Business leaders react to the 2014 Budget

Yesterday we heard the chancellor unveil the 2014 Budget. Business leaders have had a night to mull it over, and this is their verdict.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General

“The Budget will put wind in the sails of business investment, especially for manufacturers.

“This was a make or break budget coming at a critical time in the recovery and the Chancellor has focussed his firepower on areas that have the potential to lock in growth.

“It’s encouraging to see higher than expected growth in the short-term, but as the Chancellor recognised, tough challenges remain ahead, so it’s right that the Budget reflected the fiscal reality.

“The economy needs to rebalance and this Budget will help businesses hungry to invest and export.”

Mark Littlewood, director general at the Institute of Economic Affairs

“This Budget was a missed opportunity to tackle the inequity of millions of earners being dragged into the 40p rate. Under George Osborne nearly 1.5 million more taxpayers are paying this rate. This is an attack on aspiration and entrepreneurship. Whilst the increase in the personal allowance is a welcome move, it should not have come at the expense of tax cuts in other areas.”

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)

“Osborne’s focus on investment, exports, house-building and economic resilience passes the business test. By making a better business environment his top priority, the Chancellor has recognised that successful and confident companies are the key to transforming Britain’s growing economic recovery into one that is felt in homes and on high streets.

“As with any Budget, there were some populist measures that were not at the top of business’s wish list. Luckily, these were far outweighed by considered measures to support business growth and wealth creation.”

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Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

“London is the throbbing engine that powers the UK economy and the government’s Budget recognises the arguments made doggedly to them by myself and my team, which are that with the capital’s population increasing at a simply staggering pace this engine requires more fuel.  The commitments being made today will allow us to motor ahead with putting a platform in place that will allow us to deliver the new homes and jobs that are critical to the continued growth of this great world city.”

BRC director general, Helen Dickinson

“Our customers will welcome the Chancellor’s focus on putting more money in their pockets through changing the tax thresholds, fuel duty and savings and pensions arrangements. The BRC’s projections demonstrate that whilst recovery is now a tangible trend, progress is still fragile and retail can play a strong role going forward provided that consumers feel confident enough to spend.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist

“A tight budget with little room for manoeuvre. Yet again, the Chancellor has failed to overhaul the stamp duty system, with wages well below inflation and rents rising rapidly for years, many have been struggling to save for a deposit, let alone meet a huge tax bill. Helping more buyers to enter at the lower end of the market would have resulted in more movement and transactions, freeing up stagnant property chains and bringing badly-needed housing onto the market.”

Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf

“Confirmation that the government will set a rate of 30% income tax relief for investment in social enterprises is very welcome. The City of London Corporation and Big Society Capital recently published research indicating that a well-constructed tax incentive could generate up to £480m of new investment for the sector over the next five years. This could play a crucial role in underpinning the continued success of the social sector.”

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