It has been an eventful few weeks - the UK Budget has been announced and we have had more detail on the phased lifting of restrictions in Scotland. And there is good news on several fronts which will help our businesses plan with a level of confidence.

The extension of the furlough scheme is a major boost which will help businesses retain as many jobs as possible and support employees in Dunbartonshire, across Scotland and the UK.

The extension of VAT reduction for the hardest hit sectors and investment incentives is welcome and the widening of the self-employment support scheme for the army of self-employed people is of crucial importance and will provide vital relief through the coming months.

There are still, however, businesses that have fallen between the gaps that need support to help them survive the difficult months ahead.

The super deduction investment incentive is key to encourage investment which will support economic recovery and productivity.

Indicative dates for re-opening of businesses in Scotland will enable many to start planning and preparing to resume trading with confidence and optimism.

In particular, the intention to relax travel restrictions should support the viability of tourism, hospitality and retail.

Restart grants should also help businesses in these sectors to hit the ground running and meet pent-up demand.

There is still a lot of work to be done to plan for the re-opening of the remaining sectors of the economy.

The Chamber Network is now looking to engage on the granular detail of the levels, associated criteria and trigger points, and will work with government to help enable that to be done as quickly and as safely as possible, in line with the continued successful roll-out of the vaccination programme.

The Scottish and UK Governments must now collaborate more than ever before to make sure businesses and jobs remain protected until we are well on the road to economic recovery.

Support for skills and the development of our workforce is key to building back a strong economy.

The Chamber has been front and centre of this activity to encourage businesses to upskill their staff and to provide new opportunities.

As well as promoting Modern Apprenticeships we are also an intermediary for the Government-funded Kickstart Scheme which provides funding for six months to pay a 16-24 year old for 25 hours a week plus £1,500 for related costs such as training or equipment.

To find out more and connect with the Chamber, call 0141 280 0272, email admin@dunbarton or see