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2012 Autumn Statement: the business reaction

Business groups have given their reactions to Chancellor George Osborne’s 2012 Autumn Statement, with many welcoming the measures on capital allowances, together with the confirmation of a new £1bn Business Bank, and the cancellation of the 3p rise in fuel duty planned for January.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also welcomed the announcements on transport infrastructure and ultra-fast broadband.

However, the FSB expressed disappointment that the Chancellor did not extend the regional national insurance contributions holiday to all UK small firms, and has called on Mr Osborne to reconsider the issue in his 2013 Budget.

Meanwhile, John Cridland of the Confederation of British Industry welcomed the Chancellor’s statement, commenting, ‘The Chancellor has stuck to his guns on deficit reduction – avoiding deeper cuts or more borrowing in order to retain international credibility’.

However, Mr Cridland said that businesses ‘now need to see the Chancellor’s words translated into building sites on the ground’.

The British Chambers of Commerce acknowledged the focus on investment incentives, but warned that the revised forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) remain ‘ambitious’, comparing the OBR’s growth predictions of 1.2% for 2013 and 2% for 2014, with their own predictions of 1% and 1.8%, respectively.