MORE than 80 jobs have been saved at an axe-threatened St Helens firm - with the local economy finally starting to show signs of the green shoots of recovery.
Sutton-based Cross Services Engineering, which was placed into administration a fortnight ago, was saved by an eleventh-hour rescue deal, securing 83 out of 120 jobs.
The firm, which was set up in 1988 and at one time boasted an annual turnover of £13m, has been partially bought out by engineering solutions firm Boulting Group.
Boulting chief executive Mike Groarke said: “The industry in which the company operated has suffered because of the economic downturn and, as suppliers of electrical and mechanical engineering, they were intrinsically linked to the savage market conditions of the construction sector.
Meanwhile bosses at St Helens Chamber say domestic markets have finally returned to growth following several quarters in the red.
Sales improved in manufacturing from April-June and future order books look healthier, with further tentative job growth now predicted between July and September.
Meanwhile, the local service sector reported a return to pre-recession sales - returning the sector to growth for the first time since early 2008.
Job growth in the service sector was double the predicted level.
Tracy Mawson, (pictured) St Helens Chamber’s director of business services, said: “A number of business surveys, including ours, show that businesses are more optimistic than many of the Government economic indicators suggest.”
Many of our members tell us they don’t identify with such pessimistic statistics and are cautiously optimistic.
“Whilst our latest economic results are positive, they underline the need for bold action to ensure growth. Local businesses are busting a gut in an uncertain environment and they will need to continue to do so.”
She added: “If we want companies to accept uncertainty as the new norm, then they must be met with bold Government action to enable them to grow in the long term. Without Government working together with business, the economy will continue to bump along for longer than we’d all like.
“If the Government wants businesses to invest and grow at a time of global uncertainty, it needs to generate stability and a better business environment at home in order to galvanise business confidence.”