A SHADOW cabinet minister met with Cumbrian business owners this week to discuss what the Government needs to do to support business.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Bridget Phillipson, met with business owners and Carlisle city councillor Colin Glover on Thursday.

It came as the Government prepares to announce Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s latest Budget in March.

Miss Philipson spoke with Matthew Bond, the MD of Cito Facilities, and Mike Davis, who runs a tourist information business.

Speaking to the News and Star after the meeting, Miss Phillipson said their concerns echoed those raised across the country.

She said: “Many businesses have had to take on debt, and they shouldn’t have to do that until they’re growing again. What I’ve heard chimed with what I’ve heard from businesses across the country.

“They need continued action from the Government. I think there was real signs of frustration in the way that the Government has approached the pandemic.

“Businesses need a long-term plan. It’s about more than the road map as we emerge from the pandemic.

“I think, coming out of this terrible pandemic we must seize the opportunity to resolve the deep inequalities in our country and take Britain forward.

“In the short term, what I have heard is the need for greater clarity from Government.”

Miss Philipson also discussed Labour’s plan for “smart” furlough, whereby furloughed workers would have the chance to learn new skills.

She added: “We want this to be the last national lockdown, but that requires a careful easing of restrictions.

“When we do emerge, we don’t want to see good businesses go bust and people lose their jobs because of Government inaction.”