Page last updated at 06:56 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 07:56 UK

Downturn snapshot: Day's events

What's the real impact of the economic slowdown? In a special day of coverage BBC News took the temperature across the UK.

By Jude Sheerin and Richard Anderson

1829 That's it for today. There's been a lot of bad news but as the contributor from Harrow below makes clear, the outlook's not all bleak by any means. Thanks for sharing all your out-of-money experiences and the rest.

e-mail sent in by reader
1825 "We are still very busy. Turnover is still rising. No plans to cut staff. Trades people locally are also busy. Our plumber can't come out until early December, our decorator can't fit us in until February. It's not all bad out there." "Snorestore", Harrow

e-mail sent in by reader
1807 "I was five years from retirement but now a 25% drop in my pension fund means I've worked the past three years for nothing. And I can't retire for another 10 years. To make matters worse, if the current climate continues, I can't see myself keeping my job." Bob from Kettering, Northamptonshire

1804 The downturn seems to have hit older people harder. Going by today's contributions, many people near to retirement age have seen their pension pots depleted by the ravages of the stock markets, while cash-strapped families saddled with big mortgages are also under pressure. But for many younger people it seems to be a case of: "Credit crunch, what credit crunch?"

1757 Iceland has asked the International Monetary Fund for $2bn (£1.3bn) in aid to help fix its broken banking system.

e-mail sent in by reader
1754 "Lost my job on the 25th of September. Have applied for everything and anything to earn money to pay the bills. So far nothing. The only good thing is my wife is still working, so at least we can afford to feed ourselves; however, the prospect of losing everything is causing a serious amount of stress. " Graham Taylor, Chelmsford

1752 The reason why the price of oil continued to fall despite the announcement by Opec to cut production by 1.5m barrels a day, explains Leo Drollas at the Centre for Global Energy Studies, is the market doubts the cartel is willing or able to make such drastic reductions. Weakening demand due to the global recession, he says, is a deeper problem that Opec can do nothing about.

e-mail sent in by reader
1746 "I run a mobile disco and entertainment business, we are busier now than in the past five years. We have also invested £5,000 on new equipment and expect to buy more shortly - so where's the reccession?" Mark, Wellington

1744 So, lots of anger from contributors at the madness of hyper-capitalism, the Godzilla-greed of the financial markets and rampant deregulation, but many of you aren't convinced we're all going to hell in a handcart. Let's hope this is all just an economic blip, generated by speculators and, it's a fair cop, the media.

1721 "October: This is one of the particularly dangerous months to invest in stocks. Other dangerous months are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February." - Mark Twain

e-mail sent in by reader
1708 "I work in property development... I've had to make many friends and colleagues redundant, which has been extremely stressful for all of us. Many friends in the industry have lost their jobs with extreme consequences." Roger, Stirling

1705 "I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty," said Groucho Marx. This bon mot will have a grim resonance for some people today.

1656 Europe's markets have closed down although traders recouped some earlier losses. The FTSE dropped 5%, so did Germany's Dax and France's Cac sank 3.5%. Things had looked nasty when the Dow Jones opened in freefall but it really seemed to have little effect on this side of the pond.

1645 "We're relying on sleeping bags, hot water bottles and sitting close together to try to keep warm at home," says vlogger Kim Pearsall, from Nottingham.

1637 Norwich Union is making 125 people redundant from its life insurance division at its head office in Norwich.

1624 Respected economist Robin Griffiths, of Cazenove Capital, reckons we're looking at a minimum six consecutive quarters of negative growth.

e-mail sent in by reader
1620 "The credit crunch has so far been a god send. If house prices keep falling for the next year or two then I might just about be able to afford to buy my own place. Too many people have been too greedy over the last decade or more and now they, and a lot of innocent people as well, are paying the price." Nick, Brent

1609 "When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now I am old I know that it is." Oscar Wilde

comment from blogger
1607 New York University professor Nuriel Roubini says his doomsday predictions that markets would have to be shut down amid panic-selling and a "catastrophic" meltdown are coming true. You can read more at Market Blog.

e-mail sent in by reader
1545 "I will be out of work in 3 weeks time with little prospect of employment, being 60 yrs of age. I was going to rely upon my savings to produce enough income for me to live on until I start getting the State pension. As interest rates fall I can see this budgeted income dwindling." H Davies, UK

1543 European markets are all still in the doldrums but have clawed back some early losses; the FTSE is now 6.5% down, Germany's Dax 7.2% and the Cac by 6.4%. The Dow Jones has sunk a bit further, to 4.9%, but not as big a fall as some had feared.

1535 And yet more job losses. This time it's textile firm Rosebys in Rotherham, making 144 people redundant and closing 24 stores. Some 400 people have now lost their jobs at the company since administrators arrived at the beginning of the month.

1529 "The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket." Frank Hubbard, US humourist

1528 Around 200 jobs are to go at the L'Oreal factory in Talbot Green, south Wales. The factory only employs 260 people, and may be sold to another French manufacturer. A L'Oreal spokeswoman claimed the decision was nowt to do with the downturn and blamed higher transport costs. Erm, surely these costs are part and parcel of the downturn?

1515 CEOs seem to have become very much the villains of this economic drama, going by some of your comments and remarks by politicians recently. As the legendary financier George Soros said: "You know, I was a human being before I became a businessman."

1510 An interesting vlog on the downturn from the UK and another couple from North America.

1453 Philip Shaw, economist at Investec Securities, suggests negative growth may force the Bank of England into another early rate cut: "Today's figures reinforce our call of a 50 basis point cut at the next scheduled meeting on 6 November, that is, if global central banks can wait that long."

e-mail sent in by reader
1449 "This can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy if we are not careful. My business has never been as busy as it is now, my husband's roofing business is booked up until Christmas and I have friends who say everything is ticking over." Nicki Brown, UK

e-mail sent in by reader
1445 "I lost my job at the beginning of August and despite all my efforts have yet to find another in my field. I have one more month I can survive for then I stand to lose my house etc." Akasha, UK

1444 Apparently, Karl Marx book sales have had a revival amid the downturn. John Kenneth Galbraith's classic "The Great Crash: 1929" is also reportedly selling well. I think it was Galbraith who said: "Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."

e-mail sent in by reader
1439 "My other half got phone call 9pm last night from his manager saying don't turn up for work today as the firm has gone into administration, nobody is getting their month's wages today. Has spent all morning looking for work, there is nothing out there. Contacted numerous agencies and Job Centre. We have no money whatsoever for food, heating bills or fuel for my car for me to travel to work next week. We also have an 8-year-old child. I am at my wits end and frightened of what's to come." Elouise, Hengoed

e-mail sent in by reader
1434 "My partner and I live in a cottage that has wood burning stoves & is heated by free off-cuts of wood from furniture factories & local fallen trees, and our 15-year-old cars run on waste cooking oil (and yes it is perfectly legal!) We also grow our own veg. Living like this, we are saving about £500 a month." Female taxpayer, Derbyshire

1432 Back to reality: New York's Dow Jones index opens and plummets more than 300 points within two minutes.

1428 At last some good news! Belfast aerospace company Bombardier announces it's recruiting 200 new workers, the first of 800 that will be joining the company to work on a new generation of jets. It also announces plans for a new multi-million pound 500,000 sq ft factory.

1424 Over the water, house prices in the Republic of Ireland fell for the 19th month-in-a-row in September. Worse still, they fell faster than they did in August - 1.1% compared with 0.9%.

e-mail sent in by reader
1423 "I am a black taxi driver in Glasgow and have felt the slow down. People ARE curbing their spending. My wife and I have recently been trying to save into an ISA but have had to stop the payments as my income has dropped and it makes things a bit tighter." Robert, Glasgow

1420 There's been lots of talk recently about the ideas of British economist John Maynard Keynes, so I thought I'd include a quote from him: "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the wickedest of men will do the wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."

1417 It would seem Fear is still stalking the benighted inhabitants of Moneyville. The FTSE has dropped 8.2%, Germany's Dax is down 8.9% and the French Cac 40 index has sunk 8.7%. Wall Street opens in a few minutes.

1410 Plans to regenerate Eastbourne town centre in East Sussex have been put on hold. BBC Southern Counties Radio understands the local council has failed to find a developer in the current climate.

e-mail sent in by reader
1405 "I think the best way to beat this is simply to ignore it and not to panic unnecessarily. Me and my boyfriend are in the process of buying our first house together. It's all been approved!" Nikki Ward, Cambridgeshire

1357 If, as some fear, we're heading for a re-run of the 1930s, then these words from John Steinbeck's Great Depression novel The Grapes of Wrath are perhaps worth adding: "The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it."

1353 US stock futures plunged in early morning trading, suggesting the main Dow Jones index could be in for a rocky ride when it opens at 1430 UK time.

1349 Chelmsford City chairman Peter Webb tells BBC Essex the downturn is having an impact on the football club. He says the team is having a good season but crowds would be even higher if people felt they could spend more.

1339 Oh how the other half live. Organisers of this weekend's boat fair at Levington in Suffolk say they're confident people will still buy. Prices for second-hand yachts in Britain have fallen by 10-15% over the last year - bringing them into line with the rest of Europe and actually increasing sales so far.

e-mail sent in by reader
1334 "I have heard today Opec intend to cut production... Oil has fallen 56% but prices at the pump down by 11%; not rocket science. We are in a recession because the fuel companies between them have taken all our cash." Ron, Gosport

1330 The economic slowdown has left a part of Northampton looking like the Wild West, according to local residents. Roger Kingston, from the Northampton Residents' Alliance, says building work in St Crispin has largely stopped with new homes half-finished.

e-mail sent in by reader
1329 "Yesterday I received the latest statement of my pension fund. In six months it has lost £57,000... I am too frightened to ask the value of my investment portfolio... I might have to review my pensioner status and go back to sea for work." Alan Stobbs, South Tyneside

1258 Yet another influential commentator calls for drastic rate cuts to prevent a deep recession. Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, says: "The GDP numbers are quite shocking and require an aggressive monetary response from the monetary policy committee... Consumers and companies need to understand the party is over and the hangover is about to begin."

1256 Life is tough too for gas-guzzling 4X4 owners. Glasgow car salesman Robert Reid has a three-litre BMW X5 for offer. It was sold last year for £19,000, but is on sale today for £11,995.

1253 With so many saying the age of easy credit is over, it puts one in mind of US comedian Bob Hope's quip: "A bank is a place that will lend you money - if you can prove you don't need it."

e-mail sent in by reader
1241 "I put my house [in Manchester] on the market last Christmas. It remained unsold until July when I accepted an offer £22k below the advertised price. I was fortunate indeed that the buyer did not attempt to gazunder. And then I moved to Stornoway!" John Fox, Leurbost, Isle of Lewis

1237 Interestingly, gold, the classic safe haven investment in times of financial uncertainty, is down over $20 an ounce, or 3%.

e-mail sent in by reader
1235 "I had been a temporary contractor for 18 months but my last contract finished five weeks ago and now find myself unemployed for the very first time in my life. Today, I have no choice but to take the degrading step of having to register for unemployment to seek benefits for the first time ever. We do not have a big mortgage but even so, I feel my house is now under serious threat of repossession." Blueray39, Cambridge

e-mail sent in by reader
1232 "Since my savings are wintering in Reykjavik and my investments have lost a lot of their value I'm materially affected. Mentally, I'm also affected by the general gloom in that I no longer feel that my job is safe." Edge Of Reason, St Albans

1229 An apocalyptic tone from Bank of England deputy governor Charles Bean, who says: "This is a once in a lifetime crisis, and possibly the largest financial crisis of its kind in human history."

e-mail sent in by reader
1221 "At least half of our savings are in shares as savings for the children's university and futures. Unfortunately the share price has dropped and it's not based on the true value of the companies but on speculation by 'rich kids'." Jennifer Wilson, Glasgow

1216 Another famous quote for you: "If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments" - Earl Wilson

1212 New house building in the Thames Gateway has virtually ground to a halt because of the downturn, BBC South East has learnt. This is a blow to government home-building targets in north Kent, where more than 52,000 properties are supposed to be built by 2026.

1208 Despite Opec's move to cut oil production, the price of light sweet crude oil falls to $63 a barrel, its lowest level since May 2007. Brent crude also falls to $61, its lowest since March 2007.

e-mail sent in by reader
1206 "So far I've had no effects from the downturn, my house is not for sale, my mortgage is less than 10K, with one year left to pay, my job is well-paid... We went through this before in the 80s and came out somewhat poorer, but still smiling!" Mervyn Hoare, Leamington Spa

1204 Another upside of the downturn will be a rapid fall in inflation, says the Confederation of British Industry. CBI director general Richard Lambert adds: "Any plans that add to the cost of employment must be delayed to protect jobs."

1157 A Suffolk conveyancing solicitor - Stephen Broughton of Ross Coates - says they're likely to have to lay off more staff, despite already having halved their workforce.

1150 Ok, I'm going to throw into the mix a few topical quotations. The first is by Frank Borman, American astronaut: "Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell."

e-mail sent in by reader
1145 "I've never been busier. I'm a broadband agent working from home. I find people the best deals, saving people in some cases up to £500 per year." Andy, Frome

1142 Plans have been ditched for a multi-million pound wood processing plant that could have created thousands of jobs near Invergordon, Ross-shire. Forscot, a Scottish-Scandinavian venture, blames a lack of funding.

1130 More doom and gloom: The T&G union says 100 jobs are under threat at shipping firm CDMR Killingholme Ltd in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire. It's another blow for the region after Mariner Foods announced last week 530 staff were to be axed.

e-mail sent in by reader
1125 "We're all affected by it. But what does this mean? For me, it means cutting back on little luxuries and pub visits, buying generic supermarket brands and putting on an extra layer rather than using the heating every time I'm cold. Doing these little things, though, rather than making me feel sorry for myself helps me appreciate just how insanely lucky I really am. Yes, things are a little tight for me, but I'm still in the richest quarter of the population." Strawberry Thief, Belfast

1118 Markets have reacted badly to the GDP figures, with the FTSE down more than 8%. Some of the index's biggest companies have also been hit hard, with Prudential down 11%, HSBC down 11.8% and British Airways down 11.9%.

e-mail sent in by reader
1105 "I have very little money left at the end of the month, my food bill is silly and heating the house costs far more than it should... the way things are going [utility firms] will make paupers of us all." Darkseid Jones, UK

1100 Hetal Mehta, a senior economist with accountant Ernst & Young, warns: "This is not just a financial services issue - there will be job losses in most parts of the economy."

e-mail sent in by reader
1052 "The business my husband and I both work for announced redundancies this week. My husband is on the 'risk list'. After much discussion however, we've both come to realise it would be more beneficial for us if he was let go because it would enable him to move into a different area and give him more chances. Bad news is sometimes a blessing in disguise." Merson The Cat, Staffordshire

1045 Chancellor Alistair Darling tells the BBC: "The fall in output has been driven by falls in the housing market and by people pulling in their belts due to high energy prices. We will help people by putting money back into their pockets... This will take some time to work its way through but I'm absolutely confident we will get through this."

1040 Staff at Grimsby anti-poverty charity Community Chest - which provides second-hand furniture and offers debt advice - say they've been inundated with requests for help recently.

1032 Richard Snook, of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, says: "Today's figures will make grim reading for Gordon Brown, whose legacy for economic management has been seriously damaged. Today's figure will put further downward pressure on sterling and equity markets."

1030 The British Chambers of Commerce says: "While it is important not to talk ourselves into a slump, urgent steps are needed to alleviate the worst consequences. Interest rates will have to be cut without delay to 4% in November, and to 3.5% shortly afterwards."

1027 More bad news: Opec has just slashed oil output by 1.5m barrels a day. This means oil price falls should slow and motorists may have to kiss goodbye to price cuts at the pumps.

1022
e-mail sent in by reader
A fund manager with a US investment bank in the Square Mile e-mails to defend the City: "Today's UK-wide problems would be exacerbated by any demise of London's financial hub. This would cripple London's already weakened property market and mean the loss of much of the cosmopolitan feel of the city at large. Much of the country's capitol, people, is invested in the City and that wealth effect does trickle throughout the UK."

1017 Philip Shaw, of Investec, says: "It's a big shock the decline is as large as 0.5%, truly dire… The UK may well experience a recession that is significantly deeper than we had expected."

comment from blogger
1013 Blogger stumblingandmumbling writes: "The notion recessions cause job insecurity is bull. Even during good economic times, millions of people are at risk of losing their jobs. On one estimate, one in seven private sector jobs was destroyed each year between 1997 and 2005. And recessions don't increase this insecurity much."

1003 Shadow chancellor George Osborne puts the boot in, saying: "It's a defining moment in the record of Gordon Brown. The day we can all see the central claims he made over 10 years, that he had abolished boom and bust and therefore didn't need to set aside money for a rainy day, has been shown to be completely false."

0959 Breakdown of the GDP figures shows manufacturing is technically already in a recession, having fallen 1.3% in the last quarter and 1.9% in the previous one.

0956 Brian Hilliard, of Societe Generale, says: "My comment to traders was dive, dive, dive. The problem is in services, that's what's done the damage. It's a very emphatic entry into recession which underlines the need for dramatic rate cuts which we think the Bank of England will deliver. We're looking for a 50 basis point cut in November and a rapid session of cuts to about 2.5% by the middle of next year.

0954 Another analyst predicting four quarters of negative growth. James Knightley, of ING, says: "So much for Gordon Brown's 'no more boom and bust'." But Knightley does offer some cheer for mortgage-payers, adding: "Our forecast for 2009 full year growth had been -0.9% and we had been expecting the Bank of England policy rate to be cut to 2.7% - these numbers will now be revised lower."

0943 It's the biggest fall in UK economic growth since 1990. BBC economics editor Hugh Pym says the figures raise fears we could be in for a recession very like the one in the early 90s when unemployment hit three million. He says it's unlikely to be just a technical recession (two consecutive quarters of negative growth), but could be a year or so of negative growth. But the difference is now that interest rates are much lower, he says.

0936 We're about to be swept away by a tsunami of analysis on what these GDP figures mean. But, as George Bernard Shaw once said: "If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion."

0933 The pound has just fallen below $1.60 against the dollar for the first time in five years.

0930 The UK economy has shrunk in the last quarter by 0.5%, a much bigger fall than predicted.

0930 Cash-strapped drivers are downsizing their motors to help pay household bills, says second-hand car salesman, Chris Kenny, of Runham Vauxhall, near Great Yarmouth. Thanks Chris, but no, I don't want an Astra that runs like a dream with 12 previous owners, twice round the clock, plenty of legroom and some free extras.

0914 A branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has had to take on more staff to cope with the queues of people in need of debt advice. Branches in Leiston and Saxmundham also report a doubling in inquiries.

0910 A Swindon musician has posted a tune about the slowdown on YouTube. Alex Yeoman wrote and filmed "The Credit Crunch Song" under the name "Antan Debt". Check it out here.

0901 National Express has just reported strong growth across the whole business, with passenger numbers up on bus, coach and train services. Earlier this week, the Association of European Airlines said air traffic was down. Looks like the great British public went to Cornwall by coach rather than Alicante by air for their holidays.

0858 A kitchen company near Peterborough has defied the downturn to steadily boost profits. Whittlesey-based PD Kitchens' boss Paul Donnelly says the secret is diversification. The firm's credit-crunch busting performance comes amid reports of a rise in home repossessions in Peterborough, with the Samaritans taking more calls from people worried about rising bills.

0852 In Milton Keynes, a survey carried out in Fenny Stratford suggests shopkeepers are upbeat about High Street spending. That's despite 12 shops being empty in Fenny and Bletchley, as well as the closure of the Somerfield store.

0848 Some vloggers (video bloggers) have kindly sent us some of their credit crunch tales.


0841 The FTSE has opened 4% down in early trading, possibly jittery about these forthcoming GDP figures, probably also not helped by another bad day on the Asian markets - Japan's Nikkei index closed down 9.6%.

0832 Ahead of the release of these Gross Domestic Product figures, the political opposition is already sharpening its knives - shadow business secretary Alan Duncan has told the BBC Gordon Brown needs to take responsibility.

0825 Times certainly are tough. Former factory worker Martin Jackson, in the Yorkshire village of Cottingham, tells the BBC he was laid off - by his own dad. He's now singing for his supper in nightclubs.

0810 Figures this morning are expected to show the UK economy is half way to recession. Since the once mighty British economic juggernaut may be running on fumes; as the formerly impregnable fortress of our financial markets may well be a leaning tower of Jenga blocks, the BBC is taking the economic pulse of the nation all day, from the Square Mile to High Street, so stay tuned.






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