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Local Councils and Businesses Battle the Recession in Herts

Submitted on Tue, 25/08/2009 - 4:12pm

Retail Week reported in July that Hertford is the tenth most affected town centre from the recession. The empty shops in our streets make it hard to not notice the effects of the downturn in our county town.

Local people and councils are both fighting back to improve the economy in East Herts with varying degrees of success. The local paper, Hertfordshire Mercury, has been running the popular and successful Shop Local campaign. They have been advertising weekly the benefits of shopping in independent businesses.

The new Hertfordshire economic partnership, Hertfordshire Forward, have agreed a pledge of 20 key tasks that would enable the county to ride out the recession. Partners of Hertfordshire Forward include local authorities, Hertfordshire University and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

East Herts Council has taken several controversial steps to reduce the effects of the recession. You may have noticed that some of the windows of vacant shops in Hertford have recently been decorated. East Herts Council are currently working with artists, schools and community groups to brighten up the town centre. This scheme has undoubtedly left the town centre looking more cheerful.

The local press has reported this week the scandal revolving around East Herts District Council’s decision to relocate offices from Bishops Stortford to Hertford in order to save money. Recent reports from the local media suggest that the move will not save money, but will cost millions of pounds to the tax payer. Cllr Nigel Clark (Ind) accuses East Herts District Council of not evaluating their accounts correctly.

It’s fantastic to see local businesses, councils and the community all working together. But is the local council really doing enough to help Hertfordshire residents in a recession? It is unlikely that a few decorated windows in Hertford town centre will make a huge difference to the economy. We need bold innovative methods of riding out the recession.

We would really like your views on the economic downturn. Is local government doing enough to help the vulnerable? How could the local council help local businesses?

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Cllr Nigel Clark's Open Letter to East Herts District Council25 KB

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