Businesses are battening down the hatches and taking a pragmatic approach to spending as the UK faces further financial uncertainty.

Businesses in Cumbria's tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit particularly hard, with recent statistics from Cumbria Tourism showing that 46 per cent of businesses in the region have experienced a decline in the average spend per customer when compared to pre-covid levels.

Carlisle-based lender, The Cumberland Building Society, has been actively supporting businesses in Cumbria to expand and invest in their future.

Alasdair Swan, Senior Commercial Manager at The Cumberland said: “Supporting people and businesses within our heartland here in Cumbria has been at the core of what we do at The Cumberland for the past 170 years. We want to make a positive difference to people’s lives now and in the future, and we do this in a number of ways.

“Our people-first, face to face approach means that we take a holistic approach when it comes to supporting our customers, taking various aspects into consideration, ensuring that the correct funding structure is put in place.”

Solicitors, realtors, and accountants also play vital roles in managing the expansion process, offering guidance and support to hospitality owners.

While there are certainly challenges, opportunities still exist in Cumbria and the Lake District.

Robbie Mather, Head of Commercial Property at Burnetts solicitors, said: “The hospitality sector in Cumbria is incredibly resilient. Look at what it has had to overcome in the past 20 years alone.

“The opportunities are still strong on the back of the Lake District brand and the worldwide draw that the area has. Those that provide a truly unique experience, coupled with the beauty of the local landscape are those who will thrive.”

Julian Troup, Head of UK Hotels at Colliers real estate agents, echoed this sentiment but also highlighted the volatility of the current economic climate. He said: “We have seen hotels located in remote areas that are trading highly profitably and then there are others located in prime and accessible locations that are hugely underperforming.”

While there are opportunities for businesses to expand, it’s important to avoid the pitfalls which may emerge, such as moving too fast and not hiring additional staff to cope with expansion.

Mr Mather continued: “I would advise those who are successful on expansion plans to have early discussions with their accountant to discuss tax and cash flow planning. They should also speak to legal advisors on business impact, property planning matters and employment requirements, and with their financial lender to discuss access to funds, the amount needed, timings of cash requirements and so on."