A group has been set up to assess the economic impact of Covid-19 in Cumbria and support businesses.

The Local Resilience Forum has established a number of sub-groups to support people and businesses during the pandemic, including the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG), which is being chaired by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.

BERRG is responsible for assessing the implications of Covid-19 on Cumbria’s economy and businesses and identifying how these might be addressed, as well as developing and maintaining effective communications so that intelligence is collected and businesses receive the information that they need.

BERRG has over 40 members from across Cumbria’s business, public and voluntary sectors, with meetings held via teleconference at least twice a week.

Regular electronic communication will also take place to make sure that there is real time information over the coming weeks and months.

The group said it would:

  • Assess the economic implications for Cumbria and ensure that accurate and up to date intelligence is collected and disseminated as appropriate;
  • Identify the effectiveness of national and local mitigation activity in maintaining economic and business activity and identify any further mitigation actions;
  • Develop clear and consistent communication channels to ensure that all businesses are aware of the support available to them;
  • Support businesses to continue trading and to manage liquidity during the emergency;
  • Develop an economic recovery strategy, at the appropriate point.

Jo Lappin, Cumbria Local Enterprise chief executive and chair of BERRG, said: “These are clearly unprecedented times and BERRG is focused on the economic aspects of the Local Resilience Forum’s overall strategic aim, which is to protect life; to minimise the impact of the outbreak on health, society and the economy; and to maintain public trust and confidence.

"It is clear already that a number of our businesses are being seriously affected and we need to do everything we can to ensure that they access all of the support currently available to them and to also identify what extra support is needed.

“BERRG recognises that this is a serious issue. However, we want to try and make sure that we have a pragmatic and proportionate response to control and mitigation measures in order to reduce the impact on our businesses and economy.”

BERRG is keen to hear from businesses that want to provide intelligence or need support, with businesses invited to email info@thecumbrialep.co.uk

Businesses can also find the latest information and guidance for employees, employers and businesses on Cumbria LEP’s website.