Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Head On!

In an acquisitive society like ours, the need of material things seems to never satisfy, it could be the a craving or just the way we are conditioned to want the goods that make life in the 21st centenary, mobile telephone, computer, wide screen TV and so on. This probably explains why we have so much personal debt in Britain, we racked up so much debt on loans and credit cards that the total borrowed now exceeds the entire value of the economy, new research has shown. 60 million people owe more to the banks than the value of everything made by every office and factory in the country. It prompted a warning that personal borrowing was so out of control that many more people would be pushed over the "financial edge". The runaway housing market was the biggest reason why consumer debt has spiralled, totalling £1.131trn. Debt on personal loans and credit cards totals £214bn. Overall, individuals owe the staggering sum of £1,344,721,000,000.

So doubtlessly it doesn't take a rocket scientist or an Albert Einstein to tell us that in a recession people are going to feel the pinch, add to that what may seem to some a shear desperation just to survive to provide for you family's needs, and then you can imagine that some of us may turn to other ways of bringing home the bacon.

The way this recession impacts and the response of the powers that be, hold no surprises. A cabinet minister has already said she was fearful of another wave of riots like those in Brixton, Birmingham and Liverpool nearly 30 years ago. Miss Blears, the Communities Secretary, said that more money was needed (she'll know all about that) to be ploughed into local projects to ensure the flashpoints that symbolised a part of the early 1980s were not repeated. Miss Blears said: "Economic recession has the power to do one of two things to a society. It can either drive people apart, with an increase in distrust between individuals, more naked competition for jobs, a fracturing of community spirit.

"We witnessed this in the Eighties and early Nineties, and at its most extreme, it culminated in cars and buildings burning on the streets of Brixton, Birmingham and Liverpool. In some wards in my own city of Salford, we had 50 per cent male unemployment, and it has taken a decade to repair the damage." And then just a few day's ago; speaking at the Morning Star Investment Conference in London Richard Buxton – head of UK equities at Schroders - stated he expected stock markets to hold up through 2010 if economic growth held at zero per cent as fears of a multi-year contraction have now passed to "just a very unpleasant" recession.

However, the real economy could face difficulties.

"There could be more social tension and even riots with the grim economic environment," he said. "But that is not stopping me saying the stock market will go up.

"Good companies will generate profits but many will struggle."

What to expect is anybody's guess, but the Police Federation of England and Wales say an extra 2,000 police officers are required over the next three years if police chiefs want to maintain the current frontline service. Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said research found the number of police officers per 100,000 people is falling. He said police officer numbers increased or were maintained during previous recessions in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr McKeever said: "With crime rates set to increase as the recession deepens, politicians of all parties need to sit up and take notice of this Police Federation research which clearly shows that the resilience of the service will be damaged unless police officer strength is increased over the next three years.

"We must not lose sight that we will also be policing the biggest sporting event this country has handled in 2012, when the Olympics comes to the UK.

"How we are expected to deal with the demands this will place upon the service, in addition to the increasing property crime rates with fewer officers per head of the population, is beyond me. My real fear is that the level of service and protection we will be able to afford the public will be severely affected unless action to address this is taken now."

He was speaking on the opening day of the Police Federation's annual conference in Bournemouth.Policing Minister Vernon Coaker said the Government is determined to tackle the issues raised by the Police Federation "head on".

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