- With rising unemployment, the Connexions office has become a more open employment exchange with unemployed people waiting around for people with work to offer to turn up with a job. Many people are looking for just three or four-day working weeks and job-shares.
- Enterprising individuals find creative ways to self-employment, offering services on the doorstep: mower and knife sharpening, window cleaners, eco-cleaning services, upholstery cleaning, grass cutting, filling window baskets and herbaceous borders with edible plants.
- More people are working from home, many using the spare room(s) vacated by grown-up children as an office, beauty salon or to take in a lodger.
- Mechanics are retraining to apply their skills to electric and biofuel vehicles.
- Fairtrade status extends out to the entire district as outcomes of the Totnes Retail Audit find this has had a positive impact on sales and increased interest in local products.
- Tourism enterprises have expanded to build on the local low-energy travel systems. A number of small café enterprises serving predominantly local food have appeared at the new Travel Hubs and Well-being Gardens. Tourists get a T&D travel pass which includes bike hire and safety bands for walkers together with a map of walks, bike lanes, buses timetables, café opening times, public toilets and facilities for children and nappy changing.
- The ATMOS development’s Light Industrial units open for business. Immediately they are all leased, to some very innovative businesses, a waste oil processing/biodiesel plant, a business turning waste paper into an insulation material, a garage for servicing electric vehicles, and a ‘local food station’, which gathers food from local small producers and distributes it around the town. They all say they are attracted to the development by its profile and the potential interactions with other green businesspeople.
Policy Makers & Service Providers
- The newly expanded Totnes Post Office is employing more people and has a range of services for local shops and businesses. With a new suite of telecommunication services to support small businesses and individuals, it offers full internet access facilities, virtual conferencing portals and hot desks.
- Rationing is to be introduced to help people access lower-price electricity, fuel and food staples. Energy quotas are likely to vary and people will be assisted in accessing a certain amount to cover needs at affordable prices. All Government subsidies for fossil fuels are to be redirected to producing renewable energy supplies.
- UK Post Office Services make a deal with E-bay to deliver their goods to local post offices (and a collection card to the customer) for a lower fee. Courier services are disgruntled but many buyers are delighted.
- DCC & SHDC announce a number of budget reallocations to support local job creation and reduction in fossil fuels. There is to be greater investment in recycling and waste to create employment, and highways budgets are to be reduced and reallocated to providing public transport.
- National Government bows to public pressure to support local communities by conducting a major overhaul of the income tax system. This is to move towards simplification and a greater proportion of budgets being administered locally. National insurance will be included within income taxation, VAT will be combined with resource taxation
- Credit Unions announce major increases in local membership and investment.
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