Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has delivered the first Budget speech in over a year, with a clear focus on measures to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Sunak’s Budget speech also covered changes to National Insurance thresholds, broadband, infrastructure spending and pensions. Here, Which? explains what the Chancellor announced and how it could affect your finances.
Billions pledged to combat coronavirus
The Chancellor opened his speech to the House of Commons by outlining his ‘fiscal response’ to the outbreak of Covid-19.
The plan includes:
Extra NHS funding: Mr Sunak promised to give the health service whatever it needs to cope with the virus, ‘whether that’s millions or billions of pounds’.
Extending statutory sick pay: it will now be available for eligible self-isolating workers, even if they don’t show symptoms, and for those caring for people with Covid-19 symptoms in their household. This doesn’t include the self-employed or low earners. You will also be able to get a sick note over the phone by calling 111.
Help for small businesses: the government will refund the costs of statutory sick pay to eligible small and medium-sized businesses. Some of these businesses will also be offered loans to cover losses.
Business rates reform: retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of under £51,000 will pay no business rates at all for the 2020-21 tax year. Some 700,000 small businesses which are not eligible for this relief will be offered £3,000 cash grants.
In total, the Chancellor said he will spend £30bn on bracing the economy for the outbreak, and promised to spend more if needed.