PAUL Sullivan, sales and marketing director for Wadworth Brewery in Devizes, welcomed the reduction of 1p in beer duty announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the Budget today.

He said: “As per the last few years the Chancellor has decided to support this county’s pub and beer trade.

“The changes have breathed life into an industry that desperately needed it and we are glad that Mr Osborne has continued to support us.”

Stephen Depla, head of investment management and financial planning firm Brewin Dolphin in Marlborough, said: "We might have expected George Osborne to throw everything but the kitchen sink(s) at today. Instead, he provided us with a fully funded budget, and didn't spend the money on cheap giveaways.

"How very grown up of him - but he's kept plenty of wriggle room to offer some stunning manifesto pledges on IHT (inheritance tax).

"Our plea to stop tinkering with pensions - please stop before everyone stops saving – was not heeded with another reduction in the lifetime allowance to £1m. 

"After taking 25% tax free cash, this pot could only buy an indexed linked joint life pension of £26,000.”

Phil Brownsord, South West Region Director at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “The Chancellor gets three cheers from manufacturers today, particularly for the measures he included to boost exporters.

"His decision to bring forward compensation for industries facing vast and uncompetitive energy costs, such as steel makers, is also welcome but the full package needs to be put in place as soon as possible.

"In addition he has committed to a stable and competitive tax regime, which we wholeheartedly support and which should go down well with local businesses.”

On helping the oil and gas sector, he said: “It is clear that the fall in oil prices has been a mixed blessing for manufacturing with firms exposed to delayed or cancelled investments in oil and gas exploration quickly feeling the effects through lost orders.

"Today’s announcement provides a solid signal from the Chancellor that government stands behind greater levels of activity in this important sector.”

Mr Brownsord said: "Looking ahead to the outcomes of the business rates review at Budget 2016, manufacturers will be looking for a system that is, above all else, stable and predictable.

"The commitment to expand the amount of money local councils can retain from their business rates growth is welcome news and will help to incentivise growth activities in all parts of the country that can do a deal with the Treasury.”

George Osborne said the Government would top-up every £200 saved by the individual with an additional £50. He said that it will “tackle two of the biggest challenges facing first-time buyers — the low interest rates when you build up your savings, and the high deposits required by the banks.”

David Mackenzie, residential partner of property consultants Carter Jonas, said of the a new Help-to-Buy ISA, aimed at assisting first time buyers saving mortgage deposits: "The proposed scheme will (like the Help-to-Buy equity loan and mortgage guarantee schemes) undoubtedly boost demand for starter homes

"Unlike Help-to-Buy, this demand should be better distributed as participants save and enter the market at different times, preventing a possible super-charging at the lower end of the market.

“This initiative will not however alleviate the severe shortage of stock affordable to first time buyers; it will essentially create more demand.

"We were anticipating  that this year’s Budget would address the escalating lack of supply and focus more on incentivising institutional investment in the Private Rented Sector, which would offer a bridge or transition for many people between the current levels of ‘unaffordability' of buying property and a longer-term rebalancing of the house price/ affordability ratio.

"However we await the revelation of the 20 ‘new housing zones’ with great expectations.”

Matthew Sewell, tax partner at Baker Tilly in Bristol, said: "This was an impressive display of political theatre by the Chancellor, but we may have to wait until the ‘real’ Budget after the general election to see if the new policy announcements made today will remain on the agenda, and what else we can expect to see in the next Parliamentary term.

"For businesses, this Budget provided some degree of reassurance with no further change to corporation tax, small technical changes to VAT rules and an announcement about a review of business rates. There will also be some relief among business owners that the allowances for Entrepreneurs Relief remain untouched, although there has been some tightening of the rules on eligibility.

"For private individuals, the Chancellor announced further increases in the personal allowance, taking more people out of the income tax system, but whether this will actually make lower earners significantly better off is a moot point, as many will suffer a reduction in tax credits as a result.

"One of the headline announcements was the proclaimed abolition of the tax return but this evident good news hides the reality that taxpayers will still have to confirm their income online and add details of income that HMRC doesn’t know about, such as business or investment income. 

"Related to this, the announcement that from April next year the first £1,000 of the interest earned on savings will be completely tax-free for basic taxpayers will be welcomed by many, while higher rate taxpayers will benefit from a £500 allowance. 

"This initiative should, in theory, help to make the new tax reporting system simpler, but we have some concerns given that HMRC doesn’t have an unblemished record when it comes to introducing new online services.

"The introduction of new Help to Buy ISAs will provide first time buyers with a generous perk, but it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the housing market without a significant increase in supply. 

"This new policy, combined with the imminent pensions liberation changes and the revised stamp duty system could help to provide upward pressure on house prices at a time when they have started to cool.

"Many people had predicted that the Government would increase the thresholds at which Inheritance Tax is paid, but instead what we got was a review on the avoidance of inheritance tax particularly through the use of deeds of variation. 

"This could be a means of preparing the ground for introducing a rise in the IHT threshold at a later date.

"Although there were no new specific measures mentioned in relation to tax avoidance, the Chancellor continued to highlight the Government’s determination to reduce options for aggressive tax planning and we wait to see what effect the numerous new measures already introduced will have in practice as we start to see them work."