Banks, businesses and unions give their views on the Autumn Statement

THE BRITISH BANKERS’ ASSOCIATION

The BBA is the leading trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector, speaking for over 200 member banks

DIRECTOR GENERAL
ANGELA KNIGHT

“This Autumn Statement makes a serious addition to the large sums already being lent to the business community by the banks. With the Eurozone crisis putting lack of confidence at the top of the list of concerns, this makes it clear that money is available for viable businesses.”

UK DEBT MANAGEMENT OFFICE

Management of the gilt market was transferred from the Bank of England to the DMO in 1998. It makes decisions on government debt and cash management

CHIEF EXECUTIVE
ROBERT STHEEMAN

“We appear to be perceived relatively favourably compared to other [gilt] markets. That doesn’t mean we’re necessarily seen as the best. It’s more an issue that other markets currently seem to be viewed as less attractive. One factor which looks to be supporting gilts right now is very accommodative monetary policy. I don’t expect to see much in the way of a change in monetary policy in the near future.”

THECITYUK

TheCityUK aims to promote the competitiveness of financial services and to make the UK the best place in the world to establish a financial services business

CHIEF EXECUTIVE
CHRIS CUMMINGS

“We are pleased that the chancellor highlighted that financial services will always be important to the UK and we support initiatives that broaden the sources of finance available to business. We therefore welcome the government’s extension to the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and this directly reflects our member’s views which we expressed to the Treasury. We are pleased to hear the chancellor’s unambiguous statement on any Financial Transaction Tax.”

THE TUC

The UK’s national trade union body, representing the vast majority of organised workers

GENERAL SECRETARY
BRENDAN BARBER

“None of the chancellor’s post-election assumptions have turned out to be true. Growth has stalled, the Eurozone has crashed, the structural deficit is bigger than previously thought and unemployment continues to rise as the private sector fails to take up the public sector slack. The chancellor’s stubborn determination to stick to his plan A despite the evidence that it is not working and won’t work means we are locked into permanent austerity. There were welcome moves in the statement as the chancellor tries to reinvent infrastructure spending, youth employment and regional assistance programmes. But the catch is they are being paid for by freezing tax credits, holding back public sector pay and increasing public sector job losses.”

THE CBI

The UK’s top business lobbying organisation. It aims to influence government policy on a wide range of business matters

DIRECTOR GENERAL
JOHN CRIDLAND

“This Autumn Statement works with the realities of today and provides an imaginative framework for UK businesses as it strives to secure growth and jobs. This is ‘Plan A plus’ in all but name. The downgraded forecasts and outlook were no surprise, but the Eurozone crisis is still hanging over us. The government’s dogged commitment to budget deficit reduction remains the only way to maintain the UK’s triple A credit rating and low interest rates on international money markets. Given the continued uncertainty in the Eurozone, the downgrades to the UK’s economic forecasts reflect the current difficulties. Investing in our infrastructure will act as a stimulus to growth. The projects announced will not just boost immediate activity and jobs, but a longer-term infrastructure plan will support our construction sector in the years to come.”

THE ENTREPRENEUR

Upper Street London is a luxury bespoke women’s shoe retailer, where customers can design their own footwear. It trades through the website UpperStreet.com

CO-FOUNDER OF UPPER STREET LONDON
JULIA GRINHAM

“The revised downward forecast for growth comes as no real surprise; like many retailers we’re finding sales slow to pick up this quarter, and consumers are particularly price sensitive right now. As a relatively new brand launched in March 2010, we’ve only ever known recession, and despite that we’ve achieved strong growth. But like many fledgling businesses in today’s economy, it’s going to take longer than anticipated to break even, and we’ll need to re-consider our funding requirements. I’ll be very interested to see if the programme to underwrite SME business loans gives us some options when I present our latest business plan to my bank manager in January. Failing that, I’m still reasonably confident there is an appetite for investment from the private sector; the Enterprise Investment Scheme will hopefully help fuel that interest in the UK, otherwise we’ll be looking for investment abroad.”

THE DIRECTOR’S VIEW

Institute of Directors (IoD) provides support and information for business leaders as well as political analysis

DIRECTOR GENERAL
SIMON WALKER

“The chancellor stuck to his guns today, and that was the right thing to do. No one is pretending that it’s going to be easy or painless, but there’s no credible alternative to the deficit reduction plan. We wanted Plan A with more infrastructure spending, and that’s what we got. I believe business confidence will have been boosted by today’s announcements. The introduction of credit easing will be welcomed by businesses up and down the country. This is an imaginative scheme which should helpfully reduce the cost of capital for companies. It also provides an incentive for banks to increase lending before the scheme becomes operational, because their subsequent allocation will be determined by their existing loan book. The new mid-size financing arrangement is also welcomed as a further attempt at creating alternative sources of funding in the wake of the financial crisis. However this may take time to be fully implemented.”

OIL & GAS UK

Industry body that represents the interests of the offshore oil and gas industry in the UK by working closely with companies across the entire sector, governments and other stakeholders to address crucial issues such as taxation

ECONOMICS AND COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR
MIKE THOLEN

“Since the tax changes announced in the last Budget, we have been engaged in constructive dialogue with the Treasury on the fiscal regime, particularly regarding ways to stimulate investment in uncommercial fields and to resolve the uncertainty around tax relief on decommissioning costs by Budget 2012. We consider it timely to wait until the Budget to address these matters and believe it would have been premature to see an announcement in the Autumn Statement. The Treasury did indicate that it would consult on measures to promote research and development by larger companies and on that we will look to engage.”