Businesses hit by downturn

FOUR businesses in the Axe Valley have fallen victim to the credit crunch and Seaton Town Council has warned there is worse to come.

FOUR businesses in the Axe Valley have fallen victim to the credit crunch - and Seaton Town Council has warned there is worse to come.Furniture was removed from Seaton Electronics, in Queen Street, last Wednesday, as it went into liquidation; The Kettle closed its doors to business on Saturday following a repossession order; Morgan York, in Axminster, went into voluntary receivership on Friday and Axminster Carpets has announced plans to make people redundant.Seaton town clerk Philip Higginson said he had visited Seaton Electronics last Monday to have a computer repaired when they told him of their situation. He said there were also other businesses in danger of closing.He said: "It was an absolute shock. Seaton has received a double whammy - it is losing the holiday camp, its main employer, at the very time when we are having a worldwide recession."Couple Dave Butlin and Ann Proctor, of The Kettle restaurant and bed and breakfast, in Fore Street, will lose their home and business after a year of struggling to meet payments.Mr Butlin said: "We got off to a brilliant start but now people haven't got money to spend and everything's going up. We're losing our home, everything. We put everything we had into this place."But it's the way life goes. What can you do? We're just taking each day as it comes."The pair started up business in Seaton almost three years ago. It got off to a good start but a period of bad weather and the economic downtown brought a slump in profits.Mrs Proctor added: "It's been going on for a year and we'd been trying to fight back. But now everything's gone. We can't afford to pay them anymore and that's it. And we've borrowed and borrowed from my family, but they can't afford anything else now."Now I know we have a date to move I feel a lot better. I still have my tears and probably won't be able to walk past the place but now I can't wait to get out."It has been very stressful and I haven't slept properly for nearly a year. It's heart-breaking that we have worked since we were 15 or 16 and what for? We have had to walk out with nothing."Axminster Carpets announced there could be up to 15 compulsory redundancies out of a workforce of nearly 540 due to the economic downturn.Managing director Josh Dutfield said: "It is always sad when pressure to reduce overheads and costs, particularly in the current economic climate, result in the need to review headcount to make the company leaner as we enter into an unknown period of decline."He said a formal consultation process had begun with the affected employees and that they would be supporting them with job searches. Volunteers were asked to come forward. Former owner of Morgan York in Victoria Place, Shane Morgan, said the business had been the latest victim of the credit crunch.Dave and Ann are selling a number of items. Anyone interested should visit The Kettle or call 07791881970.Ann is now offering cleaning services. Call 07712 106235.