October 6 2015.

The CBI responded to the speech given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester yesterday.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: "We welcome the opportunities outlined by the Chancellor for boosting local growth, as long as they don't push up costs for businesses.

"If this bold announcement on business rates is a way to cut them, then it will spur councils to take a pro-growth approach, and has the CBI's support. But this must not be a way to increase rates without the consent of the local business community.

"Businesses wants to boost training and see sustainable wage growth based on real rises in productivity, and lower taxes support that aim. But the National Living Wage is a gamble and together with the apprenticeship levy will add significant costs to business and make creating jobs harder.

"Updating the UK's infrastructure is critical to sustainable growth and productivity, and we've long called for an independent body to assess our long-term needs.

"Businesses will want to see the new infrastructure commission hit the ground running, and top of its national action list should be assessing the Trans-Pennine railway, Crossrail 2, and the Horizon new nuclear plant at Wylfa.

"At the same time, the new Commission must not duck major infrastructure decisions that need taking now, particularly on expanding aviation capacity in the South East.

"Pooling local pension schemes will create the scale needed to invest in infrastructure, which because of their long-term nature and stability can make sound investments for pension funds.

"Finishing the job of returning Lloyds to the market is good news for investors and customers and is testament to the successful recent management of the group.

"Firms are unwavering in their support for deficit reduction and will welcome the Chancellor's continued commitment to this.”