A LEADING Lancashire businessman is calling on firms in the county to access the support packages from the government over the Coronavirus crisis before looking at making redundancies.

Steve Fogg, the chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and has a wealth of experience from a career forged at BAE Systems and now he is Managing Director of Corporate Shared Services and a Member of the UK Management Board.

He said: ''What initially began as a public health emergency is rapidly becoming an economic emergency and I would urge Lancashire's businesses to ensure they access those support measures for which they are eligible.

''I am pleased the Government has listened and responded to the growing concerns of businesses who fear they will be unable to continue to pay their employees and are fighting for their long-term survival. I hope that the measures announced, whereby the Government will pay up to 80% of wages, will give some degree of comfort for both businesses and individuals who have been adversely affected as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, providing some economic security. 'There has naturally been a focus on the impact of the social distancing and isolation on the retail and hospitality sectors – and rightly so. The restrictions in place will have a more immediate effect on businesses.

''Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of the Lancashire economy and their long-term sustainability is vital for the economy as a whole and for the livelihoods of our residents. The preservation of jobs and businesses is essential if we are going to recover. I urge businesses to access this to minimise job losses."

''The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is working closely with business representatives and leaders to ensure we combine forces and take a unified approach to helping our businesses in these unprecedented times. By working together we will ensure Government continues to listen and respond and we will do everything within our power to secure the long-term future of our businesses and those who work in them.''

Details of the Government support packages and how to access them can be found on the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership website which is being updated regularly as details emerge: https://lancashirelep.co.uk/covid-19/