Leading business figures in the county have given a cautious thumbs-up to the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Among the measures unveiled by George Osborne were a cut in corporation tax to 21% in April 2014 and billions of pounds of infrastructure projects.

Tony Mernagh, executive director at the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “The additional £2 billion on infrastructure projects is welcome.

"It is a pity it couldn't be more, but since it is being taken from existing departmental budgets perhaps that's a blessing.

“The freeze on fuel duty was widely forecast but enhanced increase in personal allowance wasn't.

“This is a good move when disposable incomes are stretched. I am surprised there are no changes to high-end property taxes which would have pleased Liberal Democrats in the absence of a mansion tax.”

Nick Handley, executive chairman of Sussex Enterprise, the county's chamber of commerce, said: “The extension of the small business rate relief, a further reduction in corporation tax to 21% and the abolition of any short term fuel tax rise should benefit all businesses.

“On the down side, however, the lack of response to the recommendations made in Lord Heseltine's recent review on growing the economy is very disappointing.”

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