The organisation dedicated to representing the county's vital tourist industry has welcomed the chancellor's new package of financial support to protect jobs amid rising Covid-19 cases.

Cumbria Tourism is "pleased" that the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, yesterday introduced fresh measures designed to protect jobs and improve cashflow for businesses, ahead of the "challenging" winter period and a possible second wave of Covid-19.

It was announced yesterday that the Government will pay a portion of the salaries of those who have not yet been able to return to work for the next six months.

Other measures, such as the continued reduction in VAT, have been welcomed by Cumbria Tourism managing director Gill Haigh as beneficial to the county's tourist industry.

“The devil is in the detail, but we are pleased that today’s statement acknowledges the very specific challenges for the tourism sector, given that businesses were unable to open for almost four months in the usually buoyant summer season," Mrs Haigh said yesterday.

She stressed that the county was still yet to see the "longer-term impact of a £1.5billion loss to Cumbria’s tourism industry amid continuing restrictions and uncertainty".

However, Mrs Haigh praised the new measures for their likely positive effect on cashflow for "many tourism operators", according to "initial responses" from member businesses.

"The continued reduction in VAT will be particularly welcomed, there is good news for those who have taken out Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and it’s great to see employers being actively supported to bring people back to work," she said.

"We are certainly looking forward to hearing more detail about today’s announcement, particularly around the new successor loan scheme planned for January.

“At the same time, we need to recognise that there are concerns it may be too late for some businesses, and some will continue to find it difficult to access the new measures and there is a question mark over what happens if there is another national lockdown."

Mrs Haigh added this is something Cumbria Tourism will be "monitoring closely."

“Cumbria Tourism’s research team will be continuing its in-depth business tracker research over the coming months to ensure we have strong, up-to-date information about the impact of the new measures," she said.

"We can then use this evidence to directly inform national decision-makers and make the strongest possible case for Cumbria if additional targeted support is needed further down the line.”