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Welsh Firms Back Pace of Covid-19 Lockdown Easing

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Almost half of Welsh businesses support the pace of easing of lockdown restrictions, according to the latest data from Lloyds Bank Commercial banking research, with two thirds ready to operate at close to full capacity when COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease in the weeks ahead.

When asked whether their business would have preferred or benefitted from a different pace of easing, 49% said they preferred neither a faster nor slower easing of restrictions. However, a net balance of 33% of firms said they would have preferred a faster route out of lockdown and 18% said they would have preferred a slower easing of restrictions. In polling conducted during the first two weeks of March, nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) said they planned to operate at 80% capacity or more when restrictions in their sector began to be lifted.

The results of the research come a week after Lloyds Bank’s Business Barometer research revealed that UK business confidence reached a one-year high during March, with a quarter (25%) of firms saying they were planning to create new jobs in the 12 months ahead.

Confidence among businesses in Wales reached a 13-month high in March, climbing 14 points month-on-month to 9%.

Amanda Dorel, regional director for Wales at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:

“Many businesses are happy with the pace of the Welsh Assembly’s easing of restrictions so far, although it’s clear that some had hoped for trading to recommence sooner. Despite this, it’s promising that many say they will operate at close to full capacity as restrictions in their sector are lifted.

“The roadmap outlined by the First Minister last week has given further clarity across all sectors, who can now begin to prepare for reopening with more certainty. Whatever the sector, we’ll stand by the side of Welsh firms as they navigate the road to recovery.”