In My View: We are all up to the test
Published 09:25 on 9 Dec 2021
The Omicron variant is the latest twist in the pandemic saga and has put the "return to normal" on hold and instantly had a detrimental effect upon the stock markets. Inflation is above predicted levels and the BBC report that a typical family of two adults and two children will need to spend an additional £1,700 per annum on basic household goods. Clearly, this is a challenging business environment but there are signs that all is not doom and gloom.
One of the challenges facing businesses is the difficulty recruiting workers but that, in turn, suggests that there are plenty of job opportunities available which must be a good thing. Whilst there are rising oil and gas prices, it is reported that the shops, particularly the larger retail outlets, are doing their best to absorb increased costs in order to keep their prices down at least through the Christmas period. I sense that there is a determination amongst the general public to have as good a Christmas as possible and whenever I am in Chichester, the shops always seem busy which is encouraging. At the Chamber of Commerce, I have been struck by the determination and resilience of our members in the face of adversity and that will undoubtedly go a long way to seeing us through this most uncertain period.
It is highly likely that there will be further variants and we will have to learn to live with this virus and all do our bit to protect ourselves and others and support the business community, which is doing so much to keep the Chichester district a busy and successful place to be.
There are always positives as well as negatives, and once again the housing market is reportedly 'buoyant'. Furthermore, in times of difficulty, innovation always seems to come to the fore and a recent example that I noticed was, as more banks close their ATMs, there is a new scheme being piloted to allow some shops to give cash back to customers without the necessity of a purchase. We will have to change some of our ways of doing things but I am very confident that, in time, we can adapt and not only survive, but thrive.
Author: Stephen Ireland, Irwin Mitchell, Director of the Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Last updated 09:25 on 9 December 2021