The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has unveiled the latest budget by the government this afternoon.
Over the last few weeks, the global population have been trying to combat the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
Since its initial spread, the coronavirus has affected Europe in a manner which is larger than anticipated.
Italy seem to have taken the worse of the beatings, as the Italian Government announced yesterday that the country would be placed into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The UK has seen case numbers rise also, and as of this morning six deaths had been recorded due to COVID-19.
Many analysts and policy makers have anticipated that the Budget would be largely focused on combatting the coronavirus – as the Chancellor planned to inject more money into the NHS and public service.
Notably, the Bank of England slashed interests rates from 0.75% to 0.25% this morning – in an attempt to increase cash flows to support businesses in the UK that had been bruised by the coronavirus.
This afternoon, Chancellor Sunak announced new budget plans including a £30 billion package to battle the coronavirus.
Sunak noted that there was significant strains on the UK economy, however said that “We will get through this together.”
Other policies that were notable in today’s budget included a statutory sick pay for “all those who are advised to self-isolate” even if they have not displayed symptoms and a a “Fiscal loosening” of £18 billion to support the economy this year, taking the total fiscal stimulus to £30 billion.
Notably, the was also the introduction of a “temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme” for banks to offer loans of up to £1.2m to support small and medium-sized businesses.
The newly elected Conservative Government also pledged to meet costs for businesses with fewer than 250 employees of providing statutory sick pay to those off work “due to coronavirus”.
Additionally, Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons that there would be a £5 billion injection into an emergency response fund to support the NHS and other public services.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast growth of 1.1% in 2020, 1.8% in 2021 and then 1.5%, 1.3%, and 1.4% in the following years – if the impact of the coronavirus is mitigated.
Notably, fuel duty has been frozen for another year – and an increase in spirits duty will be cancelled. Tobacco taxes are increasing by 2% above the rate of retail price inflation.
Sunak also added that this budget will include a £600 billion allowance for road, rail, housing and broadband projects over five years – which built on the Conservative pledge to focus growth outside of London and the South East.
Finally looking at devolving powers – the budget also told the British people that there would be an additional £640m for the Scottish government, £360m for the Welsh government, £210m for the Northern Ireland executive and £240m for new city and growth deals.