UK Business Leaders React to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement


Manufacturers and Hospitality Sector Applaud Tax Incentives

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement has received a positive response from UK business leaders. Several CEOs praised the government's focus on tax incentives and speeding up planning rules, which they believe will stimulate long-term investment and job growth. However, big retailers were disappointed with the lack of wins in the statement.

Aviva CEO: "Pro-Growth Package Puts Us on the Right Path"

Amanda Blanc, CEO of insurance group Aviva, expressed her support for the Autumn Statement, stating that it will build confidence and stimulate investment and job creation. She believes that the package is pro-growth and will help guide businesses in the right direction.

Currys CEO Calls for Addressing Outdated Business Rates System

Alex Baldock, chief executive of Currys, emphasized the importance of addressing the outdated business rates system to support businesses of all sizes and promote growth. He believes that reducing costs for consumers should be a priority for the government.

Renewables Industry Welcomes Government Support

Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation, expressed her excitement over the government's decision to remove obstacles for the renewables sector. She believes that this will help bring cheaper and cleaner energy to Britain at a faster pace.

SAGE Boss: "Overall, a More Pro-Business and Pro-Growth Autumn Statement"

Steve Hare, CEO of SAGE, praised the Autumn Statement for its positive impact on small businesses. While he acknowledged some missed opportunities for small business investment, he stated that the overall tone of the statement was pro-business and pro-growth.

Crystal Doors CEO: "Certainty Helps Small Businesses Make Investment Plans"

Richard Hagan, chief executive of Crystal Doors, highlighted the importance of certainty for small businesses. He believes that the ability to claim in the first year and have certainty will help small businesses make investment plans over a longer period, similar to big businesses.

Greene King Boss: "Chancellor's Decision a Lifeline for Pubs and Breweries"

Nick Mackenzie, CEO of Greene King, welcomed the Chancellor's decision to freeze alcohol duty, stating that it is a lifeline for many pubs and breweries. He also praised the extension of the business rates relief scheme and the freezing of the rates multiplier.

Harwin Chairman: "Statement Allows Us to Plan and Grow the Business"

Damon de Laszlo, chairman of Harwin, expressed his optimism about the Autumn Statement, stating that it will enable the company to plan and expand its business. He believes that the statement provides the necessary support for growth.

BT Group CEO: "Long-Term Certainty Shifts Investment Environment"

Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT Group, welcomed the decision to make full expensing permanent, stating that it provides long-term certainty for businesses like theirs. He believes that this shift in the investment environment will be beneficial for growth.

Sam Altman Returns to Lead OpenAI After Dramatic Shake-Up

Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI, has returned to lead the artificial intelligence firm just five days after a dramatic coup. After Altman was ousted by the company, its president and co-founder also resigned in protest. Microsoft then recruited Altman and his co-founder to lead its own AI division. However, in a surprising turn of events, Altman will now return to OpenAI alongside a new board.

B&Q Owner Kingfisher Faces Sales Dip Due to Warm Weather

Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, experienced a nearly seven percent drop in shares after issuing its second profit warning in two months. The group attributed the dip to warm autumn weather, which delayed demand for heating and insulation products in France. However, the company saw positive growth in the UK, particularly in its delivery service at Screwfix.

Government Concerned About Sale of Telegraph Newspaper Group

The UK government has expressed concerns about the proposed sale of the Telegraph newspaper group to an Abu Dhabi backer. Media minister Lucy Frazer cited worries about potential influence over operations due to the country's laws that prevent criticism of the Emirates or coverage harmful to Islam. The deal, valued at £1.16 billion, would give Abu Dhabi-funded RedBird IMI majority control of the newspaper.

INEOS Considers Closing Scottish Refinery, Putting Jobs at Risk

INEOS, owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is contemplating the closure of its Scottish oil refinery by 2025. Rising costs and global pressures have led the company to consider converting the Grangemouth refinery into a fuels import terminal. This move would put as many as 500 jobs at risk, while the new terminal would import fuels into Scotland. Sir Jim Ratcliffe is still in the process of finalizing his purchase of a stake in Manchester United, a year after talks began.

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