Autumn Statement 2013: The reactions

Now that the dust has settled on the shrieking in Parliament, we round up the thoughts of business

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 05 Dec 2013

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is pleased the government listed to their lobbying

'The Chancellor has recognised that businesses are suffering and is right to listen to retailers' concerns on business rates,' Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General, said.

'With the additional measures also announced today on National Insurance, retailers will be encouraged to do even more to support the aspirations of young people across the country.'

The CBI is pretty happy, but thinks more could've been done on energy.

'We have always advocated the dual approach of tackling the deficit and driving growth – the OBR forecasts confirm it is working. Let’s stick with what works,' CBI Director-General John Cridland said.

'But it was a missed opportunity not to support our hard-pressed energy intensive businesses which are also struggling with rising costs, and the package on housing supply could have been more ambitious.'

The Institute of Directors (IOD) loves the sound of surpluses

'This was a pro-business, confidence-building Autumn Statement,' IOD chief economist Graeme Leach said. 'The IoD would welcome a return to surplus much sooner, but we recognise the political realities.'

'The reality is that the Treasury didn’t have much money to play with today, and we can expect more fireworks in the Budget next year.'

Deloitte wants more of the same

'A strong recovery is, at last, eating into government borrowing. Yet the deficit continues to cast a long shadow,' Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said. 'The key to eliminating the deficit is maintaining the pace of the recovery.'

PwC doesn't like complicated pensions

'The plans to review state pension age every five years layers on yet more complexity for workers wanting to plan for their retirement. It is vital that constant changes do not further erode trust in pensions,' Ed Wilson, a director in PwC’s pension team, said.

But it might not all be bad. 'Our analysis suggests an additional four million experienced workers could remain in the workforce once these changes have come through.'

Sainsbury's CFO wants more action on business rates

'Today’s announcement, which breaks the outmoded link between business rate rises and inflation, is a welcome first step towards much needed business rate reform,' Sainsbury's CFO John Rogers said.
'However, business rates continue to place a significant and unfair burden on bricks and mortar retailers in the UK.'

'An urgent rethink of business rates policy is required in order to level the playing field between traditional retailers and online players if we are to avoid an irreversible decline in our towns and high streets.'

So does online payments company Sage

'The 2% cap on rate increases is a welcome first step but it does not go far enough – and any review should happen well before the 2017 date mentioned,' Brendan Flattery, CEO of Sage UK and Ireland, said.

And PeoplePerHour like start-up loans, but want red tape slashed

'The problem for small businesses has not been that lenders don't have cash to lend, it's that there are far too many hoops to jump through and red tape to cut to even get to the front of the line,' Xenios Thrasyvoulou, the online freelancer marketplace's founder, said.

'Unless these funds are really open for businesses, this is just another hollow promise.'

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