Salisbury is still suffering from the crazy Skripal/nerve agent event that took place on Sunday 4th March. Four weeks on the picture is still grim despite local efforts to encourage people to come to the city. It is after all a shopping and tourist magnet.
On 23rd March Environment Minister Michael Gove visited the city and promised government support. He said, “I know that local businesses have taken a bit of a hit understandably as a result of the events…” A ‘bit of a hit’?
Across the city, businesses have taken a 20% fall and are still far from back to normal. There has been a 90% drop in visitors to the city, with a corresponding drop in trade, particularly for those shops near the Maltings where the unconscious Skripals were found, and it is not much better now. It could take weeks for things to return to anything like it should be.
The government is providing £1 million to help faltering business, although they haven’t said when. And promises are often empty where this government is concerned. It may sound a lot but it isn’t, and Salisbury will be lobbying for more. It really should be seen as compensation for the damage done by the government in pushing its anti-Russia agenda. In a more constructive fashion, Wiltshire County Council took the decision to make all parking free within the city, even though it would lose them a lot of revenue. Did that work?
On Easter Saturday I revisited Salisbury to see for myself. This…