The whole thing wasted far too much time and no real effort was made to do anything about it – I just got passed from Halfords to the parking contractor and back again. I think they only dropped it because I didn’t let them bully me into paying it and they would have been laughed out of court. So, no fine, but still nothing good to say about them either.On another note, I’m pleased Network Rail and the RMT union resumed talks in an effort to make progress on their dispute over job cuts and safety. It’s one thing for BA workers to strike (after all, there are alternative airlines to use) but if the rail workers don’t keep the tracks in order, no train network can use them. Network Rail’s services are vital to the UK’s business community. Industrial dispute needs to be resolved immediately. After the volcanic ash cloud drama, we could do without any further disruptions right now. The “new” political party that takes control of the country tomorrow certainly won’t want to deal with the negative PR that comes with the ongoing strikes. On a more positive note, I was delighted to see that Nissan decided to build its electric vehicles in Sunderland. Not only is this a big boost for the UK in general, it is vital for the economic health of the north east of England, which has suffered badly from redundancies during the recession. Corus steel in Redcar certainly would have benefited from some level of government subsidy, if only as a way of gradually closing the plant rather than putting so many people out of work at once. Indeed, government agencies must take a more aggressive lead in their support for business projects. I recently approached a regional development agency (which shall remain nameless) with a project that would have created jobs within the manufacturing sector, using otherwise empty facilities. The agency was initially enthusiastic in its support but it soon became clear that any financial support for the project could only be discussed once a certain percentage of the funding was in place from the private sector. Yet we also had to prove that, without their financial package, the project couldn’t go ahead. Is it just me or is this making things hard for the sake of it? All we needed was an offer in principal of support from the agency, subject to certain criteria. This would have helped us gain further support – and it would be up and running by now. Instead, it is shelved, largely in frustration at the economically retarded policies of the development agency. I wonder what it will take to give these agencies a wakeup call? I would have thought the dire financial situation within the UK would have done the job. Obviously not.
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