Town will ride economic storm - MP

IPSWICH'S MP has today moved to reassure residents that the town is in good position to weather the current economic storm amid fears of a global recession.

IPSWICH'S MP has today moved to reassure residents that the town is in good position to weather the current economic storm amid fears of a global recession.

Despite bank chiefs yesterday opting to cut interest rates to 5.25 per cent in a bid to ease financial pressures on households, there continues to be widespread concern about what the next few years hold for the UK economy.

As a fast-growing town with ongoing large developments such as Regatta Quay, Cranfield Mills and the former Compair Reavell site, Ipswich is potentially more susceptible than most to changes in the economy or housing markets.

It is conceivable that recession, which would likely bring with it higher unemployment and tumbling house prices, could see hundreds of homes, currently being built, left empty.

Meanwhile plans to transform the area between the Waterfront and Ipswich town centre could be put on hold if economic waters get increasingly choppy.

In a poll conducted by The Evening Star 41.78 per cent of people said they are “very worried” about the current economic situation with 33.79pc saying they may have to start watching their spending although 24.43pc revealed they are “not worried at all”.

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Ipswich MP Chris Mole said he is personally upbeat about prospects for the UK economy and feels Ipswich will not suffer even if things do get a bit more difficult.

Specifically he said he feels Ipswich's rapid transformation is underpinned by a strong demand for housing that will not evaporate instantly.

He said: “Demand brought developers to Ipswich Waterfront and that is not going to go away overnight.

“The continuing demand for housing is such that I'm reasonably confident that the demand will shuffle through the market and there will be buyers.

“I don't see any national evidence as to why that will change or why Ipswich wouldn't continue to be in that radius of interest that comes out from London.

“While there have been swings in house prices over the years, we haven't had negative price inflation on houses since 1996.

“We might get some differences in particular segments of the market such as buy to let and would expect some market adjustment over some period of time.

“Globally there is economic turbulence but actually in that context the UK economy is doing relatively well.

“Figures suggest there was growth last year and employment remains high while inflation remains low.

“The economy is not entirely immune from what's happening in the US but is more isolated from it than in the 1990s.”

Mr Mole added that it is beneficial for people to be prudent with their finances although there is no need to panic just yet.

He said: “I would say that everyone at all times should be careful to ensure that if they are going to be spending, whether it be on credit cards or other ways, that they are sure they have the means to repay that one way or the other.

“But I don't think there's any particular cause for concern at this stage.”

Is Ipswich prepared for a recession? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk