Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has called on the government to take 'urgent action' in order to help businesses recover post-Omicron.

Businesses nationally and in the county have faced huge problems post Covid, with a fall in output during December as Omciron hit activity, they said.

This comes after a statement from the Chief Economist for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Rain Newton-Smith, spoke out about high costs and supply shortages for businesses.

Rain said: “The UK economy saw a lacklustre end to the year hit by the emergence of the Omicron variant and Plan B restrictions.

"While the worst of the impact appears to be over, firms are still grappling with supply shortages and cost pressures, while households are facing a looming cost of living crisis.

“We’re caught in a low growth trap, and the only way to get out is a relentless focus on competitiveness.

"A 100% permanent investment deduction can trigger a chain reaction of business spending across the whole economy.

"And a future-focused approach to regulation and skills will be vital to help us avoid another lost decade of growth.”

Suzanne Caldwell, Managing Director of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: "While on the face of it these figures appear very positive, with GDP holding steady growth in the fourth quarter, the resilient headline figure does in fact hide a loss of momentum following a strong November, with a fall in output during December as Omicron hit activity.

"Although 2021 was a record year for the UK economy this reflects the data distortions caused by comparison with the collapse of 2020 more than reality on the ground, and those in business know only too well what a difficult year it has been.

"Despite a temporary boost from the lifting on Plan B restrictions, the UK economy is facing a materially weaker 2022 with the crippling burden of inflation continuing to rise, soaring energy bills and higher taxes on both businesses and consumers. As well as significant staffing issues and supply chain challenges.

"These aren’t issues which businesses can resolve alone.

"The Government needs to take urgent action to limit the huge surge in costs facing businesses, including financial support for those struggling with huge energy bills and delaying the National Insurance increase.

"Businesses need support to be able to keep a lid on prices and power the recovery.

"Alongside this delay of the National Insurance increase alongside more significant and effective support with fuel bills would help struggling households and bolster demand.”