IT has been an encouraging Budget for business.

That is according to the chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Stewart Dunn, commenting on George Osborne’s Budget Statement today.

“The Chancellor has finally recognised the needs of exporters and manufacturers, many of whom have been really struggling,” said Mr Dunn.

“Raising the amount of lending available for export finance and cutting energy bills for manufacturers are both welcome steps, though overdue given the challenging economic picture up to now.

“Employers will be pleased by the extension of grants for small businesses to take on apprentices as well as the doubling of the annual investment allowance, a big tax break for expanding companies.

“Those in enterprise zones will especially welcome the targeted extension of capital allowances and the discounting of business rates.

“Raising the income tax threshold and the other personal tax and savings reforms, especially for pensioners, will help to inject more money into the economy which will in turn please retailers.

“Business of all kinds will be helped by the scrapping of the planned fuel duty rise.

“We had hoped the Chancellor would make every effort to tackle youth unemployment while boosting business and exports.

“It remains to be seen if he has done enough to ensure certainty and stability for business investment in the longer term but many of the measures announced, as well as the growth figures for this year, are encouraging.”