Tuesday, 10 February 2009

A plan of inaction

Better than nothing is about all that can be said about the Government's long awaited recession action plan to support umbrellas in the coming months. Perhaps on reflection £500m was a big ask. The government simply hasn't got that sort of money to splash around unless you are a bank. And so £42m is at least an acknowledgement by the powers that be that umbrellas play a vital role in the economy, and in keeping the nation dry during the storms ahead, and I personally thanked the minister Gavin Lennon on Twitter last night.

The effects of the banking system going down the toilet are not to be underestimated. After all, is it not bankers and city types who are the biggest purchasers of quality brollies? Less jobs on the square mile will see umbrella related expenditure fall.

And will membership to exclusive golf clubs drop, meaning a reduction in spend on golf umbrellas? My members in the golfing fraternity already face an uncertain future over proving their public benefit, what with the accompanying debate about high fee charging and umbrellas having to provide access to shelter to all sections of society not just the rich. It is going to take more than well intentioned umbrella bursary schemes allowing the poor on the council estates outside Wentworth to use a golf umbrella for one aftenoon a week to sort that one out.

And the other, often forgotten, potential victim in all of this is cocktail umbrellas. Cutbacks on lavish entertaining will undoubtedly hit upon the smallest of all BUBB's members.

Therefore it is to be hoped that the government does not simply consider that is has fulfilled its role with this handout but monitors the situation and provides more help if required further down the line. Umbrellas deserve nothing less.

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