HAMPSHIRE business leaders are welcoming cuts to corporation tax, national insurance and the decision to scrap the threatened fuel duty.

Chancellor Osborne this afternoon unveiled his budget which he hoped would kick start the economy which he forecast would only grow by 0.8 per cent this year. by a further 1 per cent to 20 per cent in April 2015.

September's planned fuel duty rise has been scrapped.

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Jimmy Chesnutt said these measures were welcomed.

He said: "There are some positive announcements for business including the reduction in corporation tax and the cancellation of the September fuel duty rise.

“Dropping the requirement for all employers to pay the first £2,000 of National Insurance will make a big difference to many small businesses. It will go straight to the bottom line.

“We also welcome the steps being taken to help small companies win public sector contracts through a five-fold increase in the Small Business Research Initiative."