11 March 2020
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“In deeply challenging times the Chancellor has worked against the clock to deliver two budgets in one: a first for national resilience today and a second for economic ambition tomorrow. It’s a bold Budget at scale, coordinated with the Bank of England, which will help people and business through tough times.
“As the UK responds to the immediate challenge, people are the first priority. So the measures to expand and ease access to sick pay and benefits are vital to protect people’s health and livelihoods.
“The Chancellor’s actions on business rates, emergency funds and loans will help ensure firms can weather the storm, especially smaller firms. Larger firms may also need support as the situation develops.
“Covid19 will bring new challenges daily which will need to be resolved, at speed. “Today’s impressive economic response should now evolve with business insight to become as agile as our approach to public health.
“While the response to Covid19 is urgent, it is very good to see this Budget’s focus on innovation and infrastructure. The Chancellor has listened to many calls from CBI members, with decisive action on vital long-term issues.
“The significant uplift in R&D funding, creation of a UK version of ARPA, a fundamental review of business rates and spending promises on infrastructure will all bring real benefits to people, business and communities.
“The Chancellor has set out some powerful incentives to get businesses investing, increasing the R&D tax credit and the Structures and Buildings Allowance. The £5bn of new export loans will encourage the best of UK business to look to new global markets.
“The next few months will bring opportunities for the Government to make major decisions that they have understandably had to put to one side today. Some gaps still need to be filled in around skills, energy efficiency and powering the UK’s low carbon future.
“Overall, today’s budget is a powerful signal to firms at home and abroad that the UK can and will manage the immediate challenges and long-term opportunities in parallel.”