Councillor Paul Brant, Liverpool Deputy Mayor, said: “For the council pay is capped at 1% and the Chancellor has indicated there will be further reductions in our income at a time when we are facing savage cuts.
"The Chancellor has missed his growth and debt reduction targets in every year when he has been in office and this year is no exception. There is nothing to cheer in this budget for our city.”
Sudarghara Dusanj, joint managing director of Cains, on cutting beer duty by 1p: "It's fantastic news. It's definitely a pick-me-up for the whole country. It's pretty tough out there, but beer's a great way to celebrate.
"You've got to go to a pub to drink real ale, so I think this will be good news for pubs."
Fiona Watkin, licensee of Liverpool city centre pub Thomas Rigby's, said the cut in beer duty was welcomed by her customers: "There was a big cheer in the pub and everyone demanded a penny back."
She added: "It will be appreciated and it's a step in the right direction. I don't think it will lead to more sales or people switching from vodka and tonic to beer, but it should help the brewers. It affects people in the brewing industry like draymen and warehousing staff, so it helps, but it's not a solution."
Brian McCann, Liverpool Chamber board member and partner at MC Vanguard Corporate Finance: “I think at the outset my concern was that a lack of confidence among businesses was holding us back.
“There was quite a few measures in the Budget designed to help small businesses but the question is how quickly will it have an impact.
“Corporation tax cut will certainly encourage companies to invest and the national insurance cut will help the smallest companies.”
Jenny Stewart, chief operating officer at Liverpool Chamber, said: "The Chancellor of course did not have much room for manoeuvre because of the state of the public finances.
“The 1% cut in corporation tax will definitely help to stimulate investment and maybe bring in more foreign direct investment.
“It is also good news the that Local Enterprise Partnerships will be able to bid for money from a single pot. We will be competing against other cities on that so we will be working closely with the Liverpool City Region LEP to make sure we have a strong proposition.”
Catherine Fairhurst, tax partner at Ernst & Young in Liverpool, comments on the reduction of the corporation tax rate: “By confirming that the UK corporate tax rate will drop to 20%, the Chancellor has delivered the ambition he set out in the last Budget. The UK’s tax regime is already attracting more jobs and investment to our shores, and this latest step reinforces the message that Britain is open for business.
“Combined with confirmation of the GAAR, and the UK’s commitment to participating in the OECD’s project on international taxation, the Chancellor is making it clear that the UK is a competitive place to do business but that he expects all parties pay their fair share.
“Clients have been telling us that the UK’s tax regime is an asset, but 67% of the tax professionals we surveyed prior to the Budget said that uncertainty created by the fair tax debate is a deterrent to increasing the level of their activities here. The Chancellor’s Budget speech today will hopefully have helped to address some of these concerns.”
Sean Beech, head of Deloitte's Liverpool office, said: "Overall, this is a positive Budget for business, particularly given the backdrop of the fiscal deficit. It gives more than it takes away and, crucially, North West companies should notice the difference.
"The £2,000 cut to businesses' National Insurance bill will boost SMEs in particular and the cut in corporation tax to 20% will further improve Britain's international competitiveness.
"An important change is also the 10% tax relief for research and development. R&D is undertaken in many forms by many businesses. It creates high-paid jobs and can result in a huge pay off for the economy. However, businesses need incentives to invest and the increase to 10% of spend sends a strong message of encouragement. Previously announced changes in this area also mean that, from 1 April, loss-making businesses, and not just profitable ones, can now benefit from R&D tax relief.
"An important announcement for the North West is the investment incentives for shale gas. This form of energy offers huge opportunities for the region but it means large capital expenditure before we get anywhere near the level of shale gas usage that the US enjoys. The Government, therefore, is right to incentivise those firms that will be investing in this form of energy, which could create thousands of jobs.
"Finally, the freezing of fuel duty, which was expected to rise in September, is a welcome boost for those North West businesses with fleets to run. Fuel is a huge cost for hauliers, delivery firms and other businesses.”
Hillary Griffin, Senior Tax Consultant at DSG accountants in Liverpool said: “Despite the growth forecast for next year having been slashed by half, making it clear the government predicts only modest growth at best for the next five years, today’s pro-business budget announcement is creative and does provide tangible evidence that business growth and innovation is a priority and is being actively supported.
“The emphasis on supporting small and medium enterprise is also a key step in the right direction and one that will be welcomed by SME’s based in Merseyside and the North West. Concrete measures such as the new Employment Allowance will prove particularly beneficial.
“The news of the substantial £3bn boost to infrastructure projects in the UK, including the Mersey Gateway, is particularly good news for Liverpool and will help to encourage continuing expansion and the renaissance of the region. “
Frank McKenna, chief executive of Liverpool-based lobby group, Downtown in Business, said: “The changes to National Insurance and corporation tax will be most welcomed by businesses – they will be encouraged to employ more staff.
“However, I think the big concern would be that the overall economic strategy is not working. The Chancellor said three years ago that the deficit would be down by the end of this Parliament and now he is telling us we have to expect at least another four years of it.”
Tony Reddin at Grant Thornton in Liverpool, said: “Despite a larger than expected cut to 2013 growth and an admission that the government will miss its own debt target by two years, there was some good news for business in this budget.
“The new allowance which will knock £2,000 off the cost off employing people is a measure which equates to a genuine cash boost for small firms hoping to expand and create jobs. But while it has the potential to be a shot-in-the-arm it remains to be seen whether the hundreds of thousands of businesses which could benefit will have enough confidence to invest.
“The 20 per cent government assistance for people buying new-build homes is not only likely to be a crowd pleaser, but it should bring a tangible lift to the region’s construction and property trade. There’s no doubt that the demand for new homes is there, so this measure aligned with the mortgage guarantee scheme can only be a good thing. But as with all these things the detail is what matters – it will be interesting to see whether the measures are simple enough to translate into use.”
David Ost, EEF North West Region Director, said: “Today’s Statement contained some helpful measures on business taxation and, some signs of re-prioritising spending for growth but it still feels like a job half done. The Chancellor had over £11bn of under-spending in his arsenal and should have done more to fire growth now, particularly through accelerating investment in infrastructure. With forecasts for business investment scaled back heavily for the next five years, the growth challenge we face is growing.
“Looking to the Spending Review, with the Chancellor sticking to his fiscal plans, this can’t just be about tighter spending controls. It must also be about a more radical of shift of spending towards growth.”