BUDGET: Sheffield City Region business leaders comment.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his first Tory-only Budget. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 8, 2015. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his first Tory-only Budget. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 8, 2015. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The head of Sheffield Chamber has welcomed the Budget saying it “balanced cuts with opportunity.”

Executive director Richard Wright applauded “good figures” on growth and debt, adding: “I’m really pleased the Chancellor focused on the fact that trading at a surplus is important - not just growing the economy.

“He will feel that he has achieved his objective of making it pay to work. Raising tax thresholds is definitely a way of giving poorer people more money but they have to be working.

“Replacing the minimum wage with a national living wage could be a cost to business but there were other things in there to compensate like national insurance and corporation cuts.

“Overall, I think this was a pretty balanced budget and I welcome it. It balanced cuts with opportunity. It very much said that Britain is open for business but it is our responsibility to deliver on that.”

The Budget included these measures for business:

Andy Pearcy

Andy Pearcy

* Corporation tax reduction down to 19 per cent in 2017 and 18 per cent in 2020

* An apprentice levy for all large firms

* Increasing the annual investment allowance to £200,000

* £3,000 off National Insurance contributions for employers

* Enterprise Zones for smaller towns.

Lynne Darwin, sales director of Building Product Solutions, of Goldthorpe, Barnsley, welcomed the investment allowance limit increase saying it was “great news” for the manufacturing industry.

She added: “To continue to grow we must continue to invest. Building Products Solutions manufactures for the booming construction industry, therefore we must keep pace and continually feed back into the business to make this happen. This tax free allowance will ensure that we can continue to do this and our customers can continue to buy British.”

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said the Chancellor was right to set out a plan to boost productivity - and investment in university research and development was key to realising that ambition.

He added: “Businesses need the most innovative processes, methods and materials to meaningfully boost their productivity and continuously improve their services. We are urging the UK government to work with our researchers and industry to help secure Britain’s place as a global partner of choice.”

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber said he was disappointed at the lack of significant funding to the Northern Powerhouse plan.

He added: “£30m for an Oyster-style ticke for the North is crumbs from the table. We’ve also had a pause in the electrification scheme while Heathrow is set to get a new runway.

“It seems if you’re investing in the South East that’s fine but the North is not as high on the priority list.”

Andy Pearcy, corporate tax director at Gibson Booth Limited accountants of Barnsley, said: “The good news is that corporation tax rates will decrease to 19 per cent in 2017 and 18 per cent from 2020, but the flipside is that business owners will find that the way dividends are taxed is going to change, which could fundamentally alter how business owners need to reward themselves moving forward.

“We also need to watch the effects of the national living wage for over 25s, which will be £7.20 from next year increasing to £9 from 2020. This may have impact on profits for companies.

“The caveat is that only the headlines are announced today, as always the detail will follow in the coming days.”

Master Cutler David Grey MBE welcomed a reduction in corporation tax but warned of pay inflation due to an increase in the minimum wage.

He added: “News on reduction of corporation tax is important in order to attract inward investment to the UK and to allow companies extra revenue for investment.

“The extension of the minimum wage for 25 year and older needs careful thought in its implementation. Whilst manufacturing industries are not generally low wage businesses, we have to be mindful that raising the minimum wage substantially may induce pay inflation.

“On other issues such as apprentice levies, we are comfortable with contributing to upskilling our workforce however industry needs to be at the heart of the decision making.”