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Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak reveals latest coronavirus support and tax hike freeze


A freeze on alcohol and fuel duty, minimum house deposits dropped and a furlough extension have all been announced in today's budget.

While most of the key announcements had already been made, Chancellor Rishi Sunak also revealed he will extend the £20 uplift on Universal Credit until October.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Sunak said: "A year ago in my first budget I announced our initial response to the pandemic. What was thought to be a temporary disruption to our everyday life has fundamentally altered it.

"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 so.

"Since March over 700,000 people have lost their jobs. Our economy has shrunk by 10% - the largest fall in over 300 years. Our borrowing has been the highest it's been outside of war time.

"It's going to take a long time to recover. But we will."

The OBR is forecasting a "swifter and more sustained recovery" with a recovery expected by the middle of next year - six months earlier than predicted in November.

Outlining a three-part plan to recovery, Mr Sunak confirmed the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September. The government's contribution will be tapered from July. At that point empolyers will be expected to contribute 10%, increasing to 20% in August and September.

A fourth grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be available to claim from April, worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits up to £7,500. The fifth grant will be three months of average profit from month.


The 600,000 recently self-employed people will also be eligible for grants.

He added: "People who's turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full 80% grant."

The Universal Credit uplift of £20 a week will continue for six months. The national living wage will be raised to £8.91.

An extra £19 million is being invested in domestic violence programmes to support vulnerable women. Mental health support for veterans will receive £10 million. Non-essential retail grants will receive up to £10,000.

Museums, theatres and galleries will receive money from a £400m fund allocated to help them reopen. Another £300m will be given to sports.

Several of the countries largest lender will be offering 95% mortgages from next month to help people buy their own homes and "change generation rent in to generation buy". Stamp Duty holidays will also be extended.

"This budget protects the livelihoods of British people," Mr Sunak added. "At this budget we are announcing an additional £65 billion of measures over this year and next to support the economy in response to the coronavirus. Our total support package this year and next is £352 billion.

"Coronavirus has caused one of the largest and most comprehensive and sustained economic shocks this country has ever faced. by any objective analysis this government has delivered one of the largest most comprehensive and sustained responses the country has ever seen. We're using the full measure of our fiscal fire power to protect the livelihoods of British people."

Kent reacts

The news of a freeze on fuel duty was welcomed by Craig Mackinlay MP, South Thanet and chair of the APPG for Fair Fuel. He said: “The continued freeze on fuel duty is absolutely the right decision and one that will be welcomed by hard-pressed motorists and hauliers up and down the country.

"The electorate resoundingly rejects the green lobby’s unpopular policies at repeated elections. The Chancellor is quite right to dismiss their call for an increase in fuel duty too.”

And while the extension to the Stamp Duty holidays will be great news for homebuyers, a property expert has said Mr Sunak could have done more.

David Westgate, group chief executive, Andrews Property Group, comments:"As expected, the Stamp Duty holiday has been extended, but the Government has missed a gilt-edged opportunity to put in place measures to avoid another cliff-edge scenario in three month’s time.

"Reducing the nil band rate from £500k to £250k, while a better solution than simply cutting off the tax break on June 30, could still result in a stampede of buyers rushing to complete before the deadline.

“A better solution, surely, would have been to allow transactions, where a mortgage offer has been granted before the deadline, to complete at their own pace.

“This would have avoided buyers dropping out of a transaction that's in progress because they aren’t able to complete before the deadline.

“It would also have given conveyancers the time and breathing space to work their way through the backlog of cases piling up on their desks, which are only likely to increase after today's announcement."

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