Over the last few weeks it has been good to see some businesses on our high street begin to return to life and I’ve been heartened by the stories of local manufacturers and recruitment agencies I’ve engaged with through the Chamber who have seen a rapid return of demand, however it has also been clear that some businesses have struggled.

The huge number of people who remain furloughed is a reminder of how crucial that innovative scheme was when the lockdown hit and a sign that many businesses are not yet ready to return to full capacity.

In these circumstances a substantial Government intervention was much needed. I am glad that the Statement from the Chancellor shows a willingness to step in and provide vital support.

Hospitality and tourism has been particularly hard hit by the very nature of the lockdown and the temporary cut to VAT until next year, should provide a shot in the arm for a sector which is vital to so many jobs.

I know that Worcester has a huge amount to offer visitors but the combined impact of the floods and then the lockdown has kept too many people away for too long.

With the Tourism Information Centre and many pubs and restaurants back open for business we need to make sure we can take full advantage of the 15 per cent reduction in the cost of food, non-alcoholic drinks and accommodation. The exciting August discount scheme for people to help out by eating out should support our many brilliant independents.

Getting Britain building is a vital priority and the £2 billion voucher scheme for home improvements delivering energy efficiency will be a much-needed boost to many, helping to deliver a greener recovery, supporting the construction sector and helping people make homes more comfortable and efficient.

I was particularly pleased to see extra funding available to support lower income households and to boost the funding available to them to £10,000. As we target net zero carbon emissions, improving the efficiency of our housing stock can play a vital part.

Extra support for apprenticeships was the biggest ask I took away from my conversations with the Chamber and LEP and it is great to see a new package of support for young people with the £2 billion kickstart scheme and £2000 for employers who hire new apprentices.

Extra funding for traineeships and careers advice should also help to reverse the short-term rise we have already seen in youth unemployment, something I am determined to do.

The challenges our economy has faced from Covid 19 are unprecedented and I am glad we have a Government that recognises that the scale of the response needs to be too.

Combined with welcome investment in our schools and hospitals, on both of which I have been bidding for Worcester to get its share, and the work on boosting our High Street and city centre, through the Towns and Future High Streets Funds, these measures can support a strong, fast economic recovery which is more needed than ever.

I will keep working to support local businesses of all shapes and sizes and look forward to welcoming Rishi Sunak to Worcester to keep up the good work.