Jonathan Werran 22 March 2012

Budget 2012: Business reaction

Business leaders have given a mixed reaction to the Chancellor's Budget, welcoming its fiscally neutral stance but calling for greater deregulation measures to boost growth.

John Cridland, CBI general-director lauded the chancellor for having 'stuck to his guns and delivered a fiscally neutral programme'.

'If businesses were looking for more, it was in the area of deregulation. For smaller businesses, things may not feel very different on the ground,' Mr Cridland said.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) echoed this view, lamenting the continued failure to appoint a Cabinet minister to champion the rights of small firms at the heart of Government.

John Walker, national chairman of the FSB said: 'This is a missing link to ensuring that all initiatives have the maximum impact for small firms.'

Mr Walker welcomed the renewed focus on the roads network, claiming poor conditions cost small businesses £5,000 a year due to congestion and maintenance.

Chief executive of the British Property Federation, Liz Peace expressed herself satisfied the struggling property industry would suffer no serious harm from the Budget and welcomed the 'pro-growth stance' of the National Planning Policy Framework - set to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Ms Peace said: 'Greater clarity concerning the transitional arrangements is desperately needed, and it is crucial that local authorities receive significant support to get local plans in place.'

But she said the £150m for Tax Increment Finance (TIF) schemes – allowing local authorities to borrow against future revenues – 'seems like very small beer after years of preparatory work'.

'It's also disappointing that, 18 months after TIF was announced as government policy, we have yet to see any detail about how it will work, and we are only promised details 'in the coming months' about how the government will decide which schemes get the go-ahead,' Ms Peace said.

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