Commenting on GDP figures for Q2 2020 published today by the ONS, Doncaster Chamber Chief Executive Dan Fell said:

“Over the last decade we have witnessed the transformation of Doncaster’s economy – however, heading into lockdown all Team Doncaster partners recognised that there was still significant work to do when it came to diversifying our economy and creating more highly skilled jobs. Unfortunately, our economic profile means we are at more risk to economic shocks than other more affluent areas of the UK with different sectoral mixes.

“Today’s ONS figures act as yet another severe reminder of the huge economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and we know that Doncaster, sadly, is likely to be at the sharp end of that impact.

“We have witnessed long-term economic scarring in Doncaster before and we cannot get left behind again. That is why Government must do more to restore business and consumer confidence and fully commitment to its ‘levelling-up’ agenda by initiating key infrastructure projects in Doncaster and Yorkshire.

“Additionally, Government needs to grant the Sheffield City Region the money and resources it needs to deliver the Renewal Action Plan in order to assist businesses to stabilise and diversify, to get people into training and jobs, and maximise emerging opportunities in areas such as the green economy.”

BCC Head of Economics Suren Thiru said: “The UK suffered an historic contraction in economic activity in the second quarter as the coronavirus closed large parts of the economy. The dominant services sector suffered particularly badly in the quarter, with consumer-focused firms hit hardest by the pandemic.

“While there was a pick-up in activity through the quarter from the historically weak April outturn, this is more likely to reflect the release of pent-up demand as the economy gradually opened, rather than an indication of a sustained revival.

“With restrictions steadily easing, the second quarter is likely to prove to be the low point for the UK economy. However, the prospect of a swift ‘V-shaped’ recovery remains remote as the recent gains in output may fade over the coming months as the economic damage caused by the pandemic increasingly weighs on activity, particularly as the government support measures wind down.

“Against this backdrop, bold action is needed to immediately inject confidence back into the UK economy. This should include supporting businesses to retain staff through a cut in employer national insurance contributions and targeted support to help businesses placed under local lockdowns.”