Tony Medcalf, tax partner at Lancashire-based MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “This was a budget where the chancellor looked to turn the heating back on after years of spending freezes. It was therefore a series of pragmatic funding announcements, rather than any grand vision.
“The chancellor sought to back up the prime minister’s ‘austerity is over’ message with spending announcements on road repairs, the NHS, social care, housing, schools and defence. In that sense it became a bit of a ‘sticking plaster’ budget for long-starved government departments.
“However, the business community will welcome the increase in the annual investment allowance from £200,000 to £1m for two years. That should encourage greater capital investment from businesses in new infrastructure, plant and machinery.
“Small businesses will also welcome moves to lower the contribution towards the cost of apprenticeships, while high street retail businesses will benefit from immediate business rates relief reductions. On personal tax rates, the bringing forward to April 2019 of the proposed increases in the personal allowance for basic rate and higher rate tax payers was a surprise.”