Adam Jarvis, chief executive at reseller Intrinsic Technology
"Infrastructure investment is key to driving growth, and it is positive to hear about £3bn worth of spending. But it should be about more than just roads and the rail – it's about communication, connectivity and our technological infrastructure too. We would see a more direct, positive impact on the economy if investment in the UK's technological capabilities was more of a focal point; historically, we have lagged behind other countries. For example, the government promised last year to deliver the fastest broadband and telephony in Europe, and it is continued investment of this sort that will really help businesses to flourish."
Tim Patrick-Smith, chief information officer at services provider Getronics
"Osborne's announcements about National Insurance and employment allowance are good news for British businesses. Yet it is disappointing to hear no specific measures for extending technology hubs outside the capital, so that more start-ups can utilise resources to grow their businesses and fuel IT innovation in the UK. In times of austerity, an encouragement of schemes such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) across both private and public sector, through tax breaks on equipment allowances to staff, would have been welcomed to boost efficiencies and streamline processes. Given the continued focus on boosting business activity, I would have also liked to see greater cross-department IT strategies that ensure technology is used to improve service delivery and provided joined-up services."
Sean Larner (pictured, right), international vice president at wireless networking management vendor Xirrus
"It is promising to hear health budgets will be ring-fenced in 2013, but in the wake of the Stafford scandal there needs to be a greater commitment from government to help hospitals embrace technology to deliver better patient outcomes. High-speed wireless technology will allow hospitals to introduce BYOD schemes, which can provide medical staff with paperless access to patient information at the bedside. By pioneering the use of connected devices on wards, hospital staff can improve the overall patient experience through accessing patient records and X-rays at the bedside, issuing e-prescriptions and ordering tests on the spot rather than waiting until the end of a ward round. We work with NHS trusts and hospitals across the UK, and hear first-hand their desire to deliver better experiences to patients through the use of technology. We support Osborne's commitment to protecting NHS funding, but believe more support and guidance should be provided to hospitals so that they can use technology to increase productivity and reduce administration costs."
Simon O'Kane, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Huddle
"George Osborne's plans to 'make Britain the place to raise money and invest in business' was music to my ears. As he pointed out, at the moment many companies are having to look at alternative investment markets to grow their business. This is creating a barrier to economic growth in the UK as innovative companies are lured abroad. Reducing corporate tax will certainly entice more international businesses to set up in the UK, but the focus here should be to buy British. We are a nation of innovators and there are many great business ideas struggling to get off the ground. Plans to spend more through the Small Business Research Initiative and cut the National Insurance bill for businesses certainly sound very promising; it will mean more entrepreneurs can take that next step in building their business and hire a team. We need legislation such as this in place that gives the UK entrepreneur more value in the UK economy than global businesses."
Trevor Connell, managing director of Siemens Enterprise Communications
"The term 'aspiration nation' encapsulates what is needed to revive the UK economy. The further corporation tax cut and National Insurance reduction are a good place to start but it isn't just about the business as a whole. Striving for success in terms of overall business efficiency starts with organisations understanding the capabilities of every employee and empowering them to untap their own potential. Another aspect of the budget that will drive the economy is the increased focus on regional businesses. By moving the UK away from a London-centric approach to business, employees can work anywhere, increasing motivation, productivity, and aspiration."
Matthew Finnie, chief technology officer at Interoute "It's really disappointing that today's Budget speech included no reference to the tech industry. Last year we were inspired with the promise of incentives to support UK tech investment, and a vow to make the UK the tech centre of Europe. What has happened to last year's bold claims? Osborne remains focused on reducing the UK's deficit, but in today's internet focused world, surely there's no doubt that encouraging our technology industry is absolutely key to economic growth and success. The UK has the ideas, energy and innovation to make the UK a world leading technology centre, but it needs the right support and investment."
Alex Jackman, head of policy at the Forum of Private Business (FPB)
"We have been calling for a scheme such as this (the £2,000 Employment Allowance) for a number of years now, so our only disappointment is that it is 12 months away, and that is a mighty long way off... The bottom line is that this initiative will have a double function, to either give employers incentives to take on more staff, or to take the saving and boost their profitability. For many small firms operating on extremely small margins the latter would be welcome relief. For businesses looking to grow, though, it means they will be able to employ an additional employee earning £22,400, or an additional four employees working full time on the adult minimum wage without any increase in their employer NICs. That has to be good for employment figures and therefore the wider economy. [However] ask any small businesses what they wanted to see from this Budget and many would say: ‘action on business rates'. We said before the Budget government could not keep clobbering businesses with hike after hike... they are the number one enemy of many small firms... There was enough in the chancellor's speech to keep business happy – for now anyway. But it is just a sticking plaster if growth does not really kick in for another year."
John Cridland (pictured, right), director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
"This Budget needed to deliver a good dose of business and consumer confidence, while being necessarily fiscally neutral.We are particularly pleased our call for a focus on the short-term boost of housing has been heeded, alongside an increase in longer-term big-ticket infrastructure spending. This was recognition it was a mistake to cut capital spending so sharply and that other growth-boosting measures were taking too long. But by shifting £6bn to housing and infrastructure, the government has sown the seeds for growth and jobs. An extra one penny cut in Corporation Tax will also make the UK one of the most internationally competitive locations in which to do business. The new obligation on the Pensions Regulator acknowledged that the huge commitment employers are making to sustain pensions for employees cannot be separated from the drive for growth. Small and medium-sized businesses will be particularly encouraged that there was money available for the chancellor to cut the jobs tax through a new employment allowance. We also need to remember the impact of business rates on the hard-pressed high street.
"The economic backdrop has deteriorated and although the OBR expects the economy to gather pace over the year, higher inflation and continuing uncertainty in Europe have weakened prospects. As things stand today, the government must stick to its guns on its fiscal strategy. Changing course would risk damaging market credibility and could lead to higher public borrowing and interest rates. [Meanwhile] the further cut to the headline rate of Corporation Tax to 20 per cent in 2015 will give the UK the lowest rate in the G20, [and] addressing the chilling effect of artificially inflated pension scheme deficits on business investment is the right step. A new statutory growth objective will ensure the Pensions Regulator recognises the need to protect the financial strength of the sponsoring employer, who will then be able to stand behind their scheme more effectively. The best form of protection for employee's benefits, and the economy as a whole, is a solvent and thriving employer."
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View photos of last night's awards ceremony in London
View photos of all the winners from the 2018 Channel Awards
After a glittering awards evening in Battersea celebrating 25 years of the Awards, we are pleased to share the list of winners and judges' commended winners