Leigh Taylor, regional director for SME banking in North East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: 

“With few major shake-ups revealed by the Chancellor in the Budget, businesses can focus their attention on driving growth and preparing for any uncertainty ahead for the economy.

“A third of North East firms told us in our latest Business in Britain report that they had experienced difficulties recruiting skilled labour in the second half of 2016, and so firms will welcome the government’s commitment to boosting skills through the creation of ‘T-levels’.

“The Chancellor’s continued commitment to the North’s transport infrastructure through a new £90 million fund will also be key for North East firms, and many will welcome the plans to improve connectivity to the rest of the UK. Investment in broadband connectivity is also encouraging to see, as this has the potential to bolster the productivity of firms in parts of the region, which are held back by slow and unreliable networks. 

“Firms may have to wait for more clarity on business rates changes, however the three measures outlined by the Chancellor’s will be well-received by some small businesses.”