Every so often a cold blast of economic reality is allowed to blow through the local recession-deniers; their blithe insistence that Merseyside can somehow escape a global slump would be humorous were it not for the fact that these individuals are in a position to shape or change local opinion.
An unwelcome reminder of reality arrives in the form of a report by the Local Data Company (LDC) (http://www.localdatacompany.com/storage/LDC-Mid-Year-Report-2009-mh.pdf ) which the Daily Post repeats pretty much verbatim, giving the lie to those who still contend that Oldham Hall Street doesn't just publish press releases.
That said, the report finds that one-fifth of the city's retail spaces are lying idle (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2009/07/31/liverpool-among-worst-cities-for-empty-shops-92534-24282569/ ), bleakly noting:
"Empty shops have a corrosive effect upon the confidence of any area -- and their numbers are growing.
The spin the Post puts on the LDC report is pretty pathetic. It claims the report says that recovery is "on the way". It goes on to trill:
"[LDC] said official figures showing an increase in sales volume of 2.9% in June compared to the previous year was 'way above expectations and could set the scene for a stronger than expected second half of the year.' "
However (& let's face it, there's always a "however" with these things, isn't there?), the second paragraph of the LDC's comment puts matters firmly back in perspective. So let's welcome back our old friend, However:
" ' However, this has to be balanced against continued rises in unemployment and therefore less spending power overall,' LDC said."
Anyway, back to the approved hymn sheet. Altogether now (to the tune of "Yellow Submarine"), "We're in denial of the slump that's here today, slump that's here today, slump that's here today....".