BUSINESSES are today picking over a budget which the Chancellor claimed would “support manufacturers and back all regions of our country”.

The Chancellor revealed that the economy was expected to grow 2.7 per cent in 2014.

Key measures affecting businesses included: n The doubling of the annual investment allowance for business to £500,000, along with the extension of the allowance to the end of 2015.

  • A doubling of the export finance support scheme to £3bn.
  • A £7bn package to reduce energy costs for manufacturers.
  • 15 per cent stamp duty on purchases by companies of homes worth £500,000 or more.
  • Start-up support for new routes from regional airports to emerging markets.

Ian Girling, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the economy was “clearly growing” but remained fragile. He welcomed the doubling of the investment allowance and measures to support exporters.

“The £7bn package to cut energy bills for manufacturers is welcome along with the £200m fund available to repair potholes and the freezing of fuel duty to keep business moving,” he added.

Richard Hill, CEO of Spectrum Housing Group in Christchurch, said: “I see it as extremely positive that the Chancellor continues to see house building as a key part of the economic recovery.

“All the evidence is that investment in building houses generates economic activity.” Richard Mellor, tax director at Mazars, welcomed the doubling of the export finance scheme. “However, it will be interesting to see how quickly and how efficiently this facility will be passed on to businesses,” he said.

Liz Tapley, who runs TaxAssist Accountants in Poole, said: “It’s unlikely that this Budget will do much to change the view from small business that the government is not listening to their concerns.

“Doubling the annual investment allowance is all well and good, but without access to vital finance for growth the measure is meaningless for many local business owners.”

Nigel Smith, managing partner of Ellis Jones Solicitors, said: “The Budget seemed to have something for everyone.”

‘It’s great news for savers’

Savers will be “cheering” the budget, according to a partner at Poole-based chartered accountants and business advisers Princecroft Willis.

Private client service partner Julian Smith said: “There will be cheering in large parts of Dorset as, at last, the government seems to have recognised savers.

“Low interest rates have been good news for mortgage holders but devastating for savers, particularly the retired who rely on their savings to supplement their pension income.”