STRUGGLING Inverclyde businesses fighting for survival in the wake of the coronavirus crisis are fearing mass job losses.

Nearly a third of firms responding to a survey conducted by the district's chamber of commerce say redundancies are looming.

Meanwhile, eight out of 10 companies don't expect to recruit any new staff and nearly half of employees have experienced wage cuts.

Gavin McDonagh, president of Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, said: "In many instances, these results are among the worst over the 30-year history of the survey.

"However, the circumstances of which they have arisen means that they should come as little surprise.

"Covid-19 has drastically halted or limited activity across all sectors of the Scottish and global economy, and Inverclyde with its existing challenges naturally feels this harder than other areas where we have already acquired the dreaded 'Covid capital' tag."

The survey — conducted in May and June — also reveals that cash flow has fallen to record lows for 81 per cent of businesses and 83 per cent have seen cuts to profits.

More than half of firms fear even further decreases in revenue in the coming quarter.

But chamber president Mr McDonagh has welcomed the latest £800 million cash injection for Scotland announced on Wednesday by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Mr McDonagh said: "It is now up to the Scottish Government to work with business and target support where it is most needed — protecting jobs and ensuring young people can access training and support.

"Businesses are eager to do whatever they can to adapt to what will be a testing business environment, which will include changing workplace practices, dramatically evolving business models and re-skilling the workforce, which will be critical across all sectors.

"It is critical that governments in Holyrood and Westminster and Inverclyde Council continue to provide business support for companies during and beyond the easing of lockdown restrictions."

Mr McDonagh warned that a sudden end to 'vital' financial support measures would see a 'tsunami of of jobs disappearing overnight' in the district.

He said: "Inverclyde’s businesses are bruised, and it is still the case some are likely to fail.

"But those that are ready and able to get back to work are showing some signs of confidence they could make it through and prosper."