‘The whole statement is a bit populist and misguided’

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The chief executive of recycling group Straight accused the Chancellor of announcing “populist and misguided” measures to boost the economy.

Jonathan Straight, who runs the Leeds-based recycling container manufacturer, said the Autumn Statement left him feeling “pretty confused” because it was not clear how many of the announcements would become a reality.

He welcomed the plans for credit easing worth £21bn, which will see the taxpayer underwriting lending to small businesses, but added that George Osborne did not detail how it would work.

Mr Straight also hailed the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, offering investors 50 per cent income tax relief to invest in small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). He said: “The Chancellor will be criticised for making the rich richer but this scheme will take the burden off the banks and encourage high net worth individuals to invest.”

But he warned that the additional £75m to support technology-based SMEs did not go far enough. “How many new products are you going to be able to develop with £75m?” he said.

He added: “Our feeling for next year is more optimistic than pessimistic but that’s not because of what was said in the Autumn Statement.

“Is a £2,275 subsidy from the Government going to make us more likely to take on someone in our factory? If they are good then yes, if they aren’t then no. The whole statement is a bit populist and misguided.”