Scottish business leaders react to Autumn Statement

Scottish business leaders have been reacting to Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement.

His mini-budget allocated an additional £330m for capital projects in Scotland, once departmental savings are subtracted.

The chancellor also said income tax personal allowances will go up by £1,335 - £235 more than previously announced - so no tax will be paid on earnings under £9,440.

Here are a selection of the comments made by the business community after the announcement.

CAPITAL SPENDING

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Holyrood gets £394m more in capital spend over 3 yrs, and £90m as consequence of #autumnstatement, but c £160m cuts required #bbceconomy ”

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Follow Autumn Statement analysis at @BBCDouglsFraser

David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors Scotland, said: "It is reassuring that an extra £5bn has been set aside for capital investment in UK infrastructure and an extra £1bn on roads.

"As a consequence of this, the Scottish government will received approximately £394m to spend on infrastructure, which should allow them to get on track with some of their 'shovel ready' projects.

"The chancellor stated that part of the road upgrades planned will include the A1 between London and Newcastle, but I would urge the Scottish government to continue that upgrade north of the border, as improvements on that section of road are long-overdue and crucial for Scottish businesses to transport goods and services quickly and safely south of the border.

"It is imperative that we have a world class road link not only between Scotland and the rest of the UK, but also between Scotland's commercial centres."

PROPERTY

Sarah Speirs, director of the surveyors' body, RICS Scotland, said the extra money for capital projects "should aid growth in the construction sector and boost local economies across the country".

However she warned: "The challenge is now really on to make delivery happen and the government clearly acknowledges the key role that construction can play in wider economic recovery.

"More development means more housing, more jobs and better infrastructure."

CORPORATION TAX

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: "The plan to reduce our headline rate of corporation tax to just 21% by 2014 is extremely welcome and send out a clear message that Scotland and the UK are places to do business.

"This is one of the lowest rates of corporate taxes across the major economies and not only provides an incentive to indigenous business but also makes Scotland an even more attractive location for inward investment."

She also praised the change to the threshold for the annual investment allowance for plant and machinery to £250,000.

She said: "The increased allowance small and medium sized businesses in relation to capital investment is good news. However, we still need to get over the confidence hurdle and get moving."

HOUSEHOLD SPENDING

Scottish Retail Consortium director, Fiona Moriarty, said: "There are some positive measures in the chancellor's Autumn Statement that should help to reduce costs for hard pressed households, but overall economic conditions remain challenging for customers and retailers."

She added: "Raising personal tax thresholds will help hard-pressed households. Targeting less well-off people is right because they spend a greater proportion of their incomes and are struggling most."

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