RISHI Sunak has set out his Budget 2021 plan to help struggling families and keep British businesses afloat.
The Chancellor revealed extra help for 600,000 self employed people with grants of up to £7,500 and said furlough is to be extended until September.
Previously they could only claim if they had filled in a recent tax return, which meant millions were shut out.
The Chancellor also extended the stamp duty holiday until June 30 as house prices rocketed 6.9 per cent year-on-year last month to a record high of £231,061 last month, new data shows.
A £20 a week Universal Credit uplift in payments has also been extended for another six months for low income households.
You can watch the Budget here, live on this page, by clicking the video above and follow all the latest news, updates and analysis of what the Budget means for you on our live blog below…
EXPLAINER – WHAT IS THE BUDGET?
The Budget is when the Government outlines its plans for tax hikes, cuts and things like changes to Universal Credit and the minimum wage.
It’s different to the Spending Review, which sets out how much public cash will go towards funding certain departments, devolved governments and services, such as the NHS.
The Budget is read out in the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was Rishi Sunak‘s second Budget as Chancellor.
Mr Sunak’s first Budget in March last year was dubbed the “coronavirus Budget” after it focused on supporting Brits financially through the crisis, rather than the Government’s “levelling up” agenda as promised in the 2019 general election.
THE 2021 BUDGET AT A GLANCE
Rishi Sunak’s Budget gave “little hope” to the struggling social care sector, experts today warned.
Charities, care groups and MPs criticised the lack of support for the NHS, warning carers have been “forgotten” while cancer patients could “die needlessly” due to a lack of investment.
The Government said last month it is committed to reform and will bring forward proposals later this year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his budget this afternoon with a range of packages including a £1.6billion injection to the jabs programme.
PRESS CONFERENCE HAS ENDED
40/45 TOWNS HELPED ARE CONSERVATIVE-HELD – ARE THESE DECISIONS POLITICAL?
Mr Sunak said he is delivering support to all areas of the country. There are freeports in all different regions.
Mr Sunak speaking at the press conference.
CHANCELLOR ASKED ABOUT WHETHER HE IS WORRIED TAKING THE TAX BURDEN TO ITS HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE ROY JENKINS
The Chancellor said that none of the other Chancellor’s had to deal with a pandemic or any Chancellor in the last 100 years.
Mr Sunak said that he is funding strong public services.
CORPORATION TAX STILL FIFTH LOWEST RATE IN G20
Mr Sunak said that despite the tax rate going up, Britain will still have the fifth lowest rate in the G20.
‘NOBODY’S CURRENT TAKE HOME PAY WILL BE AFFECTED’
Rishi Sunak said that no person’s take home page will change with the freeze of the personal tax allowance.
CHANCELLOR ASKED ABOUT CLADDING
An additional £3.5billion pounds was given a few months ago toward helping remediate unsafe cladding over 18metres.
That work is already underway.
“We’re getting on with that at pace”.
CHANCELLOR REMEMBERS ALL THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES TO COVID-19
“To the family and friends left behind your loss felt most acutely in the quietest of moments must be overwhelming. but I promise you,” Mr Sunak asked.
“We will meet this moment with the passion and energy it demands.
“And we will build a fairer and more just country in their memory.”
SUNAK CONFIRMS TO RISE IN TAXES
“I am not going to increase the rate of income tax, national insurance or VAT,” the Chancellor said.
THIS BUDGET IS ABOUT ‘LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR OUR FUTURE ECONOMY’ SAYS SUNAK
“We are building our economy by doing things we haven’t before,” the Chancellor said.
EXTENDING SUPPORT ‘WELL PAST LOCKDOWN’
The Chancellor confirmed that support for people and businesses will surpass the lockdown.
Corporation tax will stay the same.
RISHI NOW SPEAKING AT PRESS BRIEFING
The Chancellor is now speaking at the press briefing. You can watch here.
MANY DOCTORS MAY LEAVE NHS RATHER THAN FACE HUGE PENSION TAX BILLS, BMA WARNS
Many doctors may leave the NHS or cut their hours rather than face big tax bills as a result of the freezing of the pensions lifetime allowance, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.
The amount people can save before tax charges kick in will be held at its current level of £1,073,100 until April 2026.
Pensions experts have previously described the lifetime allowance as a “stealth tax” and warned more of middle Britain, including NHS doctors, could be caught in the tax net.
Chairman of the BMA pensions committee, Dr Vishal Sharma, said: “Ahead of the Budget, we surveyed our members to gain their views on the impact of a freeze of this kind.
BLACKFORD: SUNAK DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE POOR IN BREXIT BRITAIN
Rishi Sunak does not understand what it is like to be poor in “Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain”, MPs have been told.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford made the claim as he responded to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement on Wednesday.
Mr Blackford said the Prime Minister should be “utterly, utterly ashamed” of a lack of financial support for self-employed people over the last year.
He told the Commons: “The Chancellor doesn’t understand what it’s like to be poor in Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain.
“Chancellor, do the right thing, this should never be temporary, it should be permanent… making the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent has also got to extend to legacy benefits.”
IS THERE ANOTHER STATEMENT FROM RISHI SUNAK TODAY?
Yes, the Chancellor will be holding a press conference 5pm.
You can watch the press briefing on our YouTube channel.
GOVERNMENT TO BACK NEW BUSINESS LOANS OF UP TO £10M
The Government is to back loans of up to £10 million for companies that need support until the end of the year as its Covid-19 lending schemes run out.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told MPs he plans a new Recovery Loan Scheme to tide businesses over.
From April 6 it will replace the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and its larger sibling CLBILS.
The Treasury will promise to cover 80% of what banks lend if businesses do not pay back their loans.
Mr Sunak said: “Some businesses will also need loans to see them through. As the Bounce Back Loan and CBIL schemes come to an end, we’re introducing a new Recovery Loan Scheme to take their place.
“Businesses of any size can apply for loans from £25,000 up to £10 million, through to the end of this year.”
COVID-19 DEATHS CUT STATE PENSION SPENDING AND PUSH UP INHERITANCE TAX RECEIPTS
Excess deaths as a result of coronavirus will reduce spending on the state pension and increase inheritance tax receipts, according to analysis of Budget data.
More than 144,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have occurred in the UK since the start of the pandemic, figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show.
Most coronavirus deaths have been in people aged over 65, many of whom will have been receiving the state pension.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimated that will partly cause the Government’s pensioner spending to fall by £600 million in 2020/21 and £900 million in 2021/22, relative to its March 2020 forecast.
While the fiscal watchdog said the “primary driver of lower spending is the weaker outlook for average earnings growth”, excess coronavirus deaths have also reduced the number of people receiving pensions relative to previous assumptions.
STAMP DUTY EXTENSION ‘A HUGE RELIEF TO BUYERS STUCK IN TRANSACTION LOGJAM’
An additional 300,000 transactions in England could benefit by the end of June from the stamp duty extension announced in the Budget, according to estimates.
Within minutes of the extension being announced, there were signs of house hunters rushing to see the properties available online.
Property professionals said the announcement will be a “huge relief” to those who had been stuck in transaction bottlenecks, saving them thousands of pounds.
Introduced last July, the stamp duty holiday had been due to end on March 31, but it will remain until the end of June and then there will be a “tapered” period running until September.
FUEL DUTY FROZEN FOR 11TH YEAR RUNNING
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that fuel duty will remain frozen for the 11th consecutive year.
Mr Sunak revealed in his Budget that the rate will remain at 58p per litre for petrol and diesel.
He told the Commons: “Right now, to keep the cost of living low, I’m not prepared to increase the cost of a tank of fuel.
“So the planned increase in fuel duty is also cancelled.”
EXPLAINER – WHAT IS THE PERSONAL ALLOWANCE?
The personal allowance is an amount you can earn each year tax-free. In the current tax year running from 6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021, that amount is £12,500. You then pay between 20%-45% income tax depending on how much you earn.
- Low earners: If you earn £12,500 or less, you pay no income tax
- Basic rate: If you earn £12,501 to £50,000, you pay 20% tax
- Higher rate: If you earn £50,001 to £150,000, you pay 40% tax
- Additional rate: If you earn £150,000 or more, you pay 45% tax
Just keep in mind your personal allowance might be different if you’re entitled to certain allowances or earn a lot of money. The marriage allowance is a tax break where one partner in a married couple can transfer some of their unused personal allowance to another.
And people with sight issues can get the blind person’s allowance which increases this tax-free amount. And anyone who earns over £125,000 doesn’t get any tax-free personal allowance – they will pay income tax on everything they earn.
UK INFRASTRUCTURE BANK ANNOUNCEMENT
A UK Infrastructure Bank will be built in Leeds and will invest across the Uk in public and private projects to finance the green industrial revolution.
It will begin in Spring with an initial capitalisation of £12billion.
It will be expected to support at least £40billion of total investment infrastructure.