West Cumbrian MPs have welcomed measures announced by the Government to support businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced schemes which would see employers rewarded with a £1,000 bonus if they retain furloughed staff until January, VAT cuts for food and accommodation businesses as well as attractions, and a scheme to give 50 per cent discounts to people dining out Mondays to Wednesdays in August.

Copeland’s MP Trudy Harrison said: “The scale of the challenge was made clear by the Chancellor when he said we have lost 18 years’ worth of economic growth.

“The statement brought much-needed benefits to hospitality with the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme and further financial packages to stimulate jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships.

“Rural and coastal communities were mentioned on more than one occasion during the Chancellor’s speech, he clearly understands the challenge to our area and is putting in a massive amount of support to help us.”

Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, said the scheme will help businesses such as the Lake District Wildlife Park and Maryport Aquarium, as well as cafes and other attractions in his constituency, including those in Cockermouth and Silloth.

“I think businesses will welcome these measures. We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m keen to sell Cumbria as a brand. The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ isn’t aimed just at tourists, locals will use it more.”