By Maximilian Clarke

Chancellor George Osborne today (Tuesday) delivered his eagerly awaited Autumn Statement in which more growth friendly policies have been introduced alongside the coalition’s tough deficit reduction programme.

“This Autumn Statement works with the realities of today and provides an imaginative framework for UK businesses as it strives to secure growth and jobs,” commented John Cridland, the Director General of the UK’s foremost business lobby, the Confederation of British Industry. “This is “Plan A plus” in all but name.”

“The downgraded forecasts and outlook were no surprise, but the Eurozone crisis is still hanging over us. The Government’s dogged commitment to budget deficit reduction remains the only way to maintain the UK’s triple A credit rating and low interest rates on international money markets.

“We particularly welcome the new emphasis on capital spending, and the measures to leverage private sector investment on infrastructure for roads and energy.

“Equally important for jobs and growth is the recognition that the UK’s energy-intensive users need help as a result of the unilateral increases in manufacturing energy costs from the carbon floor price and electricity market reform.”

Reacting to specific, growth-friendly measures introduced by the chancellor, Mr Cridland offered the following analyses:

Credit Easing: “The National Loan Guarantee scheme is a necessary pre-emptive strike to safeguard bank lending to SMEs. With the pressure on bank balance sheets, this is practical and immediately available help.”
Mid-sized businesses: “We are delighted that our campaign to gain support for medium-sized businesses has been heeded and we warmly welcome the Business Finance Partnership and measures to support exports.”
Aviation: “We have ambitions to build the UK’s export capability and without a world-class hub airport in the South East to service the needs of travellers to all emerging market destinations, this cannot happen. UK businesses will be relieved that the Government has come off the fence on this issue. All options should be closely examined and an informed decision needs to be made as soon as possible.”
Housing: “Unfreezing the housing market is an important step on the confidence-building ladder. Mortgage indemnity guarantees are the best way to bridge the problem of loan-to-value ratios.”
Youth unemployment: “The Youth Contract is excellent news for young people across the country. The Government has developed our idea to incentivise businesses to take on the young unemployed. This will encourage firms to take a chance on inexperienced young people and help tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.”

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