Lord Willie Haughey and Sir Tom Hunter have given their verdicts on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Budget statement. Speaking on their Go Radio Business Show , Lord Haughey said: “I’m a bit disappointed they could tell you exactly where eight investment zones were going to be in England, but it hadn’t been worked out yet where these might be in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

“I’m not being greedy here but I think Scotland should get two, going in size, Northern Ireland one and Wales one. I definitely think the UK Government have missed a trick. There should have been more emphasis on enterprise investment schemes, with more leeway for entrepreneurs to invest.”

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Lord Haughey also highlighted the need for Hunt and the Government to provide more incentives: “Take, for example, capital gains tax from when you sell a business. I think we should revisit this. One of the best policies that Gordon Brown ever introduced is when he set capital gains tax at 10% for selling a business.”

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Sir Tom Hunter had a different takeaway in the wake of the budget announcements, focussing on the news the UK would not suffer a recession this year.

“Saying we will not have a recession in 2023 is good news, especially from the perspective of where we were six months ago. But what I would say to the UK Government is, if you honestly believe that’s where inflation will sit at the end of the year, why don’t you get all the civil servants who are out on the street waving banners into a room and offer these people a decent pay rise?

“Okay, people are looking for 10% because inflation is sitting at 10%. Why don’t you get them in and say: ‘Here’s a bit above inflation.’ Think of the amount of people who are adding nothing to the national GDP because they’re out on strike. Get the situation resolved, give them the rises we can afford above inflation, but demonstrate to them, if you’re wrong, they can always go back on strike.”

Sir Tom revealed he believes Hunt is a safe pair of hands, adding: “It was quite a boring budget but you don’t really want too much excitement. I think Truss and Kwarteng tried that and excited us far too much!”