THE top boss at a business group has cautiously welcomed last week's Budget announcement.

Responding to last week's Budget, Ross McNally, executive chair of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We wanted a Budget focused on productivity, skills, infrastructure and support for our exporters, and the chancellor has gone some way to meeting these aims.

“The one-third cut in business rates for those with smaller rateable values will benefit many smaller retailers and independent shops, pubs and cafés.

“At the same time, we welcome his move to delay the uprating of business rates for the high street for the next two years.

“However, radical reform over the longer term is still needed. The overall system of business rates remains broken, taking no account of profitability or economic circumstances, and so we will continue to press for radical change in this area.

“We are pleased with the measures to increase annual investment allowances, lower the costs for smaller businesses seeking to train apprentices, and introduce the package of support to help rescue our High Streets.”