By Jonathan Davies

Fifty days ahead of the general election, the Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his sixth and final Budget of this government.

You can see a summary of the major talking points here.

Unsurprisingly, there has been huge reaction from the business community and we've brought together the best of it.

On income tax...

Peter Burgess, Managing Director at Retail Human Resources, said: “The greatest reform this government can claim credit for is the substantial help given to the working poor. This has made a significant difference to millions of people and the fact this was done at a time when the country was in financial problems makes it all the more an achievement. For all of that though, they need to go further. National Insurance payments by both employer and employee should be raised too."

On small businesses...

David Grimes, managing director at My Parcel Delivery, said: "There was... a promise made by the Chancellor for an extension of small business rate relief but we’re only likely to see whether this will actually save us any money when we’ve seen the results of the full business rate review."

Ben Halford, Chief Executive, Surface Generation said: "There are not enough skilled engineers in the UK and now 15% of our workforce is made up of people from other countries. The government should relax immigration laws to make it easier to hire the right staff from outside of the EU irrespective of election pressures.

“Every year, the UK faces a shortfall of over 81,000 people with engineering skills in the workforce and this is threatening the country’s economic recovery. This budget’s tax breaks are paid for by exports. The country needs to double the number of entrants into engineering across all levels of qualification, but in the short-term it must be made easier for employers to recruit from outside of the EU.”

On the 'northern economic powerhouse'...

Dr Mike Kelly, founder and CEO of Manchester-based DataCentred, said: “Infrastructure investment is crucial to creating a connected country but if the Chancellor wants to improve growth and economic standards outside London he must ensure the North is sufficiently digitally connected.

"Only when the North is seen as a significant ‘tech city’ competitor will we have a truly connected country and a thriving Northern Powerhouse.”

Kathy McArdle, CEO of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, said: “I’m very pleased to see a renewed commitment to devolution from the Chancellor today and to a ‘truly national recovery’. Only by giving local authorities the responsibility to invest in their own future will balanced national economic growth become a reality. For too long the focus has been on London so I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of the West Yorkshire deal and his openness to similar opportunities for every region.”

On digital tax returns...

Graeme Swan, EY Managed Services Partner, said: “The decision to start with small businesses is also a logical one and will ensure these firms can spend more time growing their businesses, which is vital to the continued growth of the UK economy, rather than spending valuable time dealing with an overly complex UK tax system."

On tax avoidance crackdown...

Vince McLoughlin, partner at business & tax advisers, Russell New, said: "From an SMEs perspective, without clear and concise guidelines and rolling updates on exactly what is allowable, many were faced with the fear of potential legal and fiscal consequences, therefore were becoming more and more reticent to take advantage of the tax breaks available."

On the Internet of Things...

Neil Crockett, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key area of growth for the UK's digital economy; a factor recognised by the Government with today's investment announcement. We are proud to be a partner in this project, enabling collaboration between innovators, organisations and academics who, together, can put the UK at the forefront of a new wave of business models that will make the UK more competitive and a better place to live. It means that the UK can be IoT leaders rather than just IoT consumers”.

On fuel duty...

Alistair Bingle, Managing Director at removal company, Bishop’s Move, said: "...an unexpected yet very welcome surprise to the removals industry. Coupled with plans to introduce new planning measures aimed directly at addressing the housing shortage, then this has been a very successful Budget for the UK housing market. Let’s not forget this also follows much needed stamp duty reform in the Autumn Statement."

On education...

Michael Mercieca, CEO of Young Enterprise, said: "Whilst recent announcements such as the 20% apprentice wage rise are positive, we had hoped to see more commitment to support education in this year’s Budget. Delivering financial and enterprise education to primary school children and making it a statutory part of the curriculum will increase financial literacy and financial inclusion. It is imperative that we invest in our young people in order to improve young people's life chances and strengthen their communities and the UK’s economy."