The Chancellor received three cheers from business leaders but was accused of offering “short-term bribes” by critics in wildly-differing reaction to his Budget.
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF manufacturers’ organisation, said: “The Chancellor gets three cheers from manufacturers for the measures he’s included to boost exporters.
“His decision to bring forward compensation for industries facing vast and uncompetitive energy costs, such as steelmakers, is a huge vote of confidence for them and for manufacturing more widely. In addition, he has committed to a stable and competitive tax regime, which we wholeheartedly support.”
By GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “Osborne has claimed more recoveries in the past five years than the RAC. Even a blind person would see the short-term bribes Osborne is offering.
“What he is planning, however, is the most draconian cuts in services that we rely on for a civilised way of life.”
Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka described the Budget as “another brutal assault on unemployed, sick and disabled people”.
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor’s focus on business growth and prosperity will receive a warm welcome from businesses of all sizes. He avoided the temptation to use newfound windfalls for gimmicks. His focus on fiscal responsibility will play well with business audiences.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “George Osborne’s smugness today is utterly out of place for someone who missed every target he set himself.
“He cannot hide the long-term economic pain he caused to the decent people of this country with his senseless austerity, run away from the living standards that he levelled back to 2007, or hide from the record levels of personal debt swamping the people of this country.”
Barnado’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “We’re disappointed that the Chancellor has chosen to combat in-work poverty with tax changes that benefit higher earners three times more than the poor. Struggling working families will see precious little from the tax change.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Chancellor’s Britain, where happy people skip to their secure jobs to celebrate their rising living standards, is not one that many will recognise.
“But it’s what he did not say that is most significant. He did not spell out where, if re-elected, he will make the huge spending cuts he plans for the next parliament, nor did he tell Britain’s low-paid workers which of their benefits he will cut.”