Chancellor Rishi Sunak opened his Budget announcement this afternoon with a £30bn package to aid the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus

Business rates for many firms in England are being abolished, sick pay is being extended, and NHS funding will receive a boost during what Sunak described to be a “significant but temporary disruption” to the UK economy.

Other measures put in place to stifle the infection’s effect include:

  • £5bn emergency response fund to support the NHS and public services.
  • Statutory sick pay “for all those who are advised to self-isolate”.
  • A £500m “hardship fund” to be given to local authorities to help vulnerable people.
  • Sick pay refunds for firms with fewer than 250 staff for two weeks.
  • Day one in-work benefits for those who get ill.
  • “Business interruption” loans for small firms of up to £1.2m.

The Chancellor claimed this “fiscal stimulus” package was a bigger financial response to COVID-19 than any other country at present.

Energy & Environment

In response to the damage caused by turbulent weather, Mr Sunak also said he was providing £200m to build flood defence measures for local communities, and the total flood defence for the next six years will be doubled to £5bn, as predicted.

With regards to the environmental contribution of the budget, taxes on pollution will be raised, and funding for green transport solutions will be raised by £1bn.

On top of this, a £200 charge per tonne of under 30% recycled plastic will be put in place from April 2022, and 30,000 hectares – an area larger than Birmingham – will be planted.

Infrastructure

Following its notable pledges to infrastructure, the Chancellor stated, “if the country needs it, we will build it”, providing the highest level of spending on transport and infrastructure in half a century at £600bn.

  • £27bn on over 4,000 miles of roads (£2.5bn of which supposedly on potholes)
  • £5bn on improved broadband
  • £1.5bn on further education training
  • £27bn for motorways and key roads
  • £650m to tackle homelessness, an extra 6000 places for rough sleepers
  • £1bn to remove unsafe combustible cladding from public and private housing above 18 metres.
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