BUDGET 2021 AT A GLANCE: The key points from Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak got to his feet in the House of Commons shortly after 12.30pm to deliver the crucial speech on his plans for taxation and spending as Britain recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
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Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak outside number 11 Downing Street ahead of the Budget
- Sunak said Covid-19 has ‘fundamentally altered’ our way of life, telling the Commons: ‘Much has changed, but one thing has stayed the same: I said I would do whatever it takes – I have done and I will do.’
- He told MPs that the damage coronavirus has done to the UK economy has been ‘acute’ as he began his statement.
- Sunak added it will take the UK and the whole world a ‘long time to recover from this extraordinary economic situation, but we will recover.’
- The Chancellor said more than 700,000 people have lost their jobs since March 2020 and the economy has shrunk by 10 per cent, the largest fall in more than 300 years.
- The Office for Budget Responsibility is now forecasting, in their words ‘a swifter and more sustained recovery’ than expected in November.
- The OBR forecasts that the economy will grow this year by 4 per cent, by 7.3 per cent in 2022, then 1.7 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 1.7 per cent in the last three years of the forecast.
- Sunak said a July 2020 forecast suggested unemployment could peak at 11.9 per cent but the forecast now is for a much lower peak of 6.5 per cent.
- Sunak confirmed the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, and employees will continue to receive 80 per cent of their salary for hours not worked.
- He said the support for self-employed workers will also continue until September, with the fourth grant providing three months of support at 80 per cent of average trading profits.
Benefits and social policies
- The Chancellor announced an extra £19 million for domestic violence programmes.
- He said the £20 weekly increase for Universal Credit will continue for a further six months.
- Sunak said funding to support survivors of the Thalidomide scandal will be guaranteed forever, starting with £40million.
Business taxation and support
- Sunak said a ‘new restart grant’ will be provided in April to help businesses reopen.
- He told MPs non-essential retail businesses will receive grants of up to £6,000 per premises.
- Hospitality and leisure businesses, including personal care and gyms which open later, or be more impacted by restrictions when they do will get grants of up to £18,000. That totals £5 billion of new grants, on top of the £20 billion already provided.’
- When the Bounce Back Loan and CBIL schemes come to an end a new recovery loan scheme starts with loans from £25,000 up to £10 million available through to the end of this year.
- Sunak said the 100% business rates holiday in England will continue from April until June.
- The 5% reduced rate of VAT will be extended for six months to September 30, the an interim rate of 12.5% for another six months.