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Budget 2012: Business reaction

Business groups and commentators have given initial responses to the Budget announced this afternoon, which Chancellor George Osborne said would 'unashamedly back business', encourage investment and create more jobs.

Whilst many groups welcomed the faster than expected drop in corporation tax to 24 per cent in April 2012, the overall mood suggested that the Chancellor could have stretched the 'further and faster' reforms seen in personal tax to businesses if the UK is to become, in Osborne's words, 'more competitive for business than any other major economy.'

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: "While any tax reduction is welcome, the Chancellor has not done enough to free business from the burdens and barriers that are holding economic growth back.

"George Osborne must go much further if he wants to fire up the engines of the economy. There was a bold move on Corporation Tax, but in the bigger picture this is still not far enough or fast enough."

John Cridland, director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the cut in corporation tax would make the UK more 'internationally competitive' and encourage investment.

"Plans to reduce the top rate of tax to 45p by April 2013 will show our top and aspiring talent that this Government wants them to create wealth here," he also added.

"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. It would have also have been a huge relief if the Chancellor had taken the opportunity to get rid of the currently unworkable Carbon Reduction Commitment."

Welcoming the fiscally neutral Budget, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) was pleased with measures to simplify business taxation for SMEs beginning next year.

With FSB research indicating that half of SMEs spend between two and eight hours calculating and completing tax returns, it welcomed a simplified 'cash accounts' system which, its national chairman John Walker, said would bring 'huge regulatory benefits' to SMEs.

The FSB however, were disappointed that there was no appointment of a Small Business Administration - a cabinet level minister - to strength the voice of SME's within Parliament, and emphasised that businesses would continue to be hit hard by the high level of fuel duty.