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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
City blues felt throughout London
Claire Shirt
Claire Shirt has found fewer people willing to get their shoes shined
It is not just financial workers in London's Square Mile who have been hit by uncertainty in the City. BBC London talks to people at the opposite end of the pay scale who have been feeling the effects.

It is thought that about 35,500 financial sector jobs have disappeared over the past two years, equivalent to about 10% of the City workforce.

City pubs have seen fewer sales and estate agents have noted London's more exclusive addresses are not being snapped up.

But it is not just big business that is suffering. Bankers' troubles are being shared by other Londoners who have seen the cash flow dry up.

City busker Jean-Claude Bourt got used to reaping the benefits of playing to a wealthy audience.

"It used to be very good in the past," he told BBC London.

Busker
Busker Jean-Claude Bourt now gets thrown coins instead of notes
"People used to give me 10 or 5 but now they give me a couple of pennies. I don't know what is going on."

And while office workers may have been happy to pay out 2.50 a time to get their shoes shined in the past, these days they are less likely to splash out on the little luxuries.

Shoe shiner Claire Shirt has had to let three of her employees go.

"A few months ago we put our prices up for the first time in eight years by 50p and even the wealthy people in the offices were starting to moan and grumble about the cost of the prices.

"They say they can't afford to tip now because of less bonuses and don't know if they can afford a shoe shine this week."

Leaving presents sales boom

The Centre for Economics and Business research predicted the worst was over for the City in its last quarterly report and said the recovery would spread to the rest of London.

But while it said the job market should stabilise by the end of the year, there was unlikely to be any major recruitment until 2005.

Not everyone is suffering. Jewellers Links of London have benefited from a mini-boom on the back of the wave of redundancies.

"We sell watches, cufflinks, jewellery and we have had an increase in sales of late," said spokeswoman Cindy Stacherski.

"We have had people coming in buying leaving presents and redundancy presents. Basically overall people have been coming in and buying things to cheer themselves up."




SEE ALSO:
City of London 'over the worst'
12 Jun 03  |  Business
City faces jobs cull
16 Jun 02  |  Business
CBI predicts more City job cuts
07 Apr 03  |  Business
Fuller's brewery hit by City slump
15 Nov 02  |  Business


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