Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, has welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget announcement today, which extends existing measures supporting businesses through the pandemic and introduces new schemes of support.
A further £65 billion worth of support will be provided in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, £10m will be distributed through grants by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to support veterans with their mental health needs, and an extra £19m will be spent on domestic violence programmes to reduce the risk of reoffending and to pilot a network of respite rooms to provide specialist support for vulnerable, homeless women.
Nus Ghani said: “Small businesses are the backbone of Wealden’s economy and I welcome the support announced by the Chancellor today which will protect our local jobs and aid swifter recovery of our high streets. I am pleased that as we work to restart our economy, businesses will benefit from new grants of up to £18,000, extension to VAT cuts and extension to the furlough scheme. I am also pleased that over 600,000 more self-employed people will now be eligible for Government support as access to grants is widened.”
“I am incredibly grateful for the sacrifices of the men and women in our Armed Forces, past and present and I am pleased that we can go further to provide post-service support and security that they deserve. Incidents of domestic abuse in Wealden have been on the rise this past year, as the pandemic has been a particularly challenging time for those trapped at home with an abuser. I have been campaigning for more resources for victims of domestic violence and abuse since my election to Parliament and I am pleased that the Government has committed to providing further protection of victims of this devastating crime.”
Help for businesses
- Recovery Loan Scheme: From 6 April 2021 the Recovery Loan Scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on eligible loans between £25,000 and £10 million to give them confidence in continuing to provide finance to UK businesses. The scheme will be open to all businesses, including those who have already received support under the existing COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes.
- Restart Grants: The government will provide ‘Restart Grants’ in England of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses, giving them the cash certainty they need to plan ahead and safely relaunch trading over the coming months. The government is also providing all local authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated. Altogether, this support will cost £5 billion. This brings the total cost of cash grants provided by the government to £25 billion.
- Business rates relief extended: Businesses including retail, leisure and hospitality in England have been given another three months free of business rates until June. The government will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.
- Furlough extended: To support businesses and employees across the UK through the next stage of the pandemic, the government is extending the CJRS for a further five months from May until the end of September 2021. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June. From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September, as the economy reopens.
- New funding for some self-employed: To support the self-employed across the UK through the next stage of the pandemic, the government confirms that the fourth SEISS grant will be worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant will cover the period February to April, and can be claimed from late April. Self-employed individuals must have filed a 2019- 20 Self Assessment tax return to be eligible for the fourth grant. This means that over 600,000 individuals may be newly eligible for SEISS, including many new to self-employment in 2019- 20. All other eligibility criteria will remain the same as the third grant. Further details will be published in due course.
- VAT reduction for the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector: The government will extend the temporary reduced rate of 5% VAT for goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sector until 30 September 2021. To help businesses manage the transition back to the standard 20% rate, a 12.5% rate will apply for the subsequent six months until 31 March 2022.
- Stamp Duty holiday: The government will extend the temporary increase in the residential Stamp Duty Land Tax Nil Rate Band to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland until 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, the Nil Rate Band will reduce to £250,000 until 30 September 2021 before returning to £125,000 on 1 October 2021.
- Apprenticeships supported: The government will extend and increase the payments made to employers in England who hire new apprentices. Employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire, compared with £1,500 per new apprentice hire (or £2,000 for those aged 24 and under) under the previous scheme.
Help for communities
- Veterans supported: The government will provide an additional £10 million in 2021-22 to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, to deliver charitable projects and initiatives across the UK that support veterans with mental health needs, ensuring that veterans can access the services and support that they deserve.
- Tackling domestic abuse: The government will provide an additional £19 million towards tackling domestic abuse, including £15 million in 2021-22 across England and Wales to increase funding for perpetrator programmes that work with offenders to reduce the risk of abuse continuing, and £4 million between 2021-22 and 2022-23 to trial a network of ‘Respite Rooms’ across England to provide specialist support for homeless women facing severe disadvantage.
- Culture Recovery Fund: The government will provide £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund to continue to support key national and local cultural organisations in England as the sector recovers.
The Budget can be read in its entirety online here.