UK credit rating 'at risk'

The credit rating agency Fitch has warned that the Chancellor's confession during the Autumn Statement that he missed its debt target could threaten the UK's AAA rating. But George Osborne has downplayed the impact potential if that happened.

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BCC: 'Radical' measures needed to end 'sluggish growth'

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, told ITV News the government would need to take "radical" measures in a bid to end the "long term sluggish growth".

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce. Credit: ITV News

He called on the Chancellor to deliver "massive infrastructure development" and a "restructuring of business finance in the UK".


FSB 'encouraged' by Chancellor's plans for small businesses

We welcome today’s statement and we are encouraged by the Chancellors’ acknowledgement that small businesses need more help. We accept that bold actions are needed to boost the economy and we hope we are on the right road to helping small firms.

The Chancellor has listened to many of our members’ concerns, and has put forward proposals to address these issues - notably around capital allowances, more encouragement for investors to place funding in small businesses, and cancelling the 3p rise in fuel duty.

We now eagerly await further details on the small business bank which we have long seen playing a central role in opening up finance for small firms.

– John Walker, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses


CBI: Government now has 'everything to prove'

The CBI has been crying out for real action on infrastructure, investment and exports. £5 billion on near-term infrastructure, like the tube to Battersea, half a billion a year tax relief for small firms, and £1.5 billion extra export support should boost investment and create jobs.

The Government now has everything to prove by delivering. Businesses need to see the Chancellor's words translated into building sites on the ground. It is no surprise that after a difficult year the economic realities dictate that austerity and debt reduction will take longer.

The Chancellor has stuck to his guns on deficit reduction - avoiding deeper cuts or more borrowing in order to retain international credibility.


Chancellor's plans could 'destabilise pensions'

The Government will take twice as much from this tax hit on pensions as it will from the increase in the bank levy. That cannot be fair, and will only undermine confidence in pension saving.

The Chancellor is wrong to say that the changes will only affect those at the top of the wage tree. Osborne claims he is taking a carrot away from the rich, but he is also beating many middle class savers with a stick. Middle managers in the public and private sectors will get caught in the net.

People in a final salary pension who have worked loyally for the same employer for years and then get a pay rise, or a promotion, could end up with a tax bill of several thousand pounds. This is a charge just for saving into a pension. The self-employed and those nearing retirement desperately trying to catch up by boosting their pension are also at risk.

– National Association of Pension Funds
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