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Autumn Statement 2015: Your reaction

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Last week saw George Osborne deliver his first Autumn Statement as the Chancellor of the Conservative Government. As always, UK business owners were sat on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what the news means for them.

Feedback seems largely positive, with UK businesses enthused by the decisions made. We spoke to our readers to find out more.

CEO of Rated People, Celia Francis was largely pleased with the outcome. She commented, “Tradespeople are the lifeblood of the British economy and we’re pleased to see that 600,000 small businesses will gain from a rate-relief scheme for one more year – these sole traders and entrepreneurs deserve incentives and support on the road to recovery.

As the sharing economy grows, in the last year we’ve had £1.3bn worth of jobs posted by homeowners, which have been carried out by small businesses and sole traders on Rated People.

It’s extremely welcome news to hear that the rumoured doubling of the housing budget has rang true rising to £2bn with a promise to deliver 400,000 affordable new homes by 2020. This is not only good news for potential homeowners, but for tradespeople all over the UK too who deserve the government’s full backing.”

For Nick Baveystock, Director General at Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), he believes The Chancellor’s commitment to capital investment for new infrastructure projects – combined with the drive to increase devolution, innovation and apprenticeships – provides a strong platform for the next five years.

Baveystock comments, “The recently established Infrastructure Commission will also ensure that plans for new infrastructure are based on unbiased analysis of our needs. We hope to see the same level of commitment from Government in maintaining our existing infrastructure – we await more detail on how the cuts to operational budgets will affect funding for the upkeep of flood defences and local roads. We must maintain a balance between capital and maintenance budgets if we are to deliver infrastructure that gives the right level of service and connectivity, operates effectively for as long as possible, and helps to support a prosperous economy.”

The Chancellor’s decision to increase the number of Enterprise Zones to 26 was music to the ears of Louise Boland, Managing Director at Opus Energy. She believes this signals a clear intent to continue boosting British business and our economy, “Enterprise Zones have created 19,000 jobs, helped 540 businesses and attracted over £2.2 billion pounds of private sector investment; and the continuation of this scheme will no doubt benefit our SME community and upskill our workforce by encouraging a diverse range of multi-sector businesses.”

Boland continues, “SME confidence is at a two year low, and as a driving force of UK business, we as a country need to give these small businesses as much help and relief as possible. One way to achieve this is via Enterprise Zones. Discounted business rates provide a good financial platform to build on, along with the exposure to foreign investment which helps drive employment and tax revenues, so it makes clear sense to extend this successful formula. Zones such as these will help to rebalance the economy, helping us to move away from our reliance on financial services in the capital and ensure we are at the forefront of global industries.”

Do you agree? How do you expect the Autumn Statement to impact your business? Share your thoughts below.