This afternoon Chancellor George Osborne made his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons.
Mr Osborne’s announcement made for gloomy listening, with downgrades of the forecasts for UK growth and news of more job cuts.
Here is a run-down of the main points for business.
Growth and borrowing
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has downgraded its forecasts for UK economic growth to 0.9 per cent in 2011 and 0.7 per cent in 2012.
Meanwhile the government will borrow around £100 billion more than originally forecast.
The OBR now expects that 710,000 public sector jobs will be cut by the first quarter of 2017 – significantly higher than the original estimates of 400,000.
The 3 pence increase in fuel duty, due in January, has been delayed until August. August’s planned 5 pence increase has been scrapped.
As expected, corporation tax will be cut to 25 per cent from April 2012.
The business rate ‘holiday’ for small businesses has been extended until April 2013.
The government will guarantee up to £40 billion in loans to SMEs, and a further £1 billion “partnership” scheme will be launched for medium-sized businesses.
Energy-intensive firms will receive a new £220 million package.
The government will pay for six-month work placements in private businesses for unemployed young people.