Note of caution from Wolverhampton business leader after Prime Minster' speech
The boss of a major building supplies business says he is not sure how quickly it will get back to normal levels of trade.
Henry Carver, managing director of family business Carvers in Wolverhampton, was speaking after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech in Dudley when he unveiled a £5 billion investment plan.
His message was "Build, build, build" but Mr Carver's response was cautious.
"We've faced recessions and we know we come out of them," said Mr Carver, a member of the steering group of Wolverhampton Business Forum.
"We take a long term view and try to keep as many people as possible, but we've never faced a pandemic and I'm not sure how quickly we'll come back to the normal level."
He added on the Government's response to the pandemic: "They've spent so much money, so what the hell's going to happen in the future?"
David Hillan, managing partner of Grant Thornton in the Midlands said: “It’s significant that this keynote speech was made in the Midlands and all the language is about levelling-up. We welcome the Prime Minister’s positive tone and focus on finding opportunity amid the enormous challenges we face as a country.
"‘Build, build, build’ will certainly make a difference in sectors like construction. Perhaps the pandemic really can address long term issues such as solving the housing crisis and the slow pace of change and lack of investment in our transport infrastructure, which holds back the UK regions."
Mr Hillan said detail from the Chancellor was awaited about measures to support entrepreneurs and some of the hardest hit sectors, not least automotive, manufacturing, hospitality and leisure.
"We’d like a focus on increasing the support available for research and development spend as there is a very real fear businesses will cut back on spending here," he said.
"The entire industrial strategy is built around the idea we can drive growth through innovation. To restart the economy, we need to continue to develop a highly skilled workforce, with intellectual property at the fore.
"We know that digital is the golden thread running through the Midlands economy and a key to improving productivity. We can’t afford for innovation to get side-lined now."