National business groups welcomed today’s Budget, particularly the measures aimed at boosting manufacturing and lower energy costs.
The CBI, which had called it a “make-or-break” Budget, said it “will put wind in the sails of business investment, especially for manufacturers”.
Director-general John Cridland, pictured, said it had come at a critical time in the recovery, and as a result, the Chancellor had focussed his firepower on areas that had the potential to lock in growth.
“The CBI has pushed hard for this significant and much-needed energy package that will help keep manufacturing jobs in the UK, while underpinning vital investment in new energy,” he said.
“The doubling and extension of the Annual Investment Allowance, together with making the seed enterprise investment scheme permanent, will be a shot in the arm for many medium-sized businesses.
“On pensions, what’s important is that people on low incomes can make more informed decisions on defined contribution schemes. For many, that will still mean taking advice and buying an annuity, but the increased flexibility will be welcomed.
“We are pleased that the Government has chosen to consult on the implications of making a similar change to defined benefit pensions as stability for these schemes is essential.
“Changes to the ISA system reflect our call to help rebuild a savings culture.”
The Forum of Private Business welcomed many of the measures but said the focus of the Budget had been on larger corporates rather than smaller businesses which it represents.
Chief executive Phil Orford said: “The headlines are on energy policies and export. There are sizeable gains for UK manufacturers here in particular over the next few years. On export the Chancellor has thrown his weight behind getting more businesses exporting.
“Our membership is confident about growth but much of that growth is UK-based so we needed to see such a commitment, though we will continue to work with the Treasury and others to develop even healthier export subsidies for business.
“Overall this was a budget that offers some help to all levels of business, with perhaps a slight focus on the mid-size energy intensive and manufacturing businesses, rather than the very small ones. However, it does help to tackle the cost of energy and makes good on the commitment trailed before the Budget to support those that look to invest, either in the UK – with a more extensive Annual Investment Allowance – or abroad, with a £3bn export support budget.”