Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said in response to the Budget:

“The chancellor is right to stand firm on austerity measures to bring the deficit under control and to refocus on the need to boost economic growth, given falling forecasts for GDP. Consistency of direction is crucial for jobs and investment – this is no time for zig-zag government.

“This Budget offers some support for enterprise. Certainly, the small business measures set the right tone but they should be applied more widely.

“We look forward to the promised reductions in regulatory burdens. They must be applied to legislation that has real impacts on business, not just to long-disused rules, so that significant cost reductions result.”