Business leaders praised Chancellor Rishi Sunak for going “above and beyond” to protect companies still suffering from the coronavirus crisis, although he was warned that thousands of smaller firms are on the brink of collapse.
Tony Danker, director-general of the CBI, said the Budget had succeeded in protecting the economy and kickstarting a recovery, leaving open the question of competitiveness in the long term.
He said: “The Chancellor has gone above and beyond to protect UK businesses and people’s livelihoods through the crisis and get firms spending.
“But moving Corporation Tax to 25% in one leap will cause a sharp intake of breath for many businesses and sends a worrying signal to those planning to invest in the UK.”
Jonathan Geldart, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said the Budget delivered a solid platform for many businesses to relaunch as the economy reopens.
“Restart grants and ongoing business rates relief give a cashflow boost to many firms that will struggle to make full productive use of their properties as restrictions linger.
“Widening income support for the self-employed is a step forward, but the Chancellor missed a trick by not providing grants for company directors, who continue to be left out in the cold.”
“Extensions to furlough, business rates relief and VAT reductions give firms a fighting chance not only to restart, but also to rebuild.
“This Budget provides reassurance to businesses, provided that they are able to restart and rebuild according to the Government’s road map.”
“Ensuring the newly self-employed can now access support marks a big step forward – we’re pleased our campaign has been heard – but directors, who appear to have been left out yet again, will be incredibly disappointed.
“Thousands of small businesses are on the brink of collapse and thousands more are suffering from low confidence as cash reserves dwindle.”
Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, said: “Given the difficult circumstances facing the Chancellor, industry will welcome the certainty and clarity he has provided about the route forward.
“This statement pursues a positive and fair middle road which balances the short-term need to avoid squeezing the recovery before it has started, whilst avoiding any artificial boost given the inevitable strong bounce-back once the economy begins to open up.”