Luton: Meet the locals

Read about the impact of the financial crisis on an English car-manufacturing town.

    Luton's future is uncertain as car-manufacturing suffers amid global downturn [GALLO/GETTY]

    Al Jazeera is following the effects of the global recession on five towns across the globe - find out more about how residents are coping.

    Mohammed Motlib, 35-year-old worker at Vauxhall car plant

    Mohammed Motlib has just bought a house
    Mohammed's been working in the car industry in Luton since he was 16-years old.

    He started as a trainee with Vauxhall.

    The company is now part of General Motors which is pressing the UK government to take a stake in Vauxhall as part of a rescue plan for the car-manufacturer's European operations.

    Mohammed, now 35, and his wife, Sufia, have a five-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. They have also recently bought a house.

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    Mohammed believes the Luton plant will keep going, but since late 2008 he has been working reduced hours, whereas before he used to earn overtime.

    While he is looking around to see what other jobs he could do, he cannot envisage working anywhere else.

    "We're like a small family there," he says.

    Ghulam Rasul, 64-year-old businessman

    Ghulam Rasul can no longer afford to hire staff
    Ghulam came to Britain from his native Pakistan in 1962.

    He is now 64-years old and, along with his wife, he runs a clothes and fabrics shop in Luton.

    When he first started out, he says, things were easier because although he had no capital he was able to get credit.

    Ghulam says that during the recent credit crunch the price he pays for his imported materials has jumped so much that where once the shop used to hire staff, they can no longer afford to.

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    His shop is in Bury Park which has many Asian businesses.

    Ghulam says the family-based nature of those businesses has made them more resistant to the current downturn.

    However, he has seen several shops shut down in the area. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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