George Osborne’s latest Budget provided mixed news for UK, businesses, and will have varying effects on the construction industry and other sectors in the short- and long-term.

One significant positive was the decision not to increase fuel duty, which had been widely expected and is now being celebrated after the chancellor decided to maintain the freeze for the sixth consecutive year.

After the first rise in fuel costs for eight months, it will provide relief for businesses that transport a significant amount of products or material. The chancellor predicts that savings for small business will equate to around £300 a year, but for larger organisations with significant fleets it could extend into tens of thousands of pounds.

Further good news was announced in the form of infrastructure planning, with the chancellor rolling out extra spending for rail and roads.

This will included providing an extra £161 million to turn the M62 into a four-lane motorway and £75 million to improve other northern roads, including the A66 and A69, while additional flood defences will also be implemented across the UK.

Overall, however, the economic backdrop for George Osborne’s Budget was not as favourable as for his Autumn Statement at the end of 2015, with the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility being less positive.

This is not only in the short term due to worries about the global economy, but also the medium term due to concern about the pace of growth that the country can sustain over the coming years; the chancellor expects around two per cent growth for the next four or five years.

Looking at tax measures as a whole, there are a few helpful measures for business, with larger organisations who pay corporation tax seeing a drop down to 17 per cent by 2020 and smaller businesses benefitting from a rise in the rate of small business relief for business rates.

Other measures rolled out by the chancellor will include increasing the permanent level of the Annual Investment Allowance to £200,000, so that 99 per cent of firms will receive 100 per cent first-year relief on all qualifying investment.

Another key announcement was the biggest business energy tax reforms since the taxes were introduced, in response to the business energy efficiency tax review, in a bid to simplify the landscape and drive business.

As well as abolishing the CRC energy efficiency scheme following the 2018-19 compliance year, the government will increase the Climate Change Levy from 2019, to reduce the reliance on gas and further help to ensure businesses are committed to a sustainable future.

The construction industry will have a vested interest in the introduction of the legislation and the effect it will have on transport and building operations, but only time will tell how great the impact will be.