By Ruth Hazard and Kayleigh Rose Lewis
Families in Sussex have already started to curb their Christmas spending in response to warnings that the beginning of 2012 could be hit by a second recession.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons by Alan Denney
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have forecasted negative growth in the UK economy next year after debt crisis in the Eurozone has struggled to be contained.
A poll published by ComRes last week showed 59% of respondents were already cutting back on spending and 73% were worried that another recession would have a severe impact on them and their families.
Frazer Ward, 18, of Bexhill, said: “I won’t be spending as much as usual this Christmas.
“There won’t be any money for luxuries, we can’t even consider a holiday next year with things the way they are.
“I worry about a second recession; my family will have to start to cut back on essentials such as food and heating.”
The effects of a ‘double dip’ could be particularly disastrous in Sussex where the economy relies on the tourist trade to support local hotels, restaurant and entertainment venues.
Christian Cotton, Manager at Terre à Terre restaurant in Brighton, said: “Everyone’s worried about the recession and we’ve had to work a lot harder.
“The public are spending less so we’ve had to attract more people to make the same money.”
The housing market was another casualty of the initial recession but was showing signs of recovery in 2010 with year-on-year growth of 6.4% as the Federal Reserve kept mortgage rates low.
The news of a ‘double dip’ is set to threaten this progress with the Bank of England predicting the percentage of Britons living in their own homes is likely to fall to just over half.
Job insecurity is also a big concern in Sussex.
Employment figures in the area have never recovered from the first wave of economic trouble with a total of 7,760 18- 24-year-olds claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance in Sussex in October – compared with 6,955 a year ago.
Rather than being a problem confined to graduates and young people starting out in their careers, this second recession could see the situation affecting workers at all stages of their careers.
Duncan Latimer, 30, who works for Harrison’s Catering said: “I’ve seen the effects of the recession first hand.
“Ten of my friends and family used to work at the Brighton based European office for IT company NCsoft and they all lost their jobs when it closed recently.
“Many still haven’t got jobs now, even though they’re well qualified in IT.”
Even Christmas and temporary jobs in supermarkets are increasingly hard to find because employers are taking on unpaid work experience students instead.
Alice Parrot, 27, of City Jobs at City College Brighton and Hove said: “I worry about my job because I am on a contract so if we did have a double dip recession then I would be among the first to go.
“It’s a big problem in a city like Brighton as there are so many well qualified people going for normal jobs that the competition is really strong in most jobs these days.”
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said of the situation in Sussex: “There is no point beating about the bush, this is another bad set of figures.”