George Osborne has delivered his fourth budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer, promising to support what he calls “our aspiration nation.”

“We’re slowly but surely fixing the country’s economic problems,” said Osborne “It is taking longer than anyone hoped, but we must stay on the right track.”

Growth has been forecast at 0.6 percent for 2013, with gradual rises each year to reach a peak of 2.8 percent in 2017.

The Office of Budget Responsibility confirmed that the UK will avoid a second quarter of negative growth, despite government forecasts of borrowing £114 billion in the 2012/2013 financial year.

Among changes relevant to the motor industry was a scrapping of the planned fuel duty rise, due in September. The Chancellor also pledged to support green car production, saying the government must “support the manufacture of ultra low emission vehicles,” with tax incentives.

The Chancellor also lent his support to Lord Heseltine’s recommendation of a single competitive fund for local enterprises to access, as well as Doug Richard’s report into making the most of apprenticeships.

He also outlined a new employment allowance for small businesses, giving them £2000 from national insurance contributions to hire new staff. The Chancellor said he wanted to remove the “burden” of taking on new staff for companies, and that his plan would mean “around 450 thousand small businesses will pay no jobs tax at all.”

The Chancellor also reiterated the importance of keeping UK finances secure, commenting that any trouble within the Eurozone would “hit Britain hard” and that “we are still very exposed to what happens on the continent.”

Concluding his report, the Chancellor said this budget was right for people who like to play by the rules and save for their futures. “Britain is open for business,” he said

Various groups have offered their opinions on today’s announcements  – you can read their thoughts here.

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