Hello and welcome to SmallBusiness.co.uk’s live coverage of today’s Budget, which we will update as a live blog as chancellor Rishi Sunak makes announcements that directly effect the 5.9m small business owners in Britain. We will have follow-up analysis and reaction from sector experts and trade associations as the implications of today’s Budget become clear.
13:04: National insurance threshold to be raised to £9,500 from £8,632, providing a tax cut for 31m people. And the National Living Wage to be raised to over £10.50 an hour.
12:59: Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces £7bn support package for small businesses including tax cuts, loans and grants for small businesses, including a coronavirus business interruption loan scheme offering loans of up to £2m to small businesses, unlocking up to £1bn of capital for SMEs.
Shops, restaurants and cinemas particularly vulnerable to coronvirus will have business rates abolished, while other leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will have the existing retail discount extended. Nearly half of all business properties in England will not pay business rates.
Meanwhile, the government will pick up the bill for providing statutory sick pay for up to 14 days, providing over £2bn of cover for over 2m businesses. Statutory sick pay will be offered from day one (as opposed from day four) for all those all those advised to self-isolate even if they haven’t shown symptoms. The government will also make it quicker to access benefits for the self-employed, enabling them to claim from day one instead of day eight, and temporarily removing the minimum income floor from universal tax credit.
And HMRC will accept deferred corporation tax payments over pre-agreed periods of time.
Sunak warned that up to 20 per cent of the working population could be off work with coronavirus, which will temporarily disrupt the economy. “We will get through this together … we will rise to this challenge,” said Sunak referring to coronavirus.