Support is vital in the build back process

Businesses across Lancashire are viewing 2021 with trepidation as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy both locally and nationally.

The past few months have been particularly difficult for tourism and hospitality, with key sectors including civil aerospace also badly hit.

It may be hard at the moment to see any positives. However, the way many manufacturers have adapted to the situation they have found themselves, switching production to support the NHS and moving quickly to find new markets, underlines that Lancashire always finds a way.

We will need support on our road to recovery. The LEP’s work on a recovery plan for aerospace is welcome and we hope Westminster takes note of what is needed, not only to protect our skills, but to help businesses take on the challenge of diversification.

The vaccine also gives hope to the hospitality sector that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And again, we have seen resilience and innovation, as Lancashire businesses have worked tremendously hard to keep some income streams flowing during lockdown and tier restrictions.

The extension of the furlough scheme to April this year was a welcome move, along with the extension of government guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes until the end of March

The way many manufacturers have adapted underlines that Lancashire always finds a way.

Up to now the furlough scheme has supported 9.6 million jobs across the UK, with more than one million businesses using it.

We all look towards the chancellor’s Budget statement on March 3 to see what support comes next.

The government talks of building back better. We’ve no doubt that, with the right support, we will and Lancashire businesses will play their part in the recovery we’re all working towards.

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