A BOLTON based business advisor says signs are good for the borough's recovery from the Covid crisis but admits "partygate" has left the government underfire.

Gareth Smyth, CEO of Wood Street headquartered Hilton Smythe Business Advisers, says that the latest GDP figures show that the economy is once again growing in Bolton and beyond at a faster rate than many other countries in eastern Europe.

But he acknowledged that recent revelations about parties being held at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's residence in Downing Street while the rest of the country was subject to lockdown restrictions has provoked an angry public reaction.

Mr Smyth said: "After a couple of Covid-heavy years, it’s great to see light at the end of the tunnel, particularly for retail businesses.

“Although the Prime Minister is under fire for so-called ‘partygate’, his decisions to buy up vaccines early and to hold back on omicron restrictions, have been vindicated as the UK is now amongst the best recovering economies.

"From our perspective, as business advisers, many people, post-pandemic, are looking to take control of their careers; we’re seeing more buyers approaching us, so the demand for businesses for sale is very high."

The Bolton company specialises in advising people on buying and selling businesses and has been given this accolade thanks to feedback from staff.

As such, Mr Smyth has been in a position to see how confidence has returned to markets after the latest figures, published on January 14, show GDP to have risen above its pre-pandemic level for the first time since the onset of the crisis.

He said: "Now that the GDP is recovering, there is more confidence in the market and businesses are worth more than they were pre-pandemic, making it a great time to sell.

"Many sellers have been very surprised at the value of their business, given how negative the mood has been since 2020.

"I’m delighted to see some positive economic news and a clear indicator that we’re on the road to recovery."