Business wanted a steady, workmanlike Budget, and that's what we got. The Chancellor listened to our calls to avoid higher business taxes and costs – and indeed moved to lower them in a number of areas. He has finally taken real action to lessen the crushing burden of business rates, and sharpened incentives for entrepreneurship and investment.
While his commitments to key business infrastructure projects are positive, the Chancellor must ensure that they move from the drawing board to speedy construction on the ground. In a softening economy, the combination of sustained infrastructure investment and lower business taxes is important to maintaining the confidence of firms across the country.
Businesses will be pleased that the Chancellor is moving forward on key infrastructure projects, from the Manchester-Leeds rail link to Crossrail 2. However, these projects remain at a very preliminary stage, and businesses won't celebrate exploratory studies and plans that are never realised. The Chancellor needs to push each and every one of the projects announced to the delivery phase to give businesses real confidence, and bring forward projects wherever possible. A decision on airport capacity remains crucial.