CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak has praised four East Lancashire businesses for managing to work through the coronavirus pandemic.

He was tackled by Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry on what steps the Treasury were taking to support businesses in his constituency.

Mr Sunak said: "The government recognise the significant impact of coronavirus on businesses across the United Kingdom, and that is why we have put in place an unprecedented series of measures to provide support."

Tory backbencher Mr Berry then told him: "Many of our manufacturers here in Lancashire have worked through the pandemic.

"Will you congratulate businesses such as J and J Ormerod plc, James Killelea and Co Ltd, WEC Group and Perspex, who not only have worked through the pandemic, but show that high-value manufacturing and the real economy need to be things you foster and support in your forthcoming Budget?"

Mr Sunak replied: "I am very happy to join you in congratulating the businesses you mentioned.

"We know that many manufacturers - especially those in your area - have worked very hard, particularly with regard to ventilators and personal protective equipment at a time of this country’s need.

"Your are right to say that should play a part in our recovery.

"One initiative I would point to, which I believe will be in and around your area, is the Made Smarter partnership between government and high-value manufacturing, which seeks to foster innovation, digital adoption and the latest and greatest management processes.

"It seems to be working very well and I look forward to learning more about that initiative."