Budget 2014: The Reaction

Today the Chancellor has delivered the 2014 Budget and with it has announced a range of measures designed to further support our economy and to provide real help to people across the country.

More support will be available for businesses to help our private sector to grow as well as major savings and pension reform.

The reaction from those representing businesses and manufacturing has been very positive.  Below are some of the comments that have been made from organisations such as the Federation of Small Business, the Institute of Directors and the consumer champion, ‘Which?’

Western Morning News – Budget 2014

Western Morning News – Cider duty tax break, pothole cash and air link subsidy for West

Long-term economic plan

  • Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). ‘Today’s unemployment figures indicate further improvement in the jobs market and match reports we’ve been hearing from our members. Many have told us they have recently increased their headcount and they expect to employ more staff in the next quarter. As confidence in the economy grows, it is important that the momentum of previous quarters is maintained and this can only be achieved by maximising the job creation potential of small businesses. As such, the Employment Allowance coming into effect next month is a welcome step. Small businesses are also telling us they are beginning to raise staff pay which is reflected in today’s figures, and this will hopefully continue alongside low inflation so workers see real benefits in their pockets’ (John Allan, FSB Twitter, 19 March 2014).
  • FSB. ‘Welcome focus on manufacturing; increased investment allowance, cuts to energy bills – will create jobs & strengthen this sector’ (FSB Twitter, 19 March 2014).
  • Institute of Directors (IoD). ‘This is a responsible and imaginative budget which should promote growth, exports and investment. It will be widely welcomed’ (IoD Twitter, 19 March 2014).
  • British Property Federation. ‘Win! Very pleased to see consultation on the SDLT treatment of PAIFs and TTFs – could make a real difference to the sector’ (British Property Federation Twitter, 19 March 2014).

Business

  • Forum of Private Business. ‘The headlines for business today 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’ (Phil Orford, FPB Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • FSB. ‘“steady-as-you-go” for business, financial affairs in order, maintaining positive momentum in the economy and fiscal prudence’ (FSB Twitter, 19 March 2014)
  • British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). ‘The Budget passed the business test, says BCC Twitter boss John Longworth’ (BCC Twitter, 19 March 2014).
  • BCC. ‘Chancellor recognises that successful & confident firms are key to transforming Britain’s growing economic recovery’ (BCC Twitter, 19 March 2014).

Housing

  • Home Builders Federation. ‘Extending the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is a very positive move. It will mean more homes are built, allow builders to get on with planning their businesses and employ the people needed to help tackle the country’s housing crisis. Help to Buy has reinvigorated the home building industry, contributed to a sharp increase in new housing starts and allowed thousands of First-Time Buyers onto the housing ladder. This in turn has seen the industry recruiting thousands of staff, including apprentices, so providing an economic boost to the country. We hope a political consensus to continue the scheme is in place before the election’ (Stewart Baseley, awaiting citation, 19 March 2014).
  • FSB.Extending Help to Buy on new build properties and committing to a new development in Ebbsfleet will maintain increasing confidence in the construction sector, which has risen significantly in the past year. To continue to build on this increasing optimism the Government needs to ensure that small firms can access contracts and work. The financial support announced for small house builders will therefore be welcomed’ (FSB Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • Federation of Master Builders. ‘Access to finance is a major stumbling block for viable SME house builders so this government intervention is much needed as many major banks are still reluctant to lend for small residential developments. This additional support will provide the necessary finance to small house builders and help increase the overall supply of new housing through a well-functioning SME sector’ (Brian Berry, FMB Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • British Societies Association. ‘We also welcome the Chancellor’s proposals to boost house building, particularly the extension of Help to Buy: equity loan and the support for self-builders.  Care is needed here that incoming regulation from Europe does not undo this welcome boost for self-build’ (BSA Press Release 19 March 2014).

Manufacturing

  • FSB. ‘Federation of Small Businesses welcome cuts to manufacturing energy bills saying it will help create jobs’ (FSB Twitter, 19 March 2014).
  • EEF. ‘The Chancellor said this would be a Budget for manufacturers and he has delivered on his word. The Government clearly recognises the need to make the competitiveness of the UK a priority. We argued strongly for the need to reduce the rising cost of energy faced by many companies, and he’s acted on that. Taken together with measures to boost investment, exports and skills, the Chancellor deserves a pat on the back. We have always said that to achieve a resilient recovery Government must back manufacturing and we’ve seen that from this Budget’ (EEF Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • Confederation of British Industry (CBI). ‘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. 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’ (John Cridland, CBI Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • Tim Abbot, Managing Director BMW Group. ‘Well for manufacturing the annual investment allowance is going up from £250,000 to £500 – excellent news, inward investment into the UK, help to export as well.  I guess the carbon price floor being frozen as well will make us competitive within Europe.  Great news’ (Tim Abbot, BBC Budget Special, 19 March 2014).

Apprenticeships

  • BCC. ‘With a huge confidence gap still separating employers from young job-seekers, we are very pleased to see the Chancellor heed our call to help firms take on and train tomorrow’s workforce. Overcoming that confidence gap means more investment in young people, more apprenticeships, and more jobs’ (John Longworth, BCC Press Release, 19 March 2014).

Energy

  • FSB. ‘We are pleased to see how seriously the Chancellor is taking the cost of energy. Without addressing the issue, especially in manufacturing, jobs could be lost to abroad’ (FSB Press Release, 19 March 2014).

Infrastructure

  • FSB. ‘Half (54%) of FSB members say problems with the UK’s road infrastructure costs their business up to £2,500 a year; a fifth say it has cost more. Recent flood damage has exacerbated the problem. The £200 million fund to repair potholes shows the Government is finally recognising the more prominent transport challenges for small firms and the importance of local roads to run and grow their business’ (FSB Press Release, 19 March 2014).

Flooding

  • FSB. ‘The Government has been very supportive towards businesses and households hit by the severe flooding earlier this year’ (FSB Press Release, 19 March 2014).

Fuel

  • FSB. ‘No fuel duty rise – welcome news to small firms struggling with the fluctuating cost of fuel’ (FSB Twitter, 19 March 2014).

Pensions and savers

  • Which. ‘The Budget brings a welcome shake up for struggling savers who too often get a raw deal. Hiking the ISA limit will encourage more consumers to save, although we also now need to see more competitive interest rates from banks that have slashed these repeatedly in recent years. The overwhelming majority of people who buy an annuity from their existing provider could get a better deal on the open market, so today’s announcement should help stop millions of people from losing out on thousands of pounds of retirement income. The key to making this work will be a requirement on providers to give consumers high quality, impartial advice on their options across the whole of the market, with maximum protection at this critical time in their financial lives’ (Richard Lloyd, Which Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • IoD. ‘Some predicted a worse treatment for pensions, what we have heard is a significant improvement!’ (Stephen Herring, IoD Twitter, 19 March 2014).
  • BSA. ‘The BSA has campaigned for years for the reformation of the ISA rules.  Finally the Chancellor has listened and we are delighted that he has done exactly what we have been calling for:  Increased the limit; delivered a single allowance which no longer penalises savers who want to invest in cash and allowed the transfer of funds in either direction between cash and stocks & shares ISAs.  This will benefit many mid and lower income savers, especially those nearing retirement.  We are also pleased that he has accepted the need to reform the 10p tax rate on savings, this new 0% rate must be simple for savers to claim’ (BSA Press Release, 19 March 2014).

Carbon Floor Price

  • EEF. ‘EEF asked & Chancellor has delivered. Freeze in the Carbon Price Floor & RO/ Small Scale FITs compensation’ (EEF Economists Twitter, 19 March 2014).

Alcohol

  • ACS. ‘We welcome the scrapping of the alcohol duty escalator and the decision to reduce beer duty by 1p, which will benefit consumers and reduce some of the pressure on local shops losing trade to the illegal market’ (James Lowman, ACS Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • FSB. ‘The 1p cut to the price of a pint will help publicans and responsible drinkers across the country’ (FSB Press Release, 19 March 2014).
  • Andy Wilson, Managing Director of the White Horse Brewery. ‘I was so excited he decided not to put the beer duty up and also got rid of the beer escalator which gives us all now a chance to invest into our businesses, get more equipment but it’s really good that someone has now listened to the brewery and pub industry and is working with us.  It’s tremendous’ (Andy Wilson, BBC News, 19 March 2014).
  • Mike Benner, Chief Executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). ‘This is not only about keeping the price of the pint affordable in British pubs, but helping an industry which has been in overall decline continue on its long road to recovery.  CAMRA cares greatly about the future of the Great British pub and it is clear from this Budget announcement that the Government does too.’
  • Julian Grocock, Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).  ‘SIBA’s Budget submission to the Treasury this year was based on the very positive impact of the 2013 duty cut on the local brewing industry.  Our members now feel more confident about the long-term prospects for their breweries, and are investing in them by buying new equipment, recruiting new staff or opening new pubs.’
  • Nigel Wright, Chief Operating Officer for TCG.  ‘The Budget really is positive news for the trade.  Another reduction in the rate of duty on beer, along with the freeze in cider duty, is particularly good news, especially in a World Cup year.  A well-served pint at the pub is an essential accompaniment to meeting friends or watching the match for millions of consumers, and it’s important that it remains an affordable treat.’

Air passenger duty

  • IoD. ‘Announcements on export finance and cut in Air Passenger Duty very welcome for UK exporters’ (IoD Twitter, 19 March 2014).
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