Carolyn Fairbairn (pictured)
This was a breakthrough budget for skills. There has never been a more important time for the UK to sit at the global top table of technical education for young people. Firms will be looking for ongoing partnership with the Government as they try to make the Apprenticeship Levy work. However, with inflation rising and the cumulative burden weighing on businesses’ shoulders, limited relief for firms hit hard by business rates falls short. Firms are wholly committed to the health and wellbeing of their people, and are pleased to see an increase in spending on social care. Businesses will be pleased to see the Chancellor’s continued watchful eye on getting the deficit down and avoiding surprises.
Chairman, Entrepreneurs’ Forum
The freeze of excise duty on beers and spirits is welcome as these British industries already bear a heavy tax burden and in the post-Brexit world we need them to grow, both domestically and abroad, to create the jobs and wealth necessary for the country’s future prosperity. The increase in National Insurance for the self-employed is designed to close a loophole, but for some aspiring entrepreneurs this is another reason not to take the bold step into self-employment and ultimately build a business, which in the future could employ others.
Managing associate, Bond Dickinson
The shift in emphasis in Government policy starting with the Autumn Statement and furthered in the Housing White Paper was a welcome change, putting the role of investors in new build Private Rented Sector (PRS) property front and centre. But the Spring Budget missed the opportunity to build on those promises with anything substantive and once again, the chance to mitigate the three per cent SDLT (stamp duty land tax) surcharge on additional residential properties was not seized.
Chief executive, Barratt Developments plc
I applaud the measures announced to support the UK’s economy, particularly on skills. With 350,000 workers having left construction since the financial crisis, there is a real need to bring more young people into the industry with new skills, so the announcements today are important. Equally important is the need to maintain high quality standards in the drive to build more homes. As a five-star rated builder this is something we recognise and are focused on.