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March 13. 2020

Budget 2020

The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Budget on the 11th March 2020. Said to be a ‘people’s budget for the people’s government’ there was a key topic throughout, COVID–19. Mr Sunak stated the NHS will get ‘whatever it needs, whatever the cost’.

COVID – 19

The Budget announcements bring numerous temporary measures which are set to assist with the current worldwide pandemic. The measures have been put in place to help support those affected by COVID-19, whether that be as an individual or a business.

The chancellor also commented on those advised to self-isolate, even if they do not show symptoms, they are to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) if eligible.

Those who are not eligible for SSP, such as self-employed individuals, will see Employment Support Allowance (ESA) paid quicker with the qualifying number of sick days reduced from 8 to 1. This means that once you have got your sick note from 111 you can then contact the Department of Work & Pensions and begin the process of claiming ESA. Click here to find out more about ESA.

ESA is paid to those who are too sick to work, provided they meet certain conditions. It is worth £73.10 a week, or £57.90 for the under-25s.

If you do find yourself in a position where you need to access such benefits, we would always advise taking the medical advice from 111 and contacting the Department for Work & Pensions who can advise you fully on the processes you need to follow.

A 100% reduction in Business Rates for Small business’s was also introduced in the Budget, more interesting for a lot of very small business was a £3,000 grant which appears to be aimed at all small businesses. There is very little guidance available on this at the moment, we will follow up on this once information on who can apply and how to apply has been issued.

Finally, HMRC have been asked to assist taxpayers with payments to them, to that end a new team to deal with Time to Pay arrangements for business’s affected by Coronavirus has been set up. If you find your capital reserves are running low and you are worried about paying your next bill, we strongly recommend you call them on 0800 015 9559.

As Mr Sunak stated, ‘the current situation is temporary’, ‘life will return to normal’. However, ‘for a period, it is going to be tough’.

Will we see more money in our pockets?

The honest answer, probably not but the following are factors that provide an element of positivity. 

  • From the 1st April the National Insurance threshold is increasing from £8,632 to £9,500, meaning you can earn more profit before paying Class 4 National Insurance.
  • Fuel Duty will be frozen for the 10th consecutive year and there will also be a freeze in duty rates for beer, ciders and spirts. 
  • Another tax to be cut is VAT on digital books, newspapers and magazines.
  • The 5% rate of VAT on sanitary products - referred to as the "tampon tax" - will babolished from January. 
  • People can put a lot more into tax-free savings for children. The allowance for Junior ISA’s (Individual Savings Accounts) and Child Trust Funds will be increased from £4,368 to £9,000 in April. However, the typical amount saved is only about £1,000. 

The personal allowance will remain at £12,500 and there will be no changes to the tax rates. Additionally, for the self-employed there will be a slight increase in Class 2 payments, from £3.00 per week to £3.05.

Once thing we won’t need to brace ourselves for is the mammoth number of potholes in our roads. A massive £2.5bn is set to be invested within our local roads. Let’s see how that one pans out!

So, from supporting businesses, highlighting green priorities and supporting those in need it was a budget delivered in challenging times and one that saw some substantial spending commitments.


 
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