Osborne Budget 2

John Midgley, global public policy at Intuit QuickBooks, said: "Many of our customers will be among the 600,000 who will pay no business rates from April 2017 when rate relief is increased to £15,000. This has been a long standing concern for many businesses and important given the additional costs small business owners will face this year."

Chris Bryce, chief executive of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, said: “We’re deeply disappointed the Chancellor has ignored the concerns of people working through personal service companies, with no desire to become employees... [But] The Chancellor’s move to abolish Class 2 NICs is a long overdue and welcome step... Cutting Corporation tax is a welcome move to support businesses of all sizes."

Mark Beatson, chief economist for the CIPD, said: “The Chancellor is right to want to build a solid future for the next generation but the solution to the UK’s productivity problem lies largely with this generation, some of which still have another 40 or more years of work ahead of them."

Bhuwan Kaushik, CEO of Spectromax, said: “It’s worrying to see that while the Chancellor has recognised the significance of digital to the UK economy, he’s not willing to provide incentives for employers to offer on-the-job training to correct the skills gap now."