The family-owned company, which supplies a range of machinery to a number of industries, availed of the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme through Danske Bank, which enabled it to maintain trading and complete new equipment purchases committed to before the lockdown was enforced.

David Hutchinson, director of CP Hire, said the company had seen momentum building in the Northern Ireland construction sector in early 2020, until lockdown forced it to suspend hiring and collect almost all of its equipment.

He said: “Our customers are from a wide variety of sectors, some of which are essential services, and so in order not to let them down we reduced our operation from seven depots to two and used the government’s furlough scheme, which has been a lifeline.

“Construction could have a difficult time in the short term, however if the government and banks play their part, in the medium term we are hopeful the sector will come through this.”

He added: “Our local government now needs to start spending on infrastructure, give the projects that are shovel ready the go-ahead and start planning for the long-overdue sewage system upgrade.

“A renewed focus on green energy, solar, and wind farms could give the local economy an amazing boost and with the right leadership and vision there is massive potential within the Northern Irish economy. If you give businesses an opportunity, we will adapt, change, and problem solve our way through this.”

Where it is safe to do so CP Hire is bringing its staff back to work. All of its equipment is now sanitised on collection and during its pre-delivery inspection, screens are in place at hire desks and staff in depots are regularly disinfecting workstations and washing their hands.

Speaking about the support provided by Danske Bank, he said: “Right from the off our local manager at Danske has been there for us. Whenever there is so much uncertainty you have to weigh up who your allies are, knowing that the bank is on our side gave us some reassurance and a little more confidence during these unprecedented times of uncertainty.”

Roger Hamilton, Business Manager at Danske Bank said: “We were pleased to be able to support CP Hire by quickly arranging a CBILS loan to help it honour commitments to renew its fleet. The company is well placed to ramp up hiring of its equipment as the lockdown continues to ease and we hope to see a swift return to action across the construction sector.”