Budget 'for the few' criticised
Unions and campaign groups have attacked the Chancellor for failing to help workers or pensioners - while one business leader praised the Government for "sticking to its guns."
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This is a Budget for the few by the few that attacks the many. Millionaires are days away from getting a £40,000 tax cut from the Tories, but George Osborne is using the Budget to attack hard-working public sector workers.
"The worst Chancellor in British history has gone further by giving big business another tax cut while staff caring for the sick get pay cuts. This Chancellor's idea of aspiration is a warped one. Nurses, police and public servants take a pay hit, while corporations and millionaires are allowed to duck their tax duties to the nation."
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "While there is much for business to welcome in the Chancellor's statement, such as reviewing the MPC's remit, scrapping the rise on fuel duty, and putting £3.5 billion into helping buyers afford new homes, he and his Cabinet colleagues should have gone further to support enterprise and growth, such as scrapping damaging increases in business rates. We are at an unprecedented moment in economic history, and the Government should be doing everything in its power to get the economy moving."
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This Budget is the wrong answer to the wrong question. We face a jobs, growth and living standards crisis, yet today's proposals are small beer that do little more than tinker at the edges."
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: "We applaud this Budget. The Chancellor has stuck to his guns and held his nerve - which is exactly what we wanted to see. Deficit reduction is not an optional policy, it is an absolute necessity, and he is right to reject the siren calls to abandon it."
Dave Prentis, leader of Unison, said of the Chancellor: "He is out of ideas and should be out of a job. His Budget announcement acknowledges that the country is in desperate need of economic stimulus, but his pride is getting in the way of delivering the shot needed."
John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The Chancellor has pulled out all the stops with a wide ranging package of measures to support small business. The housing initiative will help reinvigorate the construction sector in which many of our members operate. the National Insurance cut goes beyond what we were asking for and we are pleased to see the scrapping of the 3p fuel duty due in September."
The National Pensioners Convention said the Budget was less "aspiration nation" and more "aspirin nation" given that it will have left millions of older people with a "severe financial headache" on issues such as pensions and social care.
Barnardo's chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: "This Budget has done nothing for the UK's most vulnerable families, and with a further 200,000 children already set to fall into poverty due to recent welfare changes, Barnardo's is concerned that the burden of spending cuts may yet again be borne by Britain's poorest."