Wales

Budget 2011: Organisations in Wales give their reaction

George Osborne holding the Budget Box
Image caption CBI Wales called for the assembly government to 'follow the UK government's lead' in helping business

Organisations in Wales have been giving their reaction to Chancellor George Osborne's 2011 Budget.

David Rosser, director of business organisation CBI Wales, said the Budget would help "businesses grow and create jobs".

"The chancellor has made clear the UK is open for business," he said. "The extra 1p cut in corporation tax will help firms increase investment.

"Meanwhile, significant changes to entrepreneurs' taxation will rightly focus much-needed support on businesses with growth potential."

He said CBI Wales members now "looked to the assembly to follow the UK government's lead, especially around planning and business rate relief for smaller companies".

South Wales Chamber of Commerce also believed the Budget had offered business a helping hand.

Director Graham Morgan said: "Considering the limited tools he had to work with, it was pleasing to see the chancellor introduce measures which encourage private sector businesses to move forward at a time when we are experiencing public sector cuts.

"The investment in the apprenticeship scheme will help bring many skilled but unemployed workers into the employment pool, and will also have a knock-on effect of encouraging businesses to look at recruiting staff, safe in the knowledge that they have been well trained.

"The chancellor's announcement of a fuel stabiliser will also help businesses budget for their fleet costs and is particularly important for employees in the rural areas of Wales where public transport is not as accessible."

Some charities in Wales were less impressed with the chancellor's plans.

Head of Oxfam Cymru, Chris Johnes, said: "More and more poor people in this country are being forced to choose between feeding their families and paying their bills as food prices push up the cost of living and cuts in services and welfare bite.

"If we really were all in this together, the chancellor would be working to defend our welfare system and ensure that everyone contributes their fair share to protecting public services which are particularly important to the poorest.

"A Robin Hood tax on the financial sector that was a major cause of the current problems would enable the government to help poor people at home and abroad who are suffering due to an economic crisis they did nothing to cause."

The Farmers' Union of Wales welcomed what it called the chancellor's "acceptance of the union's recent demands on him to scrap plans for a 4p fuel duty hike next month and introduce a fair fuel stabiliser scheme without further delay".

"For once, we are pleased that the chancellor has heeded the demands of farmers living in rural Wales seriously affected by the current surge in inflation," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"We had genuine concerns that motorists in Welsh rural communities would see prices rise by an extra 5p per litre or almost 23p per gallon at the pumps next month."

But he added: "It is grossly unfair that we here in the UK pay far more for our fuel than any other country and the fault lies with the extortionate level of tax imposed by the government."

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Cymru said it welcomed the Budget announcement of "potentially £12m new money for Welsh housing".

CIH Cymru director Keith Edwards said: "Our housing market is still in intensive care but this measure could mean 600 new homes for Wales - a welcome adrenaline boost.

"We urge the Welsh Assembly Government to spend the full amount, as it has been intended, on housing supply.

"We are currently building fewer than half of the homes we need and anything the government can do to support new house building and support construction sector jobs is welcome."

Steven Madeley, centre director of the St David's shopping centre in Cardiff, said: "The almost immediate decrease in fuel duty by 1p and the deferment in the pre-planned fuel duty rises for the rest of the year, as well as the fuel escalator proposal, will be welcome news to consumers.

"The biggest worry for consumers was that they didn't know what would happen to fuel prices and if it would become a luxury rather than a necessity.

"The changes will have a long-term impact on the pump prices and save money for customers."

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