The picture painted by our sponsors when we asked their hopes and fears for 2022 reveals a backlog of work which could drive recovery – if only it was allowed to.

The prospect of instant lockdown at the whim of scientists, who seem to have assumed the roles of politicians, will mean schemes not going ahead because no-one can be sure they will be allowed to operate to make a profit.

The proposed operator for the originally planned hotel scheme at Reading’s Bristol & West Arcade dropped out because of the state of the economy. And how many others will lose interest in schemes that are now undermined by elected leaders who don’t know what to do. And when they do, they keep changing their minds.

And how will we know what other developments would have seen the light of day?

While we like to offer local/regional commentary from our panel, local issues are increasingly dominated by national ones. So, if you’ll excuse us, we’d like to raise a few national issues the talking heads of daytime TV rarely mention:

  • If you close the country down for a year there will be a cost.
  • If you print too much money, you dilute its value.
  • If you take radical measures to solve one problem you may cause another.

If you look at the National Debt Clock it makes you wonder what politicians are doing – apart from partying while they locked everyone else down. Slightly further down that page, there is an explanation that is even more disconcerting.

If that doesn’t make you reach for the Christmas spirits a bit early, nothing will.

So our only prediction for 2022 is there will be major political upheaval. It might even be a good thing.

Merry Christmas.

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