THE Chancellor's Budget announcements are “uninspiring for Somerset businesses”, says the CEO of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.

Following the Chancellor's speech on March 19, the Chamber's Rupert Cox said: “The headlines from this year's Budget are uninspiring for Somerset businesses, with the Chancellor tinkering around the edges of the economy to grab a few tabloid inches.

“We are disappointed he did not address the underlying inequality around business rates, and did not recognise the business community's efforts in helping to get the economy back into sustained growth.

“Help with the easing of employment tax - employers' National Insurance contributions and cuts in excise duties - would have helped stimulate the economy further and encouraged even greater employment opportunities.”

Mr Cox added that while the Chamber welcomes additional flood defence funds, members are concerned the Thames Valley will grab most of it, with the upcoming election year on the way.

He added: “We would have liked to have seen a real financial commitment to investing in the improvements along the A303 corridor.

“This Budget was a lost opportunity for the Chancellor to prove that he understands the plight of small businesses in Somerset and across rural England.”