The Chancellor has won a positive response from business organisations to an Autumn Statement in which he announced the ‘largest business tax cut in modern British history’.

Jeremy Hunt said he would help secure a £20 billion boost to annual business investment with a statement he reckoned included 110 measures to help firms.

The centre piece was a well-trailed plan to make the generous relief provided for investment in qualifying plant and machinery under the full capital expensing system permanent.

The relief means firms will be rewarded with a saving of up to 25p on their tax bills for every 100p that they invest.

Business leaders reckon the move will help reinforce the benefit of the two percentage point cut in the National Insurance rate payable by employees, to 10%, announced by Mr Hunt. This should provide a boost to demand.

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In a move intended to help the two million self-employed people who make up much of the business base in the UK, Mr Hunt said he would also reduce the rate of national insurance they have to pay on their earnings. He claimed the changes could save people an average £350 annually.

However, a 9.85% rise in the National Minimum Wage to £11.44 per hour will entail cost increases for businesses.

The Chancellor promised £4.5bn support to help attract investment into key growth sectors such as advanced manufacturing, automotive, life sciences and clean energy.

He raised the prospect the Government could sell shares in Royal Bank of Scotland owner NatWest to members of the public, under plans to help increase investment in UK firms.

The statement promised reform of the process involved in connecting to the National Grid, with the aim of cutting the long waiting times faced by companies that want to develop offshore windfarms and the like.

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Mr Hunt also said the planning system would be speeded up and extended business rates relief for firms operating in the key retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. The Scottish Government came under pressure to provide similar rates relief in next month’s Scottish Budget.

CBI chief executive rain Newton-Smith said the Chancellor had prioritised ‘game-changing’ interventions that will fire the economy.

“Making full capital expensing a permanent feature of the tax system can be transformational for accelerating growth and improving living standards in the long-term,” she said.

Noting the value of the relief, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland chief executive Bruce Cartwright said: “We will want assurances that this change will last beyond the current government.”

He added: ”It’s good to see measures to support those on the lowest incomes such as raising the national minimum wage, but it’s Britain’s small businesses who will carry the burden of this increase.”

Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland Policy Chair, Andrew McRae welcomed the decision to scrap Class II National Insurance contributions for the self-employed and to reduce the Class IV rate.

He said the Chancellor had provided relief for Scotland’s whisky and wider drinks and hospitality industries with the freezing of alcohol duty.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor … has nudged the dial in the right direction, but business needs more.”