Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Chart that tells the tale

You don't have to look far to see where it's all been going wrong.

This is a graphic showing the number of bed night stays in Torbay Borough per year for each year since 1990 when the Lib Dems first took control of Torbay.

The figures, obtained from the Town Hall, show a revealing ongoing and relentless decline exept for two years - 2001 and 2002, when the council was briefly in blue hands.

Now there have been very many, including -it has to be said many Conservatives; who spent the 1980's and early 1990's anticipating the end of UK tourism and diverting resources and effort away from our core industry. 'Diversification' was the name of the game and it was partly a promise of new jobs for local people that won the Lib dems enough support to win control again and again in the 1990's.

The problem is that in diverting resources away from hospitality and tourism the bay has been allowed to decline into decay. The short boost in 2001 shows that returning the focus back to keeping the streets clean and the flower beds blooming can have an instant effect.

I believe that residents have recognised that, even if UK tourism were in decline (and so far there is no evidence to support this -UK tourism numbers are up and the number of people coming to Devon is at a record high) our best hope is to grab a bigger slice of that market, not give up on it and try something else.

The very thing that makes our location perfect for visitors and tourists also makes our location poor for manufacturers and distributers.

I advise and consult with hundreds of larger manufacturing and distribution businesses and none of them would choose a location on the coast because 1) It's the furthest point from most customers and 2) half the catchment for both staff and customers is sea. To put it bluntly, the only way to compensate for the unavoidable drawbacks of our location is either very big grants or very low pay.

If we return some of the glamour and quality to the Torbay experience we can thrive as a location for the millions of visitors coming to the South West; and we can continue to be an attractive location for people to retire to; that in turn supports the shops and small businesses that make up the local economy and provide jobs and prosperity.


HG 1951 said...

An interesting analysis - but if you're a leftie you like grants and helps to avoid doing an honest days work!

Anonymous said...

The bay has been in decline for a lot longer than just since 1990; the rot set in decades ago in the Thatcher years.

Who goes to the seaside these days? It's obvious the place can't go on relying on low paying tourists and old people.

liberal left said...

Not to Marcus it isn't.... he thinks low paid tourist jobs are all we can aspire to.

And since 1990 the Tories have controlled the council from 2000 - 2003 and from October 2005 to date.

This makes their stop the rot slogan utter nonsense. The 2000 regime was rated as 'poor' and does anyone think Nick Bye's regime is better ? So far we've had the nonsense of the casino bid, the bus pass fiasco (and decision taken without consultation ala the casino proposal), the desire to sell off our heritage (Oldway / The Pavilion) and ignoring 7,000+ signatures in 'privatising' St. Kilda's and closing Dunboyne Care Homes.

I saw a Tory poster boasting of their achievements since they came to power in 10/05 but this was followed by the ominous warning about what they could achieve in four years if given absolute control of the council. Just imagine indeed.

Don't give them the chance !

Angry business owner said...

The tories have NOT been in control of the council since 2005; as you well know.

The mayor has the ability to propose things but they have to be passed by the Council.

The council -and with it all the committee's and scrutiny panels are still totally dominated by the Lib Dems.

You are right that the Tories had control in 200-2003, - look at the chart; that was the only period that the economy grew.

And as for 'low paid tourist jobs' - they are better than 'no pay unemployment' which is all the the Lib Dems have had on offer.

As it happens there is a major shortage of labour everywhere in Torbay, whether the high paid or low paid. Tourist jobs such as qualified chefs, managers and senior hospitalty jobs; mechanics, plumbers and builders are all being advertised miles away to attract people into the bay because ther arent the applicants locally.

We've got 3000 polish migrants working on the 'low paid' tourist jobs in the bay- and 2,500 'local people' who prefer to claim the dole.

Marcus Wood said...

Liberal Left; I'm afraid the rather glib accusation that Tourism jobs are low paid ignores the evidence.

If Torbay succeeds there is no reason why work in tourism should be any more 'low paid' than any other industry.

Currently the most guilty 'industry' for low pay is the public services and especially local authorities.

Low pay nearly always results from low skills; and the best way of improving pay is to improve the motivation and skills of local people so that they can take higher earning jobs - either in tourism or something else.

Your party has done nothing to encourage any improvements in the local economy; all you do is complain about the successful like Peter De Savery and try and stop any new development you didn't think of.