Today’s Budget has set out the Government’s economic plans for the next year, delivering on our manifesto promises and protecting the UK economy. There are six key parts:
- It makes sure the NHS has all the resources it needs, providing a significant funding boost and 50,000 more nurses.
- It keeps the cost of living low with an over £200 tax cut for the typical family.
- It increases the National Living Wage to boost the wages of the lowest paid.
- It keeps people safe by increasing funding for counter-terrorism and our intelligence community.
- It delivers £500 million every year to fill potholes, speeding up journeys, reducing vehicle damage and making our roads safer.
- And it pledges £9.5 billion to build affordable homes, helping people onto the housing ladder.
This budget also forms the Governments economic response to bring stability and security in the face of the Coronavirus outbreak. It includes a number of measures aimed to support public services, individuals affected, and businesses through the disruption.
Supporting Public Services.
The Chancellor made it clear that the NHS will have whatever resources it needs to tackle the virus. Therefore, the Chancellor has initially made available an extra £5 billion so that the NHS can treat Coronavirus Patients, councils can support vulnerable people, and ensure that other public services have the support that they need.
£40 million of new funding will be made available to enable further rapid research into the virus and increase the capacity for testing and surveillance.
There will also be a contribution of up to £150 million to the IMF’s Catastrophe and Containment Relief Trust to help the effort to stop further transmission of the virus, including into the UK.
Supporting People Affected
Statutory Sick Pay will now be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 who are unable to work because they are self-isolating. This will be payable from day 1 for affected individuals. People who are advise to self-isolate will soon be able to obtain a fit note by contacting NHS 111. This can be used by employees where their employers require evidence.
Those not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will now be able to make a claim for Universal Credit or and Enhanced Employment and Support Allowance.
£500 million more funding will be made available so that Local Authorities can support economically vulnerable people through tax reliefs.
Supporting Businesses Experiencing Increased Disruption
We will bring forward legislation to allow SMEs and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19
We will increase the Business Rates retail discount to 100% for one year and expand it to the leisure and hospitality sectors, and the introduction of a £5,000 rates discount for pubs. Taken together with existing Small Business Rates Relief an estimated 900,000 properties, or 45% of all properties in England, will receive 100% business rates relief in 2020/21. Guidance for this will be published on 20th March.
We will provide an additional £2.2 billion funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief.
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme delivered by the British Business Bank will launch in the coming weeks.
Businesses and self-employed people in financial distress may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. Arrangements are agreed case-by-case. Businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice.