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Recession: enough now, please!

Suppos’d as forfeit to a confin’d doom
The mortal moon her eclipse endur’d
And the sad agurs mock their own presage

I hate this recession.

This stinking, bloody, shitty recession.

We had the first one, then we had the dreaded double dip, now there are whispers, quiet ones, but whispers nevertheless, of a triple-dip.

Tweeted this morning by the CPA’s Noble Francis were the latest ONS figures . They do not make for comfortable reading over tea and toast.

  • Construction repair & maintenance output in January at 3.4% lower than December & 3.7% lower than a year earlier.
  • Commercial output for January was 0.7% lower than in December & 7.4% lower than a year earlier.
  • Industrial output for January 15.4% lower than in December & 0.9% lower than a year earlier.
  • Infrastructure output for January 5.5% lower than in December but 0.3% higher than a year earlier.
  • Private housing output for January 14.0% lower than in December & 9.9% lower than a year earlier.
  • Public housing output for January 21.7% lower than in December & 28.7% lower than a year earlier.
  • Total output 6.3% lower than in December & 7.9% lower than a year earlier.

    But the worst thing about this horrible recession – that, let’s face it wasn’t of our making – is what it’s doing to the landscape of our industry.

    Writing about Thompsons going into administration – on both the plumbers merchant and the heavyside businesses – is a part of this job that I hate.

    Since the collapse of Lehmann Bothers (and man, doesn’t that seem an eon away?) I’ve had to write about the demise of Long & Somerville, WT Burdens and now Thompsons.

    It’s awful for the employees, the suppliers and the families who work so hard for the business.

    If someone like Anne Ganley, who puts so much of herself into everything that she does, has come to this – thanks to cashflow issues, the trading environment and HMRC – then the rest of us must be wondering who is next.

    How many independent builders merchant are looking at this story and thinking ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I?’

    Maybe the smallest comfort we can take from this is that one of the odd things about a recession is that you lose more businesses on the way out than you do going into recession. Strange but true (although when you delve deeper into the issue, it makes more sense).

    Maybe, just maybe, we are edging out of this.

    Because God help us if we’re not.

  • About Fiona Russell-Horne

    Fiona Russell-Horne
    Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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