Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget today, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“After two years of economic downturn, the Chancellor has clearly recognised the need to place business at the heart of this Budget. Doubling the annual investment allowance, help with business rates, and allowing entrepreneurs to keep more of their gains will prove especially popular.

“The Chancellor could have done more to set out a clear plan for the reduction of the budget deficit, which continues to threaten business confidence and investment.”

Commenting on the macro-economic points in today's Budget, David Kern, Chief Economist at the BCC, said:

"The Chancellor's GDP forecasts for 2010, though slightly stronger than our own, are realistic. But, the official forecasts envisaging very rapid growth in 2011 and beyond are much too optimistic.

"Since the Chancellor's medium-term predictions for the public finances are based on growth expectations that many analysts would see as unrealistic, he may struggle to persuade the markets that his deficit-cutting plans are achievable without further measures.

"As envisaged in the BCC's recent economic forecasts, borrowing in 2009-10 and 2010-11 is very likely to be lower than the Chancellor predicted in December’s Pre-Budget Report. But the Chancellor's borrowing forecasts for subsequent years appear too optimistic and more detail will be needed to ensure that Britain's AAA credit rating is secure.

"The markets will also be disappointed that that some of the savings made from the lower than expected borrowing this financial year and next are being diverted to new spending plans, rather than actually cutting the deficit.

“The Chancellor will have to do more to persuade the markets that the health our public finances will be restored within a realistic timescale. The official deficit-cutting plans still lack sufficient credibility."