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Budget 2013: Businesses welcome 'bold' measures

Business groups have broadly welcomed Chancellor George Osborne's Budget 2013 measures, which included an employer's allowance for national insurance contributions (NICs).

The Employment Allowance will give businesses £2,000 a year towards their employer NICs bill from April 2014.

George Osborne said the move would remove 450,000 small businesses, equivalent to one third of all employers in the UK, from paying any kind of jobs tax. It will also help small businesses to take on their first employee or expand their work force.

Making the announcement he said: "For the person who's set up their own business, and is thinking about taking on their first employee - a huge barrier will be removed."

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who have long campaigned for a NICs holiday, called the measure a 'bold move'.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) also welcomed the employer allowance and applauded the reduction in the corporation tax rate to 21 per cent in April 2014, and 20 per cent in 2015.

Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, said: "Britain must become the most competitive place to do business, and lower taxes will attract welcome investment from abroad."

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) approved much of the speech but criticised both the lack of action on business rates and the fact that businesses would not be able to take advantage of the employer allowance until 2014.

John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: "The CBI was clear this Budget needed to deliver a good dose of business and consumer confidence, while being necessarily fiscally neutral."

He added: "While plans to boost capital spending on big ticket infrastructure projects from 2015 will be welcome, businesses will be impatient to see where this money will flow to in the Spending Review."