Spain bailout signals end of UK recovery

Posted by Anthony Page

Eurozone's Spanish bank bailout will hinder our recovery and force older people to rethink how they fund their retirement

Spain Euro bailoutIt was announced on Sunday – to sighs of relief – that Spain had secured the most astonishing sum of 100billion Euros as a bail out for its banks. All the world bankers (is that how you spell it these days?)  enjoyed their breakfasts, European politicians patted each other on the back and the money traders rubbed  their hands with glee as they scooped up the vast profits they have made by betting against Spain and pushing down the Euro over the past few weeks. Their profits will now come from the ‘bounce back’ and we saw this happen when the markets opened in the Far East this morning

The only people not rubbing their hands are David Cameron and George Osborne – they see this as just another temporary ‘fix’ by the Eurozone nations. What they both want is a bold political solution that brings together the EU countries in some form of federalism – this would put the full weight of all the countries and their economies behind the Euro. Will this happen? Maybe but it will take years to put into effect and until then we are going to stumble along from crisis to crisis. 

Spain got into this mess through simple greed! Its banks fuelled a totally unreal property boom based on assets values that were more in their minds than in the bricks and mortar. This wasn’t just commercial property, it was residential as well and those very same banks now have 600,000 properties they can’t sell – even at knock down prices.

George Osborne, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, made the point that while there is this uncertainty in Europe, recovery prospects in the UK will be damaged. This may be true if UK bosses just sit back and wait for the good days to return. They shouldn’t – they should (as Norman Tebbit advised) get on their bikes and go out and sell our products and services to the rest of the world. 

In a week or so, Greece goes to the polls again and that outcome will decide whether or not they stay in the Euro. Whatever the result, the money markets will create another mini crisis for the world leaders to handle and for them to profit from. 

How long is it going to be before we see real economic recovery work its way down to the great British public? Sadly, I think it’s going to be another five years of grind for most of us. For Mr and Mrs Average it’s going to be a long haul. When all this started in 2008, I rashly predicted the severity of this would take us a decade to recover from – and I was right.

For any of you who are retired or semi-retired and feeling the pinch now, maybe you should start thinking about rejoining the work force. I know there are 2.7million unemployed in the UK looking for jobs, but you don’t necessarily have to get a job! 

Think about the experience you have gained throughout your working life. Be smarter and use those hard earned skills (by yourself or with others) to generate a small, but useful income to supplement what you already have. For example, many older people enjoy gardening; we are competent, understand how to manage plants through the seasons and take pride in our work. If you clubbed together with like-minded friends, you could form a ‘gardening club’ and offer your services to neighbours who find the garden a bit of a burden these days or those whose green-fingered forays produce less than satisfactory results. Three or four people working together could do whole days work in someone’s garden in a few hours; have some fun and companionship and make a few quid on the side. 

You could apply the same idea to all manner of services and trades and get a real buzz from doing it. I for one would welcome help on the things I’m useless at – plumbing, electrics, gardening and would welcome older workers helping me out. The upside to the customer is you are dealing with someone of your own generation and generally people who are more reliable and trustworthy. I think this idea could really catch on. Anyone out there want to start it off with our help?

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