially be in a third dip recession. Now he predicts just 0.6% growth – in other words NO GROWTH!
  • He has literally failed all the targets he set for the performance of the economy and is borrowing more and more each year, yet he is steadfast (delusional) that this is the right course for the economy. If the economy was a ship he would be piloting us into the icebergs at full speed saying, “Yes this is definitely the right course!”
  • I didn’t miss the irony that on budget day the unemployment figures were up;
  • “Recovery is taking longer than anyone expected”. Yes, George it is as your strategy has drained all the money from the economy and there isn’t anyone wanting to risk investment – change course before you sink the ship for good;
  • And what’s this rubbish about taking on a “bloated welfare state”? Well it’s not bloated now you have drained it of its life blood, its meaning and purpose, victimised by negatively labelling anyone in receipt of benefits. It’s more anorexic than bloated after three years of Coalition destructiveness.
  • Public servants protest in central LondonBut yet the Government has more than enough for oversees aid which is about 1% of our spending – MILLIONS sent abroad, much of it squandered in bribes to overseas government officials. Yet our poor are taxed on having an empty room, our vulnerable and disabled are labelled as scroungers, our poorest are hit hardest time and time again. So it’s fine to send millions overseas to help other countries and their poor, vulnerable, disabled, etc.;
  • Yes there was help buying a new home, tax allowance went up to £10,000 and help with childcare costs (as long as you can wait to see if they are voted in again!), but you have to be in work to take advantage of it and there were no additional work incentives for the ailing work schemes. By ailing I mean only in England under this Government can you be more likely to get a job if you do not go on one of the Governments back to work schemes – ridiculous!;
  • Yes there was help for small businesses in the form of £2,000 level before paying NI, but where is the investment in growth, where is the investment to get companies moving again – not a word was said. 001

It is through small to medium size companies that we will see the growth to take us out of the recession and I suspect that they will do it despiteausterity-britain the Government, definitely not with the Government’s help. I know many business people and am in the process of looking for investment support for a range of products myself, and it is near impossible. Banks are not lending, investment funds are not investing, and the growth we need to see is nowhere to be found. It’s a commercial wasteland out there when looking for investment for growth. You can see the dust storms from all the decayed businesses, the tumble weed of confidence rolling past till it disappears, joining long term funding needed so badly. It is an arid commercial scene but businesses are wanting investment, are wanting to grow, expand, employ more people, but they look to the Government for the lead on this, and all they see is Osborne’s austerity ravishing the land and killing any confidence to take a chance. And the budget was not even the last chance saloon, the saloon was closed and boarded up – we are definitely on our own. 002

Yours

Jonathan Wade

Smiling Cat Ventures and Innovations Group

 

Including:

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Smiling Cat Ventures Ltd (www.smilingcatventures.org)

Innovative Minds @ Work Ltd (www.innovativemindsatwork.org)

Moments in Time Ltd (www.momentsinmind.org)

Innovative Business Consultancy Ltd (www.ibcv.org.uk)

Systems of Equality Ltd

Passport to Care Ltd (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)

Spiritual Inclusion (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)

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