By Daniel Hunter

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, has welcomed George Osborne's Conservative Party speech.

"We welcome the renewed commitment to deficit reduction, and the ambitious aim to generate a surplus in the next parliament. The British government has only run a surplus in seven of the last fifty years," Walker said.

"Breaking government addiction to debt and achieving a surplus in public finances is the most important ambition any administration can have.

"It's a bold ambition to return to surplus after two decades of government spending and tinkering. I think people have forgotten what a surplus looks like and why it's important.

"Restoring sanity to our public finances is the most effective way of ensuing that the economic recovery takes hold.

"Businesses will be reassured that the Chancellor is taking a long-term view of the economy, but we would like to see a more explicit commitment to lowering taxes on both companies and individuals to accompany the promised surpluses in the next parliament."

Alexander Jackman, Head of Policy at the Forum of Private Business, said: “The speech was high on ambition and optimism about the economy, a credible economic plan that was well articulated. What it lacked was a slew of new policies for small businesses, largely because the government feels that its current ones are working.

“The fuel duty freeze was very welcome, but we don't want the money for this taken from other business subsidies or tax rises. The Chancellor’s actions over last few years have earned him the right to promote the government’s success, but many businesses still need continued government backing to take advantage of the economic uplift.”

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