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Spring statement 2019: reactions

New measures to tackle late payments

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"The commitment from the Chancellor that the Business Secretary will [tackle late payments] is welcome, and we are especially pleased that the first measure has been announced.

"The end of late payments could finally be in sight. It can't come soon enough, to bolster small businesses at a time when they are in great need of support and a lift in confidence."

Apprenticeship levy reforms to begin from 1 April 2019

Jane Gratton, head of skills at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"We have spent months pushing ministers to make practical changes to the way the apprenticeship system works, and this is an important step in the right direction.

"But the inflexibility of the apprenticeship levy means there's still not enough training taking place in businesses, and this will hamper efforts to boost productivity."

No announcements for social care

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said:

"Social care funding did receive a solitary mention but only to say it will be considered as part of a comprehensive summer spending review, suggesting the long overdue Green Paper is further delayed.

"The Government urgently needs to put the future funding of social care on a sustainable footing.

"Our ageing population deserves clarity on what the state will pay for and what individuals will have to fund themselves, based on their wealth."

Biodiversity targets for housing developers

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said:

"The burdensome and poorly thought-through biodiversity targets for developers will bring yet more costs and more delays for builders.

"Just as the environment for SME house builders starts to improve, these measures could end up stalling our progress."

Digital services tax for tech giants

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, said:

"Going it alone on a digital services tax is high risk, especially at a time when the UK already looks increasingly isolated.

"The EU has dropped their plans and got behind the OECD's efforts - the UK should follow suit.

"The Government needs to be doing all it can to encourage investment in the UK and adoption of new technologies, not putting up barriers."

Talk to us for more information on the Spring Statement.