Martin's Mailbox: How does it feel?

Martin's Mailbox: How does it feel?


As many press commentators have told us, last Thursday’s third quarter GDP growth figures mean we are officially ‘out of recession’. The economy bounced back by one per cent compared with the second quarter, due in no small measure to the Olympics, so the experts tell us. This rationale gives credence to the view that the second quarter fall was due to the extra Bank Holiday – hmmm…

Both of the above may well have had an effect, but it seems strange to me that they are cited as the deciding factor as to whether we are ‘in recession’ or ‘out of recession’. With all the political, social and even psychological effects that this has on the way a company plans for the future as well as influencing the public’s approach to spending and saving. I can’t help but have the same feeling I had when we were told that we were ‘in a drought’ throughout the wettest summer in living memory – until that is, we were told that we’re ‘no longer in drought’, officially, of course.

I place far more faith in people’s sentiment, and to quote the Bob Dylan lyric ‘How does it feel?’, when it comes to gauging where UK plc actually is. For starters, the High Street feels more buoyant and there seems to be a stronger sense of opportunity out there and this is borne out by the recent fall unemployment, which is encouraging, along with more robust retail sales figures. This is undoubtedly a positive, however, ongoing bank inertia will continue to limit the growth prospects for SME’s and there is a prevailing feeling of uncertainty globally. The softening growth in China and emerging market economies surely have to temper our expectations. It does seem to me that commentators, politicians and we, the public, need to accept that there will be a low growth environment for some time to come and to adapt our aspirations accordingly. 

Some growth is better than none, and no matter what Ed Balls might say, pre-2007 growth figures are just not possible and won’t be for some time. We will all hear more of the phrase ‘now is the new normal’ in the months ahead, but maybe not from certain politicians.

On a different theme, it was good to see so many people at the AOBP’s AGM 2012 at Millbank Tower last Thursday morning. The view from the 29th Floor was, well… cloudy, but it was an informative and worthwhile gathering. The organisation will undoubtedly continue to grow both in terms of membership and influence as bridging wins more converts throughout the broker market. Like all trade bodies, it will be as effective as its members want it to be but I for one, applaud its efforts to raise standards, educate and promote a constructive dialogue between brokers and lenders as well as surveyors and solicitors – keep up the good work.


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