Here are the main points from Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget:
– Outlining the Government’s economic response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Mr Sunak unveiled an additional “fiscal loosening” of £18 billion to support the economy this year, taking the total fiscal stimulus to £30 billion.
– The NHS will receive “any extra resources it needs”, whether that is “millions or billions of pounds” to deal with Covid-19 on top of £6 billion of new funding to support the NHS over this Parliament.
– Statutory sick pay (SSP) will be extended to all of those eligible and asked to self-isolate, even if they are not showing symptoms, and the Government will meet the cost for businesses with fewer than 250 employees of providing SSP for 14 days.
– A temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme will be introduced for banks to offer loans of up to £1.2 million to support small and medium-sized businesses with their cash flow.
– Business rates for businesses with a rateable value below £51,000 to support small businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.
– The Chancellor said borrowing will increase from 2.1% of GDP in 2019/20 to 2.4% in 2020/21 and 2.8% in 2021/22 and borrowing will then fall to 2.5%, 2.4% and 2.2% in the following years.
– The National Insurance threshold will increase from £8,632 to £9,500 and the National Living Wage will rise to £10.50 per hour by 2024 if economic conditions allow.
– Fuel duty will be frozen for another year, £26 billion will be invested in roads, and the Government will abolish £2.4 billion annual tax relief on red diesel in two years’ time, but agriculture, rail, domestic heating and fishing will be exempt.
– Duties will be frozen on beer, cider, wine and spirits, and the Government will provide £1 million to support Scottish food and drink overseas and £10 million to help distilleries “go green”.
– The lifetime limit for entrepreneurs’ relief will be reduced from £10 million to £1 million, saving £6 billion a year, and research and development investment will be increased to £22 billion a year.
– A “plastics packaging tax” charging manufactures and importers £200 per tonne on packaging made of less than 30% of recycled plastic will be introduced in April 2022.
– The Treasury will make £120 million available immediately to repair defences damaged in the winter floods and the Government will double investment to £5.2 billion flood defences over six years.
– Mr Sunak said more than £600 billion would be spent investing in future prosperity over the next five years, taking net public investment to the highest levels in real terms since 1955.
– The so-called tampon tax will be abolished, and VAT on digital books, newspapers, magazines and academic journals will be scrapped from December 1.
– A £1 billion building safety fund will be set up to ensure all unsafe combustible cladding is removed from buildings above 59ft (18m) tall.