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Business reacts to Autumn Statement announcements

The UK’s leading business organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has given a broad welcome to the 2011 Autumn Statement, which it has described as the Government’s “Plan A Plus” in all but name.

John Cridland, CBI Director General, said, ‘This Autumn Statement works with the realities of today and provides an imaginative framework for UK businesses as it strives to secure growth and jobs’.

‘We particularly welcome the new emphasis on capital spending, and the measures to leverage private sector investment on infrastructure for roads and energy’.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has labelled the Autumn Statement ‘a step in the right direction’ for small firms.

According to the FSB, the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme will allow small firms to bypass the high street banks and access alternative sources of finance. The business group also welcomed the additional funds being made available to small businesses through the credit easing scheme.

However, the FSB expressed its concerns that guaranteeing the loan books of existing high street banks ‘may service to reinforce their market position’, and has called on the Government to go further to promote alternative forms of finance and increase competition in the banking sector.

John Walker, FSB National Chairman, said, ‘Taken as a package, the announcements in the Autumn Statement address many of the concerns raised by small businesses and are therefore to be welcomed. The key now is for the Government to be consistent, and set to the task of translating these policy intentions into tangible actions on the ground’.

The British Chambers of Commerce also welcomed a number of the measures announced by the Chancellor, but warned that UK businesses remain concerned about the wider economic environment.