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Autumn Statement 2012: initial reactions

This year's Autumn Statement aims to put the British economy back on the road to recovery, according to Chancellor George Osborne. But do businesses agree? We take a look at how some of the UK's leading business groups have reacted to the Chancellor's announcements.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) welcomed the announcement of pro-growth measures but said that these must be implemented sooner than the Government is intending. Many of the Chancellor's plans won't come into effect until 2014 and the BRC's director-general, Stephen Robertson, repeated his call for 'urgent action on growth'. Mr Robertson also expressed disappointment that there was no mention of a business rates freeze, saying that that increase in the Annual investment allowance (AIA) for plant and machinery investment 'won't help retail'.

In its reaction to the statement, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also expressed disappointment at what it saw as a lack of urgency in the Chancellor's plans. The BCC's director-general, John Longworth, acknowledged that the Chancellor had 'taken a number of very positive steps' and that businesses would welcome his efforts to encourage investment in small- and medium-sized companies. But he warned that, unless the Government was willing to radically reassess spending in areas such as overseas aid and welfare, the measures announced in the Autumn Statement amounted to little more than 'tinkering around the edges'.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry director-general, John Cridland, welcomed the Chancellor's statement and praised the fact that he had 'stuck to his guns on deficit reduction'. Mr Cridland also praised the £5 billion investment in infrastructure, saying that 'the Government now has everything to prove by delivering. Businesses need to see the Chancellor's words translated into building sites on the ground'.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) was also encouraged by the measures set out in the Autumn Statement 2012, particularly those around capital allowances, the encouragement of investment in small- and medium-sized businesses and the cancellation of the planned 3p rise in fuel duty. The FSB's national chairman, John Walker, said that the FSB would now ' eagerly await further details on the small business bank' which it had 'long seen playing a central role in opening up finance for small firms'.