Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed many of the measures announced this afternoon to support the ‘economic emergency’ facing the county over the coming months.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, delivering his Comprehensive Spending Review, said the Government’s immediate priority was to protect people’s livelihoods, and lives.

Shropshire Chamber chief executive Richard Sheehan said: “The statistics revealed today highlight the extent of the deep and damaging scars which Covid-19 has left on our economy, which is facing its largest fall in output for over 300 years.

“Many of the measures announced this afternoon are a roll-over of policies already in place, recognising the fact that for many sectors, the economic emergency has only just begun. This is a critical time for our business communities.”

Mr Sheehan welcomed support for lowest paid workers across Shropshire, and increases to the national living wage.

And he said the Government’s commitment to faster broadband, and greater mobile connectivity, would be vital for recovery in rural areas such as Shropshire – particularly at a time when more staff are working from home.

He added: “It is understandable that the Chancellor is only looking ahead for one year, rather than the usual three, given the huge uncertainties that remain.

“Unemployment is not expected to peak until the second quarter of next year, and it looks unlikely that our economy will have returned to pre-Covid levels until at least the end of 2022.

“All of this means that it has never been more important for Shropshire’s business community to stand together, supporting one another however and whenever we can. Working together, we are always going to be stronger.”

Mr Sheehan said the launch of the National Infrastructure Strategy was an important step in overcoming the longstanding infrastructure deficit – and said the time had now come to focus on fast and efficient delivery.