Archive for April, 2012

Athletics track Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Docklands area of London became one of the most rundown in the whole country. The decline of the capital’s river-borne industry had a devastating effect on unemployment levels, and the subsequent lack of investment in the region merely made the situation worse. It was a depressing part of a world-renowned international business hub, and something had to be done.
The 1980s redevelopment of the Docklands area transformed huge chunks of the vicinity into high-tech centres of cutting edge commerce, and within a decade it was hard to even imagine some of the squalor that had once existed. The stunning Canary Wharf development includes One Canada Square, once the tallest building in London, and stands as a monument to the optimism of the whole project.
In 2005, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2012 Games to London, and a whole new period of investment and construction was set in motion. The new stadium is located in Stratford, in the east of the city and close to Docklands, and it will welcome crowds of up to 80,000 when the sporting fiesta gets under way. There are also several other venues nearby which have been specially built for the event, including the Aquatics Centre, the Velopark and the Riverbank Arena.
In the seven years since London’s bid was declared a successful one, there has been the usual debate raging over whether hosting the Olympics is a benefit or a curse. Perhaps predictably, opinions are polarized about the issue, and almost everyone seems to have strong convictions about why they’re in the right. Leaving that to one side, the most common divide seems to be about whether the investment will be a temporary cash injection for the benefit of visitors or whether it will be of long-term value to the whole area.
The organising committee has been quick to point out that a significant proportion of the money being invested is spent on lasting projects that will provide new infrastructures. They point to new homes, educational facilities, sporting amenities and transport networks as evidence of the positives. And although there are plenty of cynics that won’t be in hearty agreement, it has to be said the construction work, and the subsequent supply industries, has provided vast numbers of employment opportunities in a traditionally depressed part of the city.
On the negative side, the cost of the Olympic Games is huge, and if there aren’t as many long-term advantages to be seen afterwards there will be an enormous outcry. The previous legacies of Olympic developments have also left a bitter taste in hosting country’s mouths; the Barcelona Olympic development has been left to ruin following Spain’s financial crisis and even the Sydney Olympic facilities (dubbed one of the best Olympic Games) were built in such an isolated brownfield area (with no main transport links) that they were left largely unattended after the Olympiad had finished, tying up large sums of cash for maintenance and potential redevlopment.

Criticisms also have abounded for th etransport links; Atlanta was nagtively reviewed for it’s over-commercialism and the insufficient public transport fopr the crowds. With London barely able to cope with the daily rush hour and businesses being urged to close doors throughout the period (a vain hope in an economic crisis), it is less than clear which end of the budget column the UK will end up in as a result of the 2012 London games.


Feeling the economic crunchFor anyone who is struggling with increasing personal debt, it may seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Making ends meet is difficult even in good times, but when there are worldwide economic difficulties as well it can seem almost impossible. It’s important to remember, however, that there are things that can be done, and there are people and organisations that can help, so there’s no need to feel complete despair at the situation.
Perhaps the most important decision you need to take is to talk to someone. Whether it’s a friend or family member, or perhaps a professional debt counselor, sharing the problem is a good way of reducing its impact. Once you have spoken to somebody and got things off your chest, you can then start to give more attention to the avenues that are open to you, and to start the recovery process.
Amid all the trauma and upset caused by mounting debt, it’s easy to forget the most important issue of all: getting column A to be larger than column B. Simply put, the issues are caused by income being a lower figure than expenditure, and until you can reverse that ratio the debt problems are likely to continue. And in order to achieve this, you need to take a long, hard look at your balance sheets.
Gaining strength from adversity
Reducing spending is never an easy option, but in difficult times it can be an empowering and cathartic experience. Not only is it important for the figures on the paper, it can also be somewhat cleansing for the individual. In many cases, it gives people the energy to fight the battle with renewed vigour, so although it may seem an unpleasant prospect, you should be aware of the positive side of it as well.
Your creditors will need to know if you are experiencing hardship, and for many people this is the most difficult aspect of all. Writing letters or making phone calls to explain the situation is seen by some people as an admission of defeat, but this isn’t the case at all. Many people make the contact with a heavy heart only to discover they could be given a little leeway by the creditor, bringing them some much-needed breathing space at a time when they least expected it. It is also far better to appaer to creditors that you are taking proactive steps to seetle your debt situation, rather than letting it spiral out of control.
An unfortunate by-product of debt problems is that the individual may have a poor credit rating, and this can take some time to recover from. All is not lost, however, because a credit card with a low spending limit can be used to improve the situation. There are agencies which offer instant information about credit ratings, so as your financial situation improves you can keep a check on how well you are doing. See here for a guide to poor credit and waht you can do about it . . . there is also a list of resources on the DirectGov site that offer help and advice for paying off debts and tackling credit problems.