The Budget is packed with policies that will affect your finances. Here are just some of the ways:
Paying the wages of those on furlough: The furlough scheme - which pays 80% of employees' wages for the hours they cannot work in the pandemic - has been extended until September.
Jabs, then jobs: The extra £1.65bn to help vaccinate every adult by the end of July should mean people can get back to work and the economy can start to recover.
Support for the self-employed: Support for the self-employed comes in the form of grants. From next month, claims can be made for a fourth grant worth 80% of three months' average trading profits, up to £7,500 in total. But changes to how the scheme works are coming.
Finding the deposit for a mortgage: The chancellor confirmed that a government guarantee means first-time buyers should get a wider choice of mortgages that require a deposit of just 5% of the loan.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies think tank, believes the chancellor is taking a big risk in lifting the UK's corporation tax rate from 19% to 25%, starting in 2023.
“What we can be sure of is that
Rishi Sunak has spent big again, extending some support right through 2021 at a
cost of an additional £60bn or more," he says. "As a result borrowing is now
forecast to again be above 10% of national income in the coming financial year.
But he adds: "Whether the big fiscal tightening planned for subsequent years will actually
happen is less certain. It continues to depend on spending being lower than
planned prior to the pandemic.
And it also depends on a large increase in
corporation tax actually being implemented without additional measures to at
least ease its long-run impact," Mr Johnson says.
"Make no mistake, this proposed increase in the
main rate of corporation tax is a big reversal of decades of policy direction
and a significant risk. For all the rhetoric about it leaving the headline rate
here below that in other G7 countries, our effective tax rate will
be relatively high."
What help is there for the 'excluded' self-employed?
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The chancellor announced that two further grants will be offered to self-employed people struggling to work because of coronavirus.
An estimated 600,000 newly self-employed workers will be able to claim the support for the first time, using their 2019-2020 tax return.
They missed out on the earlier income support grants because they couldn't prove their self-employed status.
Those most affected by the pandemic will be able to claim up to 80% of their average trading profits, subject to a maximum cap.
However, self-employed people who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are still not covered by the scheme.
How does the Budget affect entertainment and arts?
Entertainment and arts bodies have broadly welcomed the Budget announcements, while also demanding greater support and clarity.
The chancellor announced £390m to help arts venues in England, including theatres, museums and galleries, reopen.
The lion's share (£300m) will go into the pre-existing Culture Recovery Fund, and £90m will go to helping national museums and cultural bodies.
Elsewhere, Mr Sunak announced that the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme will be extended for six months until 31 December 2021.
Reacting to the Budget, Music Venue Trust boss Mark Davyd welcomed the extensions to furlough, support for the self-empolyed and the VAT cut on ticket sales.
"These measures are supportive of the next steps in the campaign to reopen every venue safely" he said.
Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, the UK's official industry body for live music, said he "warmly welcomed" the additional financial support, which he described as "due recognition from [the] government that the live music industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic".
"The extension of the reduced 5% rate of VAT, in particular, will provide significant support to businesses who have had their revenue decimated over the past year," he said.
There were several references to "levelling up" in Wednesday's Budget. It was also one of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's most-used terms of the 2019 election campaign.
The idea is that people and communities that feel they have been left behind get a chance to catch up.
So far, what it means in practice and if there's any way its success can be judged, is a bit vague.
Many organisations have put forward suggestions of things that need to be addressed such as employment rates, pay, health and formal education, but there seems to be fairly broad agreement that one of the central issues is the differences in productivity between regions - that's the amount of value created per hour worked.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the Budget he has delivered protects jobs, businesses and will bring prosperity across the UK.
Analysis: A Covid-shaped hole in the Budget
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big day is in some ways a big gamble - a gamble that the swift roll-out of
jabs will underpin the recovery and will do some of the heavy lifting in
repairing public finances by boosting tax receipts.
But once the various
existing support packages are tailed off in the coming months, there are two
key unanswered questions.
Firstly, where will the support for job creation come from?
And where, asks the government’s own fiscal watchdog, is the provision for public
services going forward, in particular for health?
From track and tracing, to dealing with possible new mutant strains, the challenge of dealing with the coronavirus doesn’t just go away.
The chancellor’s plans have him switching
from giving to taking mode in the next few years, but the reality may be quite
What did we learn from the chancellor's press conference?
Rishi Sunak's media briefing came after his Budget speech today.
He began by saying he wants to be "honest about the problems we face", and said and it will take "a long time" to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the proposed increase, the UK's corporation tax will be lower than in many of its competitors. Mr Sunak insisted the government was "on the side of businesses" but said the pandemic had made some tax rises necessary
Ben Riley-Smith from the Daily Telegraph asks if the government will rule out rises in capital gains tax, and if the UK economy should open earlier if vaccination data says it's safe to do so.
Rishi Sunak says that he cannot comment on fiscal policy beyond what's been announced today in the budget. He says he wants the roadmap to reopening the country to be "cautious but irreversible", so once the economy is reopened, he doesn't want to have to do another lockdown.
And that, is the last question of the press conference.
Will support schemes be extended further?
Graham Hiscott of the Daily Mirror asks if the chancellor will extend support schemes if the timetable for easing restrictions slips.
He also asks why there is no pay rise for many public sector workers.
Rishi Sunak says the government purposely extended support schemes beyond the end of the current timetable to allow for any changes to the roadmap.
On public sector pay, he says wages are falling in the private sector but not in the public sector and that "I thought, for reasons of fairness, it was reasonable to take a more targeted approach to public sector pay".
He says people in the NHS will receive a pay rise and that those in the public sector, who earn less than £24,000, will see their pay will go up by 1%.
Is levelling up criteria fair or driven by politics?
George Parker from the FT asks about the levelling up programme.
He notes that 40 of the 45 areas that will get support are represented by Tory MPs, including the Chancellor's own constituency. Was fair criteria used he asks or did politics influence the decision?
Rishi Sunak says there is an index of economic need and it is transparently published.
He stresses that no area is excluded from bidding - the areas named today are those that have been identified as need extra support.
Another year of record borrowing to come
BBC head of statistics
spending watchdog believes that, between last March and the end of this month,
the state will have borrowed a £355bn - a peacetime record.
Even as we move
towards recovery next year, borrowing will remain very high.
Money is still
required to fight coronavirus, and to supporting people and businesses through
the economic shutdown.
And that shutdown
doesn’t do much for the tax take.
If the economy
does grow as the chancellor hopes then borrowing should then return pretty steadily to more normal levels.
But, as in so
many other things, the future is very uncertain and depends on how quickly we
escape the pandemic.
How long will the £20 universal credit boost last?
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The temporary £20 a week universal credit increase has been
extended until the end of September, affecting more than 5.5 million
The boost was introduced in April 2020, to help struggling
families during the pandemic. It was set to finish at the end of this month.
Working tax credit claimants will also get an equivalent
increase for the next six months, through a one-off payment of £500.
Find out more about what the
changes mean for you here.
Will tax rises 'choke' recovery?
Philip Aldrick from The Times asks what gives Mr Sunak confidence that tax rises in 2023 will not "choke off recovery".
Rishi Sunak says it is "not right" to compare the past ten years of public finances with what's happening now during a pandemic. He says the government wants businesses to invest, which is why the corporation tax increase only comes in two years, after the Office for Budget Responsibility expects the effects of coronavirus to have left the UK economy.
He says it is important to remember that corporation tax is a tax on profits, which means only successful companies will make significant contributions from it.