Thursday 14 December 2017

Ivan Yates: Property prices rise, new jobs are on way and yet shackles of austerity are still tight as ever

An animation of the vision of Minister Michael Noonan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to have full employment by 2020
An animation of the vision of Minister Michael Noonan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to have full employment by 2020
Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

The most important characteristic for a politician is to listen. Not only to hear what's said, but to absorb. I am continually confounded by credibility gaps between endemic statistical analysis and individual anecdotes about the real state of the economy.

I know that: 58,000 new jobs have been created in the past year; unemployment is reduced from 15 to 12pc; property prices have risen by 6pc; Exchequer returns show tax revenues are up on last year. Yet on Main Street, I'm listening to a different story.

Over the past week, here's what I've randomly heard: well-established jeweller says he's having "the worst trading in 30 years of an established business"; pharmacist is suffering worst decline than at any time in the recession due to the impact of generic drugs and reference pricing; a travel agent tells of "a disastrous summer due to the good weather at home and holidaymakers booking directly themselves"; advertising executives having a horrendous December; a sportswear retailer enduring an appaling November -- blaming the local property tax. Their initial reaction is of fear that it's just their ship that is not benefiting from the rising tide, pointing towards internal blame.

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