So summer is over.

Schools are set to return.

Winter is coming.

I am dreading the next few months with the coronavirus pandemic unabated and Britain descending into a dark recession punctuated by levels of unemployment not seen in our country for over a generation.

I am worried – as the Government’s furlough scheme comes to an end in October and we are forced finally to exit the EU without any meaningful trade deal or protection for key sectors of our economy – that Southampton will be hit very hard.

The official projection of 26,000 job losses locally would be devastating.

I’m old enough to recall the misery of the 1980s when unemployment levels were deliberately allowed to soar while the Government of the day destroyed the nation’s manufacturing base and I fear we are about to return to those days.

Young people in general and our heroic low paid front line key workers (on who we’ve depended on so much over the past six months) will be hardest hit.

Winter is coming.

It looks as if it will be harsh.

I desperately hope I’m wrong.

Dave Shields