By Simon Miller
Simon Walker, director general at the Institute of Directors:
"Even after the [tax] reduction, two-thirds of the OECD will still have a lower top rate. This fudge will do little to combat the impression that Britain is a high-tax country, where ambition is not welcome."
British Bankers' Association chief executive Angela Knight:
“The banks are committed to playing their part in restoring the public finances through the many different taxes they pay. The Government has previously said that it both wants the bank levy to raise a specific amount - £2.5bn - and that any reduction in corporation tax will be offset by an increase in the levy. The corporation tax cut would reduce the amount raised, so as before the percentage has been raised to correct this. The end result is that the banks pay the same."
John Cridland, Confederation of British Industry Director-General:
"The Chancellor has painted a clearer vision of how the UK will earn its living in the future and, by seizing the opportunity to make sure our corporate tax system is more internationally competitive, he has sent a powerful signal to companies to invest, do business and create jobs in the UK."
Tom Aston, financial services tax partner at KPMG:
"For the fourth time, banks are being hit with another increase in the bank levy. It is surprising that the yield estimates keep being revised downwards so sharply, and that the tax has risen so many times. Predicting bank levy liabilities has become very difficult for banks who are trying to plan ahead."
Peter Baum, Director, Glendevon King Asset Management:
“The downside will not be for the [100 year] bonds but for the Government. If the Government decides to launch, and investors do not take up the offer even with a decent coupon – this will be financially and politically very embarrassing and may even put Osborne’s current high stature at risk.
Stephen Rabel, member in Kinetic Partners’ London tax team:
“The Chancellor cut a note of cautious optimism. The cut in the top rate of tax to 45% will catch the attention of the best and brightest financial services talent so crucial to maintaining London’s pre-eminence as a financial centre, and businesses will welcome a drop in their corporate tax bills from next month, further reduced from 2013. Overall, a positive signal for those looking to base their financial services businesses in the UK.”
Chris Aitken, head of Financial Planning at Investec Wealth & Investment:
“For us the most important part of the budget was what it didn’t contain, namely the reduction of tax relief on pension contributions for higher rate taxpayers. We have an ageing population and to abolish this incentive to save for the future would be idiotic. The Government seems to have come to its senses on this, but we note that as ever the wording of the Chancellor’s statement gives him the wriggle room to come back to it. Our message to George Osborne is simple – if you have the thought again go and sit in a dark room until it goes away“.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber:
"One minute the Chancellor said he found tax avoidance morally repugnant, the next he rewarded it by cutting income tax for the richest one per cent – with precious little relief for hard-pressed families on ordinary incomes. Treasury figures show that those on low and middle incomes will do worse than those higher up the income scale."
Paul Mumford, senior investment manager at Cavendish Asset Management:
“All things considered today’s budget doesn’t paint too bad a picture for the UK economic outlook. It is, broadly, a picture of an economy on the right track. The projected reductions in borrowing and inflation are heartening, if punchy and a bit suspicious. The measures aimed at promoting business and growth – from the reduced Corporation Tax rate to increased infrastructure investment – hold a lot of promise and are suited to a low inflation environment. More specifically it is also good to see this Government recognise and encourage investment in the unexploited opportunities relating to North Sea gas.”