We learned a few days ago that Britain is crawling out of the recession. An article published in The Telegraph recently said that the National Institute for Economic and Social Research detected growth in the quarter before August. Deep breath for everybody. But you have to ask yourself, what difference did the recession actually make to us students? Unemployment shot up across the nation, and those who didn’t lose jobs at least had to tighten their belts, but student loans stayed at pretty much the same level.
Heading down the street in Cambridge for a casual wander, you might see a few more empty shop windows – although not as many as in my home town, where it seems like every other shop is either vacant or blazoned with a ‘closing down sale’ sign – and perhaps fewer tourists, but in practical terms, life carried on pretty much the same. Rents might have risen a little more than expected, but the colleges were still there to provide a buffer from the worst of what was going on outside the bubble.
Of course, there have been difficulties. Everyone knows someone in college with a parent who has lost a job, and the aforementioned rent rises have certainly caused trouble for those students who live right on the margins. The recession cast a long shadow, one that fell even on our own gothic buildings and immaculate quads.
Although current students haven’t been hit, recent graduates certainly have. Following the Centre of Enterprise report that an overwhelming majority of small or medium businesses are still reluctant to recruit, things don’t show any sign of improving soon. The recession may not have hurt us much, but its effects will certainly linger.