The 2016 Budget has received widespread applause from the business community, following reforms of business rates, cuts to Corporation Tax and the abolishing of National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed.
We've gathered reaction from around the UK's business community. You can see a summary of the Budget here.
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: "They [small businesses] will welcome measures including more relief on business rates and cuts to capital gains tax, and a further corporation tax reduction coming in a few years. Business leaders and workers alike will be pleased with increases to the income tax personal allowance and the higher rate thresholds next year, while the introduction of a lifetime ISA will be a big boost for young people who have been put off by the inflexibility of pensions."
“The UK faces risks on many fronts, and much heavy lifting will still be required to get rid of the deficit by the end of the Parliament. For a Chancellor who correctly prizes maths education, although he’s come up with a good answer, he hasn’t yet shown us enough of his working on how he plans to get there.”
Mike Cherry, policy director at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "FSB members have campaigned hard to make Small Business Rates Relief permanent, and expand it – and the Chancellor has heeded our calls, taking many small firms out of the system altogether. The combined measures announced on business rates – the single biggest tax cut in today’s Budget - will be viewed by our members as a welcome and important step on the road to fundamental reform. In addition, online retailers will benefit from steps to secure a level playing field for smaller online businesses on VAT."
Ian Cass, CEO of the Forum of Private Business, said: "The Chancellor has listened to our calls to create a level playing field by taxing multinationals and looked to reinvest the money in small businesses. The changes to business rates were more positive than we could have expected given the circumstances."
Dr Adam Marshall, acting director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "The Chancellor listened to our calls to avoid higher business taxes and costs - and indeed moved to lower them in a number of areas.
"He has finally taken real action to lessen the crushing burden of business rates, and sharpened incentives for entrepreneurship and investment."
Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, the UK's largest free start-up accelerator, said: “Reducing corporation tax to 17% by 2020 will have a transformational effect on startups and scale-ups, allowing ambitious entrepreneurs to reinvest more profits and create new jobs. Additional small business relief will ensure more small businesses pay no rates at all, which is to be applauded as we encourage people to start their own businesses and create wealth. Removing VAT loopholes for international ecommerce businesses will help the UKs digital firms be much more competitive."
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said: “The long-term focus of today’s Budget instils little hope overall – the OBR has been forced to cut targets and even these new goals rely on Britain staying in the EU.
“The reforms to business rates will bring some relief to small businesses, especially given the financial burden the National Living Wage is placing on SMEs next month. Levelling the playing field against corporations will allow small businesses to more effectively plan for growth and continued job creation, which is crucial to the UK labour market."
Jeff Lynn, CEO at Seedrs, said: “We welcome George Osborne’s ongoing support for small businesses through today’s Budget announcement that he will cut business rates. Indeed this means that 600,000 companies will pay no business rates at all and by basing rates on CPI rather than RPI, retailers will continue to work with more accurate bills and hence will support their long term future."