A BUSINESS leader has welcomed the measures introduced by Government amid fears that many of the county's firm's will suffer adversely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Steve Fogg, who chairs the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the £330bn package will allow businesses to access Government-backed loan schemes to help with cash flow and help preserve jobs.

Mr Fogg said ''I am sure this is just the start of direct Government support which will be undoubtedly needed if many small businesses are to survive this unprecedented time.

''Our Lancashire businesses and residents are facing extraordinary challenges in what is an extremely unsettling time for us all, and which could have long-reaching consequences for the Lancashire economy and the sustainability of some of our businesses.

"Whilst the measures will provide some relief, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership will continue to monitor the effect of the virus on Lancashire's businesses and work with local MPs and Government in an attempt to minimise the commercial impact of social distancing and isolation."

Describing SMEs as the lifeblood of the Lancashire economy, Mr Fogg called on larger businesses to help and support our smaller companies in their supply chains which will be less resilient to the economic consequences of Covid-19.

He added: "We need to ensure we do everything possible to prevent a short sharp shock turning into a prolonged period of uncertainty. This will be especially relevant to those in the hospitality sector where the effects of the recent Government advice will be more immediate.

''The interventions announced have acknowledged the pressures being felt by those in the hospitality and retail sectors by granting 12 months business rate relief and cash grants of scale to help with fixed costs, but I have no doubt more help will be needed.

''Naturally our residents will also be concerned about their jobs and we hope that the commitment from banks to offer mortgage holidays for those experiencing difficulties as a result of Covid-19 will provide some comfort. Whilst I appreciate it will not be possible in some cases, I would ask for employers to introduce flexible working arrangements for their staff to alleviate some of their concerns.

''The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership will continue to monitor the planned further announcements of economic support packages over the next few days to ensure the proposals are sufficient to mitigate the impact of the virus and ensure businesses are able to recover and jobs are not lost to the Lancashire economy."

Business help and advice can be accessed via the Lancashire Growth Hub website at www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk