Airline groups say they are disappointed that the Chancellor put "beer before aviation" by making no changes to the air passenger duty airport departure tax. It's due to rise again next month.
Dale Keller, Chief Executive of airline group BAR UK, said: "Just because the industry was fully expecting a slap in the face from the Treasury does not make it any more palatable. It's beyond belief that the Chancellor has put beer before aviation."
The Treasury says that 450,000 businesses will now pay no national insurance contributions at all.
I don't know how this is going to go down with the public, but I suspect it will be very popular with George Osborne's party.
We applaud this budget. The Chancellor has stuck to his guns and held his nerve - which is exactly what we wanted to see. Deficit reduction is not an optional policy, it is an absolute necessity, and he is right to reject the siren calls to abandon it.
Businesses will be glad that George Osborne has also continued the downward pressure on Corporation Tax. Britain must become the most competitive place to do business, and lower taxes will attract welcome investment from abroad.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said Chancellor George Osborne has "pulled out all the stops" with a "wide-ranging package" of measures to support small businesses.
National chairman of the FSB John Walker said, "The housing initiative will help reinvigorate the construction sector in which many of our members operate".
"National Insurance cut goes beyond what we were asking for and we are pleased to see the scrapping of the 3p fuel duty due in September", he added.
- New Employment Allowance will take the first £2,000 off the employer National Insurance bill of every company in the country
- Around 450,000 small businesses - one third of all employers - will pay no employer National Insurance at all after introduction of Employment Allowance in April next year
- Small firms will be given help through Government procurement budgets, growth vouchers and controls on regulators' charges
- The Capital Gains Tax holiday will be extended
- Corporation tax to be reduced by a further 1% to 20% in April 2015
- Small company and main rates of corporation tax merged at 20p
Steven Bruck, a partner at Blick Rothenberg Chartered Accountants, says: "Corporation Tax will come down one per cent from April 2015.
"For the first time in many years there will be a single rate of Corporation Tax at an internationally competitive rate of 20 per cent. This is very good for business and as an encouragement for inward investment in the UK."
Everything had to go, and everything has gone. But the saga of Comet's final decline is not yet at an end. What went wrong is now in the sights of senior politicians. ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg reports:
Comet owners OpCapita issued a statement on the failed retailer saying its plan to rescue the firm included measures to improve the profitability of the business.
We will of course assist fully with any inquiry and welcome the opportunity to provide BIS with factual information relating to the circumstances which led to Comet entering administration.
Deloitte published yesterday its Initial Report to Creditors of Comet Group Ltd which already includes detailed information and commentary on the events leading up to the appointment of administrators.
In addition the report sets out the detail of the turnaround plan for Comet which included a series of measures designed to improve the profitability of the business.
The statement added that once administration is completed, Deloitte will issue a full public report to creditors.
Failed high street retailer Comet has set up a website for former Comet employees as well as those finishing work today.
The site, cometjobs.co.uk, offers a 'The Daily Jobs' email circular of vacancies, an employee help line, fact sheet and postings on the latest jobs with other retailers.
One in 10 shops in UK high streets and shopping centres were empty in October as retailers battle against stagnating sales and rising costs, a survey has found.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the town centre vacancy rate of 11.3% was the worst figure since its nationwide survey began in July 2011.
A fifth of store units are currently empty in Northern Ireland, while the rate for Wales is 15.1% and for the North & Yorkshire region the rate is 14.6%. Greater London had 7.6% of its units lying empty.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said the new figures would set "alarm bells ringing" as it confirmed the financial challenges for both customers and retailers were far from over.
Big brands including JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Blacks Leisure, Game and Peacocks have either disappeared or scaled back their presence in town centres after going into administration.