Wheying up the cost of more local jobs(January 15, 2009)
PEOPLE walking past Woolworths in Warminster are reminded by photographs in the shop windows of the human face of job losses that are being caused by the worst economic downturn in decades, writes Paul Macdonald.
National politicians bicker over the answer to the looming mass unemployment and any measures they take will probably not be aimed at rural towns in the west of Englang where the government does not even bother to run jobcentres.
The trouble with not having a jobcentre is that when there was one the staff there were judged on their ability to reduce the number on the unemployment register each month.
This concentrated the focus on Warminster staff helping Warminster urban and rural workers back into jobs.
Now local people end up in a general pool of the unemployed across the district and it is much more difficult for them financially to take up employment in Trowbridge or Frome competing against the jobless living in those towns.
In the medium to long term Morrisons may extend their supermarket, Dents may move to the outskirts of town allowing someone like Waitrose in, and the new owners of the Three Horseshoes Mall may invest in improving it.
Many would agree that new jobs are needed now but where will the spark to ignite the emploment engine come from is the thought in many people's minds?
To set the ball rolling visionforwarminster.co.uk popped into Planks Dairy in Woodcock Road and asked them how many extra customers would help to create a job.
"There used to be 14 rounds," said Keith Moyes. "And that was just in town. Its now a quarter of what it used to be."
A quick look at what the milkman carries on their milk float shows that for less than ten pounds a week a household of four could have a pint of full cream milk, a pint of semi-skimmed milk, a half dozen eggs (and a pot of double cream on Saturday) delivered fresh every day in time for breakfast.
"I think Mr. Plank would say 500 extra customers then we would consider employing an extra roundsman," said Mr. Moyes. "It would certainly safeguard the jobs here."
The challenge is there for the town to take up. Wait for the politicians to come up with the answer or we all act ourselves.
visionforwarminster.co.uk is happy to take more suggestions of how one or two jobs at a time the town can pull together to create work.
There's also another factor to consider, added Steve Dancey.
"I also think milk tastes better from the bottle as I'm sure it hasn't been subjected to as much heat treatment as that sold in the supermarkets," added Steve.
"Having milk delivered may be a little more expensive per pint but you cut back on unnecessary trips to the shops and avoid impulse buying."