Today, the Chancellor has delivered his 2021 Budget statement.
The damage coronavirus has done to our economy has been acute. Since March last year, 700,000 people have lost their jobs, the economy has shrunk by 10 per cent - the largest fall on record - and our borrowing is at the highest it has ever been outside of wartime.
This Budget protects the jobs and livelihoods of the British people with a three-part plan:
- Supporting people and businesses through this moment of crisis
- Beginning to fix the public finances with a fair and honest plan about how to do so
- Building our future economy
Alongside this, over this year and next, £407 billion of support will be provided for families, jobs and businesses.
Specific measures include:
- Extending furlough until the end of September
- Two further grants for the self-employed - and bringing in in 19/20 starters
- Restart grants of up to £18,000 to get our retail, hospitality, leisure and personal care businesses going again
- Business rates holiday extended for 3 months, before tapering for another 9
- Extending the VAT cut to 5 per cent for a further six months, before tapering for another six
- Continuing our stamp duty cut for another three months, before tapering for another three
- Extending Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits by six months
- More money for apprenticeships and traineeships
- £700 million for arts, culture and sports
- A brand new 95 per cent mortgage guarantee for prospective homebuyers
At the same time, steps will be taken to start to repair the public finances, including:
- Asking the largest, most profitable firms to pay more in two years' time by increasing corporation tax to 25 per cent - while still being the lowest in the G7, and the fifth lowest in the G20
- Maintaining personal tax allowances at their current levels from April 2023 until 2026
- Keeping inheritance, capital gains and pensions lifetime allowances and the VAT threshold at current levels
- No increases to income tax, NICs or VAT
- Freezing alcohol duty and fuel duty
Personally, I think this is a sensible and fiscally responsible Budget to help guide us through the next year as, I hope, we emerge from the pandemic.
Further information can be found here.