• Almost half (49%) of North East businesses support the pace of easing lockdown restrictions, while 35% would have preferred a faster lifting of restrictions  
  • Two-thirds (66%) say they can operate at close to full capacity when restrictions are lifted 

North East businesses largely support the pace of easing of 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 are lifted from Monday, 12 April.  

When asked whether their business would have preferred or benefitted from a different pace of easing49% said they preferred neither a faster nor slower easing of restrictions. However, a net balance of 35% of firms said they would have preferred a faster route out of lockdown and just 16% said they would have preferred a slower easing of restrictions. The majority of those questioned (66%) said they will be able to operate at 80% capacity or more when restrictions for their sector are 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.

The North East saw the greatest increase in business optimism of all UK regions in March, with confidence jumping 25 points month-on-month to 26on the back of the Government unveiling its roadmap out of lockdown.

Steve Harris, regional director for the North East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: Business confidence in the North East surged between February and March, with many firms feeling more optimistic about their trading prospects for the coming months as the economy begins to reopen.  

Businesses in the North East are eager to reopen their doors after an extremely difficult year and we’ll continue to stand by their side as they begin to ramp-up trading.”