‘Recession will last, but we can handle it’

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DACORUM businesses are coping comparatively well with the global recession, commerce leaders have claimed.

Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King has warned the slump could last until 2015.

South West Herts MP and Treasury minister David Gauke said: “The economy was hit harder by the financial crisis in 2008 than anybody realised, and we are continuing to feel the impact of that.

“Berkhamsted and Tring have done better than many places in the country.

“I think to some extent Berkhamsted and Tring have shown themselves to be resilient towns that have continued to grow – and lots of people want to move there.”

Eamonn Borg-Neal, assistant manager for The Kings Arms in Berkhamsted, said his dad Peter sold the family home to launch The Akeman pub in Tring in 2007. That was after the recession started.

Since then, Peter has opened five pubs, including The Kings Arms in 2010 and The Red Lion in Water End in 2009.

Eamonn said: “Of course there’s less money around in a recession – but there is still money around. You have just got to continue doing what you are doing and make it good for the consumer.”

Yolanda Rugg, commercial director for Herts Chamber of Commerce, said the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations damaged retailers as they distracted people from shopping.

But she praised new firms moving into Hemel Hempstead’s Maylands Industrial Estate and the pound shops that have moved into empty units in its town centre.

She said: “What we have found is these are the shops that are going to survive as consumers are starting to trade down from more mid-market shops.

“They have managed to sustain themselves over a longer period. They provide employment and are more positive than just having an empty shop there.”