A raft of measures has been announced in the Second Budget with the intention of promoting the UK as a leading place for businesses to operate.
Chancellor George Osborne said in his Budget Speech: ‘We’re giving businesses the lower taxes they can count on, to grow with confidence, invest with confidence and create jobs with confidence’.
Responding to the Government’s new plans to create more apprenticeships, Jonathan Cridland, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said: ‘Firms want to play their part in training up more apprentices but an apprentice levy is a blunt tool.
‘A volunteer army is always better than conscription but the CBI will work with the Government to make the best effect of this measurement.’
John Allen, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: ‘We agree with the focus on productivity but need to see the details to raise skills through the apprenticeship levy on large firms.
He also responded to the new national living wage, due to reach £9 per hour by 2020, saying: ‘Even though offset by a welcome increase in the employment allowance, some will find the new national living wage challenging.’
General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Frances O’Grady, welcomed the measure, saying: ‘The Chancellor has finally woken up to the fact that Britain needs a pay rise’.
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD) also welcomed the wage increase, adding that the majority of IoD members already pay their staff a living wage.
He remained critical of some aspects, saying: ‘Unfortunately, Osborne has not been quite so bold in all areas. The annual investment allowance has been fixed for five years, but at far too low a rate of £200,000. This will not help as many small and medium sized businesses to invest for the future’.