Terry Scuoler, chief executive of manufacturers' organisation the EEF, said the Budget "may have given manufacturers much-needed clarity on how the government will go about reducing the deficit."
"But the short-term pressure to start tackling the deficit means the Chancellor has only done part of the job of rebalancing the economy," said Scuoler.
"In recent weeks, manufacturers had been encouraged by strong commitments from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor on the role of manufacturing in a better balanced economy," said Scuoler.
"They will now be left wondering where the necessary growth and investment will come from, given the cuts to investment allowances and capital budgets," said Scuoler.
Small business support group the Forum of Private Business believes the 1% cut in small companies' tax, together with the new £5m threshold for entrepreneurs' relief on capital gains tax (CGT), are positive measures for small businesses.
"Obviously, the VAT rise will have an impact on many smaller businesses, either directly or indirectly," said Forum chief executive Phil Orford.
"However, I expect most Forum members would rather stomach a VAT increase than a rise in other taxes, or even greater cuts in public spending," said Orford.
"The 1% reduction in small companies' tax is obviously more than welcome - it's something we and the SME community have long called for," said Orford.