The Chancellor had a big job on his hands with last week’s Budget, with large parts of the economy still shut down and debt levels not seen outside of wartime.
But Rishi Sunak managed to strike a balance between continuing to protect livelihoods while offering hope of a quick recovery.
And there was plenty of good news for the north-east of Scotland.
The first big headline was the decision to extend the furlough and self-employment support schemes to September.
Last week’s HMRC figures showed that there were still 5,400 furloughed workers in Banff and Buchan at the end of January. That was an increase from 3,600 at the end of December.
A further 400 claims for self-employment support were also made in the month up to the end of January, bringing the total to 1,800.
That highlights the importance of avoiding a cliff-edge by cutting off these support schemes too soon.
Instead, the furlough will be tapered off, with employers asked to contribute 10% of wages in July and August.
The reduced 5% VAT rate for hospitality and tourism will go on for another six months, providing a boost for many businesses in Banff and Buchan.
The Universal Credit uplift will also be continued until September.
The Budget also contained a huge vote of confidence in the north-east energy sector and our ambition to become a centre of excellence for energy transition – a concept which is crucial to national net-zero targets.
There will be £27million of investment in the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone, a further £5million for the development of a Global Underwater Hub and an initial £2million for the North Sea Transition Deal.
The Scottish Government will also receive an extra £1.2billion for its budget for the year ahead, which will help to protect our NHS and schools.
This comes on top of the £9.7billion already provided to Holyrood for Covid support and the additional £2.4billion announced at last year’s Spending Review.
I hope that Scottish Ministers put this funding to good use and ensure our councils are provided with enough money to maintain local services.
Alcohol duty was frozen in a move that will boost our local whisky, gin and craft beer producers.
The continued fuel duty freeze will save motorists at the pump – and will benefit our hauliers and exporters.
Elsewhere, first time homebuyers can receive a mortgage guarantee with a deposit of just 5%, a move that should help the market to recover.
Overall, the Chancellor proved again that he will do whatever it takes to get the UK through this crisis and help our economy bounce back as quickly as possible.
There was more good news for the whisky sector on Thursday when the US and UK announced a joint de-escalation of a long-running trade dispute.
The Biden administration has agreed to temporarily suspend tariffs imposed on UK exports – including malt whisky – for four months with a view to finding a permanent solution in that time.
This will come as a huge relief to the industry, which has lost an estimated £500million worth of sales due to the 25% tariffs.
It is also a credit to the UK Secretary of State for Trade Liz Truss – who I know, from personal experience, continues to work relentlessly in the interests of Scottish exporters.