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Does the Chancellor's Budget really back business like he promised?

The Chancellor promised this would be a budget that'unashamedly' backed business. Was he telling the truth?

Cutting corporation tax faster than expected by one pennyhas been widely welcomed.

For firms like ICW in Wakefield where we were today,this should mean there is more money in their pot to invest in their company. Margaret Wood the boss there told me this will make a difference and fast.

George Osborne promised this would be a budget that 'unashamedly' backed business. Credit: PA

Similarly many companies will like the cut in the 50p tax rate next year. It was not something that every business felt was that relevant, despite the political clamour. But nonetheless, many believe getting rid of it sends out a better message to those trying to grow their own companies. The Chancellor was keen to point out the fact that it has not raised anything like the amount the government expected.

But as tax experts HW Fisher point out this afternoon, it is impossible to use evidence from one year to make a call about how much any tax could potentially raise, because in year one people will make a change to their behaviour to try to avoid it. Now people will do the same putting off payments until the tax disappears in 2013. So rightly or wrongly we will never know what the lasting effect of the tax might have been.

Many firms, including members of the ITV News Business club, will be pleased that two million fewer people will pay basic rate tax, as the level at which the rate kicks in is raised to more than £9,000. But what may concern others is the other side that the Chancellor was less keen to shout about. To help pay for the cut in the basic rate the level at which workers will start to pay to the top rate is not just being frozen, it will be cut. That pushes around a quarter of a million people into the higher rate for the first time - even without a pay rise, they will start paying a lot more tax.

Clippy McKenna (right), Clippy's Apples, and Lord Digby Jones, former Labour Trade Minister, are part of the ITV News Business Club Credit: ITV News

And while there were some specific steps like tax breaks for the UK s film and TV industries, and for North sea oil, (an apology for last year's surprise tax raid?) some business groups have been left feeling mildly pleased but rather underwhelmed.

Measures like simpler tax for small business sound good, but only affect firms with turnover of less than £77,000 - 'what a waste of time' said Clippy McKenna, who runs a small company in Cheshire. There was another hint of a potential future U-turn on allowing Heathrow to expand. There was another reminder that the government is trying to get pension funds to invest in infrastructure and of the credit easing scheme that was given a distinctly luke warm welcome yesterday.

But there was little sense of a grand plan. And no relief on business rates which will very soon hit lots of firms very hard. No change either on fuel duty with which many companies struggle. And no update on the government's previous promise of a return to the 'march of the makers' - glorious renaissance for manufacturing. There was not that much that the Institute of Directors says will make a vast difference on the ground.

This was a Budget where most businesses are likely to approve of the direction of travel. But the speed at which we get there and the ultimate destination are still unclear.

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