CBI: Budget 2014 “Will Put Wind in Investment Sails”
The Confederation of British Industry has applauded investment-boosting measures in the Budget presented by George Osborne, but not everyone has welcomed the announcement so strongly.
The coalition had long been promising that this year’s Budget would be aimed at boosting businesses, but it is unlikely many expected the chancellor to go to the lengths announced last week. Perhaps it isn’t surprising, then, that business has largely welcomed the proposals put forward this week.
Doubling the tax threshold on business investment until the end of 2015, increasing funding for export finance and a cap on the Carbon Price Floor to help firms struggling with energy prices have all been hailed as steps in the right direction. Indeed, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has already said this Budget will “put wind in the sails of business investment, especially for manufacturers”.
“This was a make or break budget coming at a critical time in the recovery and the chancellor has focused his firepower on areas that have the potential to lock in growth,” the big business association said, adding there are still many challenges ahead for the economy.
John Longworth, director general of the British Chamber of Commerce, agreed, praising the “considered measures” to boost growth and create wealth in Britain’s economy. He added that the broad-based approach with included investment, exports and house-building as well as moves towards a more resilient economy “passes the business test”.
Outside of big businesses, the reaction has been less uniform. Saver and pensioner groups have widely acknowledged that reforms to those systems will benefit them directly, offering more choice and flexibility as well as tax breaks on savings accounts. But as the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) has pointed out, the Budget contained relatively little to benefit those who cannot afford to save.
“There was nothing for the young who continue to face the worst job market in decades and unaffordable housing,” says TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.
“Nor was there any relief for low and middle earners who, after years of falling living standards, have no spare cash to take advantage of the help for savers, and who now face year on year cuts in benefits for working families as the welfare cap bites.”
But one thing that was almost universally welcomed was news that employment is improving. Figures were published shortly before the Budget announcement showing that unemployment had fallen by another 63,000 to a total of 2.33 million.
Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG Management Consulting, said that this indicates employers are becoming more confident, willing to make long-term investments in their workforces.
What are your impressions of the impact #Budget2014 has had on Britain? Feel free to share your opinions with us in the comments below!
<Image credit: Patrick Nouhailler/Some rights reserved>
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