Coronavirus: Newcastle business representative NE1 cautiously optimistic after Chancellor's announcement

An organisation that represents 1,400 businesses in Newcastle City Centre has said it is cautiously optimistic they can return to normal after the Coronavirus pandemic ends.

NE1 Ltd said its outlook was slightly more positive after the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced another raft of economic measures on Friday evening to help support business during the global health crisis.

Mr Sunak, the MP for Richmond, announced several measures including Business Rates relief, a VAT holiday for firms and also a move to pay 80% of their staffs' salaries.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced further economic measures on Friday evening Credit: PA Images

Several businesses that spoke to ITV News said the government's move was an aggressive, well-designed package that will potentially make a big difference.

Adrian Waddell, chief executive of NE1 Ltd, said the economic measures were 'unprecedented'.

He said: "The government has tonight announced an unprecedented level of intervention for business that promises to deliver a comprehensive support package giving businesses the certainty that we have all been calling for and lobbying this week."

Companies will now be able to protect jobs by applying for grants to cover up to 80% of workers' salaries up to £2,500 per month. This will help protect millions of jobs that have been threatened by the Coronavirus and take some of the pressure off businesses.

Adrian Waddell, NE1 Chief Executive

However, the Business Improvement District did warn that the Coronavirus' impact was still a considerable challenge.

We welcome the support package but know that the economic challenge is greater.

Adrian Waddell