Budget 2013: Reaction - Big-ticket spending praised, but retailers bemoan rates rises

 

Businesses hailed the Chancellor's "confidence boosting" Budget but retailers warned of more woe on the high street with nothing to mitigate the forthcoming sharp rise in business rates.

John Cridland, the CBI's director-general, said the business lobby group had made it clear the Budget needed to deliver "a good dose of business and consumer confidence", while being fiscally neutral as the Government continues to grapple with the budget deficit.

Mr Cridland said: "We're particularly pleased our call for a focus on the short-term boost of housing has been heeded, alongside an increase in longer-term big-ticket infrastructure spending.

"This was recognition it was a mistake to cut capital spending so sharply and that other growth-boosting measures were taking too long. But by shifting £6bn to housing and infrastructure, the Government has sown the seeds for growth and jobs." He also hailed the extra penny off corporation tax as making the UK "one of the most internationally competitive locations in which to do business".

Measures to help small business drew a favourable response from him, while the Federation of Small Businesses said the Budget "opens the door for small businesses to grow and create jobs".

John Walker, the federation's national chairman, added: "The Chancellor has pulled out all the stops with a wide-ranging package of measures to support small business."

Mr Walker said the housing initiative would help "reinvigorate" the construction sector and the national insurance cut "goes beyond what we were asking for".

Manufacturers were also broadly positive, although with reservations. Terry Scuoler, the chief executive of the EEF, the manufacturers' trade body, said the Budget "contained some helpful measures on business taxation and, some signs of re-prioritising spending for growth".

However, he warned that it "still feels like a job half done".

Highlighting the £11bn underspend by government departments, he said this should have been used to "fire growth now, particularly through accelerating investment in infrastructure". He called for a shift in government spending "towards growth" in the forthcoming spending round.

Retailers were even less impressed. The British Retail Consortium's director general Helen Dickinson said: "This was the Chancellor's opportunity to maximise retailers' contribution to growth by keeping more money in customers' pockets and leaving retailers with more money they can invest.

"He's done well for hard-pressed households but could have done more to help retail businesses to help him deliver jobs and growth.

"Pressing on with a third successive business rates rise is very disappointing. Freezing rates would have made a real difference to our troubled high streets."

Retailers complain that high business rates are forcing them out of town centres and present huge advantages to their online competitors, many of which, like Amazon, pay little or no UK corporation tax.

Banks also found defenders in the City after the Chancellor announced plans to raise the banking levy so banks aren't able to benefit from the corporation tax cut.

Michael Wistow, the head of tax at the City law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said: "The Government is kicking the golden goose again with this spiteful and populist move against UK banks. Banks need to increase their capital to enable them to lend many multiples of it to kick-start the economy."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable