The government's mini-budget announcement on Friday has received mixed reaction from businesses across Suffolk.

Amid soaring bills and rising inflation, Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng read out Downing Street's plans to tackle the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Key plans for business included a reverse in the recent rise in National Insurance contributions for employers, the cancellation of a UK-wide rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% in April 2023 and an energy bill relief scheme that will reduce wholesale energy costs.

Ashley Simpson is commercial director at Bury St Edmunds-based manufacturing firm, Denny Bros.

"This is a winter plaster," he said.

"It will help us offset some of our rising costs, but we need medium to long-term solutions.

"We welcome the news regarding corporation tax because we want to reinvest money into the business.

"And the reversal of National Insurance contributions is good - particularly as we've just had our annual pay increase.

"But I'd like to see more green initiatives for the long-term because, at the moment, this just isn't sustainable."

The Chancellor's announcement has received some backlash, with a number of experts and politicians claiming the highest beneficiaries will be those who earn the most.

Though Mr Kwarteng also announced a cut in the basic rate of income tax to 19% from April 2023, Friday also saw the cap on bankers' bonuses scrapped and those earning more than £150,000 a year will no longer pay the top income tax rate of 45%, instead paying the 40% applicable to those on more than £50,271.

"If I'm honest, I think local businesses are feeling left out," said Cathy Frost, owner of the Loveone gift shop in St Peter's Street, Ipswich.

"We'd like to see cuts to VAT and business rates. We've been calling for that for a long time now.

"The reduction in the basic rate of income tax might help increase the number of people willing to spend.

"But the scrapping of bankers' bonuses is obscene.

"I just don't see how this budget will help the high street."

Sarah Fitch of Cuppa café, in Felixstowe, echoed similar sentiments.

"This budget doesn't look at the bigger picture," she said.

"The government needs to tax the rich and distribute that wealth fairly.

"For me as a business owner, I have staff so the reversing of a rise in National Insurance contributions will help.

%image(15752301, type="article-full", alt="Sarah Fitch of Cuppa café in Felixstowe said: "This budget doesn't look at the bigger picture"")

"But it won't have enough of an effect to really make an impact.

"We need to be taxing big businesses and energy companies. That's how we can make the money trickle down."

Another issue businesses across the country are facing relates to staffing.

In June, a study by Barclays Corporate Banking revealed 98% of hospitality and leisure organisations in the east of England were struggling to recruit staff.

As a result, a number of businesses have had to reduce opening hours or close their doors completely.

Dave Courteen, managing director of Mosaic, which owns Riverhills Health Club and Spa in Ipswich, said he was glad to hear support was on the way but was disappointed there was no mention of solutions to the staffing crisis.

"It's great the government have acknowledged the issues with energy bills," he said.

"That will soften the blow of these significant increases we're seeing - even though we will still be paying double what we were paying in 2019.

"But one of the biggest issues we have is staffing. This hasn't been addressed.

"There just aren't enough people who are wanting to work in this industry."

Mr Courteen also said he was hoping for a reduction in VAT and business rates.

He said: "Businesses have been calling for a reduction in these two areas for a long time now.

"If I'm honest, this budget feels more like a knee-jerk reaction so the government can say they are doing something.

"We don't want gestures, we want long-term effective policies."