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




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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, Rishi Sunak also revealed he will extend the £20 uplift on Universal Credit.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak

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 now forcasting 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 contirbute 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.

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The 600,00 recently self-employed people will also be eligible for grants.

He added: "People who's turnover who has fallen by 30% or more will continue to recieve 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 recieve money from a £400m fund allocated to help them reopen. Another £300m will be given to sports.

Several of the country's largest lenders 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 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."

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