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2024 Spring Budget - the business reaction

06 Mar 2024

Business groups have reacted to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget speech.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the Chancellor 'had to perform a tricky high wire balancing act of giving momentum to the economy without sacrificing hard-earned progress on bringing down inflation'.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Executive of the CBI, commented: 'The reduction in high marginal tax rates for working parents, alongside cutting national insurance contributions (NICs), offers a broad set of measures that will incentivise work at a time when access to labour represents a major obstacle to business growth.'

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that whilst the Budget 'boosts jobs', an 'economic challenge remains'. Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, stated: 'Following the Autumn Statement this Budget was always set to deliver less for business, although changes to national insurance will provide some momentum.

'However, beyond this there were no major announcements to help shift the dial on conditions for business. Business confidence is improving but the coming months will remain challenging for many companies. It is vital that the economy remains front and centre of the campaign to come.'

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) stated that it was 'pleased to see a package of small business support in the Budget'. Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair at the FSB, said: 'We welcome [the] increase in the VAT threshold as well as the cut to self-employed NICs.

'Elsewhere, we were pleased to see a package of small business support in the Budget documents, including commitments to make progress on the HMRC administrative burden and on the national roll-out of the Business Energy Advice Service, as well as extending the Recovery Loan Scheme under a new name – the Growth Guarantee Scheme. Small firms are crucial for economic growth, and we were glad the Chancellor has said that clearly from the despatch box.'

The Institute of Directors (IoD) branded the Spring Budget 'unremarkable' for businesses. Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the IoD, said: 'First and foremost, business was hoping for a Budget that would maintain a stable and credible policy framework for business. The Chancellor largely delivered that. However, beyond that, there was little in the announcements that can be regarded as a game-changer for business.'

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