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Recession Road: Haddington

Phil Coomes | 17:08 UK time, Thursday, 17 September 2009

This post is from our Recession Road series, part of our special report on the global downturn.


Wandering the streets of Haddington, which hugs the A1 about 18 miles east of central Edinburgh, we run into a few locals who are not short of things to say about the recession - good and bad.

Mick LeslieMick Leslie is a self-employed tiler and plasterer who saw his workload dipping dramatically over last winter. Things got so bad he had to lay off his only employee, who also happened to be his son.

"That was obviously awkward, but he got another job straightaway, as a barman."
Things have yet to return to the days when Mick had so much work he could take Fridays off to go fishing, he says. "I can't afford it now."

Down the road Carolyn Ramage (pictured), from nearby East Linton, is having a cigarette outside her friend's hair salon, Looks.

Carolyn, 41, runs a cleaning business that employs three people. She says she had an "oh my god" moment when talk of the recession started to look serious, but she doesn't feel her firm has been affected.

Carolyn Ramage"Everyone says small businesses have been crumbling but that's not what I've seen." She gestures inside to the hair salon and says her friend is doing fine as well. We go inside and Kelly Luke confirms she hasn't really noticed a downturn.

"People are still getting their hair cut, and colour as well. No one's really mentioning money."

Stylist Sharon McEwen simply says: "What recession?". She crosses her legs and demonstrates that she's just bought a new pair of Ugg boots. (Real ones: "I don't do fake, unless its tan.")

Carolyn goes on to say she thought she might suffer because people would cut back on things like having a cleaner.

"Things maybe slowed down a bit for six months, but really I've not been up nor down.

"What I found was a lot of the professional mums who were having to go back to work, because maybe their husbands had had their hours cut, they couldn't manage the house as well. So that's where I come in!"

The recession did have an effect when she and her husband wanted to moved to nearby Dunbar, to be nearer the school their son is due to start next year.

"The bank wanted more of a deposit than they would have before, so we couldn't do it. That was a bit of a let down.

"But you can't have everything, can you? I think it's good that the banks are saying no sometimes now. We are staying in our house and have put a conservatory up instead - and we got it for a really good price because of the recession.

"These things are swings and roundabouts. I just say 'sit tight, and don't get greedy'."

You can read an explanation of our Recession Road series here. Words: Paula Dear; Images: Phil Coomes.


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