Monday, 11 January 2010

You're making it up!

According to the Federation of Small Businesses the heavy snowfall of Wednesday last week and the resulting transport chaos which encouraged about half of the population, on the advice of the major motoring organisations, to not even attempt to go into work, will cost the UK economy approximately £1.2 billion (apparently that is a cautious estimate and the actual cost could be higher).

This is a staggering amount of money, but how did they come up with that figure? For that matter when we have a bank holiday how does the CBI come up with its traditional astronomical sum for how much it costs UK plc. No basis for these calculations is ever given, the numbers just seem to appear out of thin air and are greedily gobbled up by a media which loves nothing more than to wallow in negativity. We're all doomed!

It is tempting to go along with this until you hear actual stories from the frontline. Justin King, CEO of Sainsbury's reported on BBC Breakfast News last week that all his delivery trucks made their drops on Wednesday despite the snow and all his stores were open. Every client I called had either made it into work or was dilligently working from home, quite capable of carrying on with their home computers and mobile phones.

Of course some businesses will have suffered, many retailers have had a difficult time with the cold weather and leisure attractions have also been hit hard. But, I can't help feeling that the publication of these apocalyptic numbers is reaching its sell-by date, not least because it does nothing for business confidence.

As a New Year's resolution I choose to close my ears to this rubbish from now on.


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