The Economic Recession is back for another round following elections, so it seems a thank you to our new Government is in order.
Last week official figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that the UK economy contracted at a rate of 0.2 per cent in Q1 2012. A 0.2 per cent contraction in Q4 2011 means the UK is now back in recession for the second time in three years. This feat hasn’t been accomplished since 1970 and so I believe a thank-you note is appropriate, addressed to our banks and our friends on Downing Street, without which we would not have this special opportunity:
Following the Chancellor’s budget in March and the recession a couple of years ago, it was quite unexpected to have the ONS confirm that there is yet another recession in store for us. I would therefore, like to begin by saying: bravo. I have taken the liberty to write to you on behalf of the British public and businesses, to thank you in advance for the many benefits this recession will bring.
Firstly, the 2.65 million who are unemployed would like to thank you for providing them with longer queues at the Job Centre and the opportunity to continue watching stimulating day-time T.V. shows such as ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’ and ‘Cbeebies.’
The second message comes from those who are about to be laid off. They have asked me to express their gratitude at finally being able to spend time finally finishing that ever-growing to-do list they drew up months ago, yet never got round to starting. What’s more, they can now have more ‘family time,’ something that they never got enough of before. In May 2010, BBC News reported on a survey which suggested that, on average, parents typically spend “49 minutes” a day with their children. Such ‘quality time’ wouldn’t even get them through a ‘family’ night in front of the TV watching an episode of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. In light of the job cuts, they will now take pleasure in viewing the talent show through to the end, and seeing Ant and Dec reminding us to vote on our favourite act of the night. Because we all love Ant and Dec.
Without being able to pay our rent or mortgages, we can take full advantage of the Government’s housing benefit scheme, which we hear offers five-star accommodation. But don’t worry about our heating and water supplies, global warming will keep us warm and the British weather will provide us with all the water we need despite an on-going drought. Thank you also for cutting the cost and time spent on our weekly grocery run. It will now take no longer than five minutes and cost no more than a basket of 99p gourmet ready-made meals from the local discount supermarket. Additionally, this will help us lose a few extra pounds before summer so we can fit into our swim-shorts and bikinis, ready to jet-off to Southend beach. Our painful nights-out dining at restaurants will become nights-in, enjoying the pleasures of at-home entertainment. If we are anything like consumers in the US, this won’t be Dominos and a movie. During Q1 2009, in the US, sales reports showed that condom sales increased by 6 per cent. Jim Daniels, vice-president of marketing for Trojan, the US condom manufacturer, offered one explanation. He said that condoms give “real affordable ways to stay in and make some great memories together”. (Personally, I believe that the increase in sales was more than likely attributed to the high cost of raising a child. According to insurance company Liverpool Victoria, the cost averages at £9000 per year in food, clothing and education related expenses.)
Thirdly, some businesses wish to add their appreciation. With more consumers shopping at discount supermarkets, revenue, and potentially, profits, at these stores may increase if the previous recession is anything to go by. In fact, in Q3 2011, Aldi, the German supermarket chain, reported a profit of £18.7 million compared to a loss of £21.2 million in 2009. Discount supermarkets aren’t the only businesses to experience better revenue figures. The ‘Primarni’ clothing brand is set to prosper. In the sixteen weeks to 7 January 2012, Primark reported a 16 per cent increase in sales. It expects to continue this momentum throughout 2012.
Finally, I must not forget those who are coming up to retirement. They have asked me to express a special thank you. According to a survey conducted in 2009, 43 per cent of over-50s planned to move away when they reach retirement. However, if there is a repeat of 2009, when The Telegraph reported that £10,000 was wiped off the value of the average household’s pension in that year alone, then they would be spared the stress associated with moving. In fact, some would be more than happy to stay on at work, and enjoy a few more years of being waking up to that prospect. Others are quite happy to live off the state pension you provide. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, a state pension estimated at £124 per week on average for 2012-2013. This is a £6 increase on last year, in keeping with your promise, Mr Cameron to “protect us”.
I would like to finish by saying we look forward to the many more years of happiness we can expect from your Government and your precious banks.
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