Support for firms amid 'extremely challenging' 2021 in East Anglia

Christmas shoppers at Norwich Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Businesses face huge challenges in 2021 - but support is available from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

A pledge has been made to support firms through an "extremely challenging" period next year amid the Brexit transition and ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The pandemic caused record-breaking numbers of redundancies in the East of England in 2020, albeit a relatively low number of businesses entering liquidation.

But the pandemic did not hit all sectors of the economy equally, with some sectors — such as tourism and hospitality — suffering more, with greater restrictions.

C-J Green, chairwoman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, outlined the support that the LEP would put in place for firms in the east as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to unravel.

Ms Green said: “As coronavirus restrictions continue to tighten, the end of the extended furlough period nears, and the impact of the end of the EU transition starts to become clearer, it’s very likely that the first quarter of 2021 will be extremely challenging.

C-J Green chairwoman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

C-J Green chairwoman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership - Credit: NEW ANGLIA LEP

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“Businesses need certainty and confidence to be able to innovate, grow and invest - and many do not currently have either.

"Our role in supporting our region’s companies is more important than ever – the free business advice from our Growth Hub and programmes like our Peer Network can help to boost confidence and our grants, which remain open for applications, can go some way to providing some financial security for those looking to expand or diversify.

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"Our new Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, which was launched in May in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already supported more than 100 firms.

“We continue to work closely with local partners and national Government to ensure business support is timely and accessible and recognises some of the hardest-hit sectors like tourism, culture, retail and hospitality, which make up a significant part of Norfolk and Suffolk’s economy.”

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