Planning, dogs and tails: another correspondent writes

“The East Devon electorate were, indeed, hoping for a significant change by voting for an Independent Council and, therefore, it is frustrating to read such controlling comments from the Tory Councillor Philip Skinner (he who was responsible for the extending mahogany table fiasco and who lives in the rural village of Talaton which is not one of the proposed GESP Clyst Villages) stating that  ‘this is a really exciting project and I hope people grasp it with the enthusiasm, that I have so we get the good things for the area that we live in’!

Who are the ‘we’ he is referring to? Perhaps, not the numerous residents of the 10 rural  village communities of Poltimore, Huxham, Clyst St Mary, Clyst St George, Ebford, West Hill, Woodbury, Woodbury Salterton, Exton and Farringdon who appear to be the prime targets for his exciting large scale development? Living in the small, rural idyll of Talaton, he should be aware that those who have also chosen to live in rural village communities may not wish them to mutate into sprawling suburbs of Exeter and, therefore, many may question Councillor Skinner’s motives?
Yes – we all have to be forward thinking – but aren’t these 10 villages the very essence of the intrinsic nature and indispensable quality of East Devon? Some may be persuaded that the proposed idyllic concept of happy, peaceful, picturesque environments labelled ‘Garden Villages’ would be pure nirvana – but, unfortunately, the vision in planning terms is not always what you get in reality! 
 
Sizeable growth in this North West Quadrant, without adequate road infrastructure improvements in the surrounding districts, already results in the regular gridlock of the entire highway network! ‘The cart before the horse’ approach of continuing large-scale commercial growth and adding more people to the equation before the provision of an appropriate, sustainable transport system is an unsatisfactory method for success.
 
There is no doubt that we must do better with designing new communities than we have in the past and East Devon District Council Planners  are fully aware that there are lessons to be learned from pursuing misguided judgements and courses of action by barking up the wrong tree!
Hopefully, the Independents are canines with character strength and principled, with adequate bite at the sharp end! Dogs can control their tails but often wagging lacks conscious thought!  Canine body language is so much more than just tail movements, so to achieve control, it is very important to pay attention to other factors. Furthermore, excessive tail wagging  can often be associated with fear, insecurity, social challenge or a warning that you may get bitten!

Unemployment much higher than official figures (but not in Exeter)

“Millions more people in Britain are without a job than shown by official unemployment figures, according to a study that suggests the jobless rate should be almost three times higher.

According to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Cities thinktank, large levels of “hidden” unemployment in towns and cities across Britain are excluded from the official government statistics.

The study found that more than 3 million people are missing from the headline unemployment rate because they report themselves as economically inactive to government labour force surveys, saying that they believe no jobs are available.

It said the true unemployment rate should rise from 4.6% to 13.2% of the working-age population not in education. The OECD made the estimate by creating an adjusted economic activity rate, which removes students, pensioners, people caring for family and people with health issues.

In a stark analysis of joblessness across the country, the assessment raises the total number of people out of a job who could work from the official level of 1.3 million to almost 4.5 million.

The Centre for Cities said that urban locations faced the highest levels of hidden joblessness. Liverpool had the highest rate in the country, with around one in five working-age adults not in education finding themselves out of work.

At 19.8% compared to 5.8% on official statistics, joblessness in the city ranked just ahead of Sunderland, Dundee, Blackburn and Birmingham.

All the top 10 cities with the highest adjusted economic inactivity rates were found to be outside London and the south-east, and all tended to have weaker economies. In contrast, cities across the south-east had much lower jobless rates, with Crawley recording the lowest adjusted rate of just 2%. Oxford and Exeter were also below 5%. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/17/unemployment-figures-should-be-millions-higher-says-research?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Doubts cast over Flybe staying at its Exeter headquarters”

“The new chief executive of Flybe has hinted that Devon will have to work with the airline to ensure its headquarters remains at Exeter Airport.

Flybe ran into financial difficulties last year and was rescued by a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus.

This week it announced that the airline would be rebranded Virgin Connect, an exercise that will begin next spring.

Chief executive Mark Anderson spoke publicly yesterday for the first time, making it clear that a major restructuring exercise was under way.

He did not deny that job losses would be required, but said it was too early to be specific, saying: “It could be that there will be a number of roles that are impacted, but we haven’t yet got to numbers.

“Can I guarantee everyone a job for life? The answer is no I can’t.” …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/doubts-cast-over-flybe-staying-3435866#comments-section

“Enterprise zones ‘failed to deliver’ jobs boost in England”

Owl says: oh dear, failing enterprise zones (we have one centred on Cranbrook/Science Park – oh and Sky Park – what’s happening there?), failing Local Enterprise Partnerships and failing Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Wonder what is succeeding? Education – no. NHS – no. Social Care – no. Transport – no. High streets – no. Environment – no. Growth – no. Housing – no. Utilities – no. Democracy – definitely not. Brexit? Better not go there …!

So is there ANYTHING succeeding? Answers on a postage stamp …

“A multimillion-pound government policy to boost job creation has failed to deliver, research has revealed.

In 2011, the government announced “enterprise zones” in England to try to improve economic growth, forecasting 54,000 new jobs between 2012 and 2015.
But BBC-commissioned research found by 2017 only 17,307 jobs had been created in 24 zones around England – and in two areas the number of jobs had fallen.

The government said it had created 38,000 jobs since 2012.

Enterprise zones offered cheaper business rates, superfast broadband and lower levels of planning control.

The research, which was conducted by think tank charity Centre for Cities using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed the number of jobs created fell short by nearly three-quarters of the amount predicted in the government’s initial announcement in 2011. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-48856440

East Devon to have vast Amazon warehouse staffed by ….. well, that depends …..

Many readers will be too young to remember Rast Devon’s plans to develop an ‘inter-modal transport hub’ on the outskirts of Exeter, about which many promised were made and broken. There was even a cursory planning application in 2010:

https://planning.eastdevon.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=LB8Z9LGH03P00

Eventually all or part of the site (Owl is none too sure) was bought up by Sainsbury’s who said they would build, well, something. Another promise broken.

Eventually, part of the site was bought by Lidl, who built a massive warehouse.

Now, it seems Amazon is going to build a second massive warehouse, next to the Lidl one:

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/amazon-set-to-take-on-industrial-unit-on-outskirts-of-cranbrook-1-6125408

Many jobs (200 in the article) are promised to the lucky (or unlucky) residents of Cranbrook – which way you look at it depends on what you research about both Amazon’s working conditions and future plans:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/31/amazon-accused-of-treating-uk-warehouse-staff-like-robots?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/may/20/unions-lobby-investors-to-press-amazon-over-uk-working-conditions?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

The desire of most of these warehousing companies – including Amazon – is NOT to treat their workers like robots (though it is alleged that some of them do) but to REPLACE them by robots.

Progress it’s called.

Was Owl right about why Virgin bought Flybe? Yes!

Here is Owl’s theory:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/04/04/flybe-leaving-or-not-on-a-jet-plane/

and, in today’s Sunday Times its Chief Executive says:

“… Flybe will be profitable [for Virgin] … It has established slots at Heathrow and hundreds in Manchester. What will the rebranded carrier be called? “Virgin Something”. We have not made up our mind”. …”

Source: Sunday Times business supplement, page 6

Round One to Owl!

“Growth”: 40% of jobs in East Devon could be lost to automation

Owl says: many people are only one robot away from Universal Credit …

“You could soon be replaced by a robot as data reveals two out of every five jobs in East Devon could be lost to automation.

The data, measured in 2017 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that 42,000 jobs in the area could be partially or totally replaced by machines over the coming years.

This equates to 44 per cent of occupations and of them, 9% of them are at high risk meaning they have a more than 70% chance of being replaced by machines.

The threat was medium for a further 60 per cent of jobs as the chances of automation are between 30 and 70 per cent.

East Devon was less vulnerable to the impact of automation in 2017 than six years earlier when 49 per cent of jobs were at risk of being replaced by machines.

The ONS analysed the jobs of 20 million people across England in 2017 and found that 7.4 per cent were at high risk of being replaced.

70 per cent of the roles at high risk of automation are currently held by women.

People aged 20 to 24 years old are most likely to be at risk of having their job replaced and low-skilled occupations, like waiting or shelf stacking, face the highest risk.

Jobs requiring higher qualifications, such as medical practitioners and higher education teachers, are less susceptible to computerisation.

An ONS spokesperson said: “The exact reasons for the decrease in the proportion of roles at risk of automation are unclear but it is possible that automation of some jobs has already happened.

“Additionally, while the overall number of jobs has increased, the majority of these are in occupations that are at low or medium risk suggesting that the labour market may be changing to jobs that require more complex and less routine skills.”

Felicity Burch, the CBI’s director of innovation and digital, said technology is predominantly putting jobs held by women and low-skilled occupations at risk.

She said: “The picture is complicated, as ONS’s own analysis shows that some of the roles most at risk of automation saw a boost in recent years.

“Furthermore, we know that the more businesses invest in new technology, the more likely they are to create new roles.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/east-devon-jobs-robots-1-5973184