Briefing Paper March 2021
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced his second budget on March 3, and it is profoundly impacted by events surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. The UK economy is looking to open up once again following an extremely tough year, but there may still be a long road to economic recovery and economic fairness in our society.
The largest disappointment for the NPC and our members is the exclusion of funding for the NHS and care. We keep hearing promises of a plan, but nothing transpires. Both the NHS and care have been chronically underfunded for decades and yet staff in these services have been at the forefront of COVID, many losing their lives. The NHS white paper on reform will not give the public a better service, only more privatisation through the back door.
Furlough and Covid support
· Furlough extended to September 30 at up to 80% of wages or £2,500 a month. Firms must pay 10% of wages from July and 20% from August 1.
· Fourth self-employed grant paid next month, at up to £7,500 or 80% of historic average profits over three months. Eligibility extended to people who became self-employed in 2019/20.
· Fifth self-employed grant will be paid in July but be less generous. It will still be worth 80% of average profits, but only for those whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more. Those whose turnover fell by less will only receive a 30% grant.
· Covid spending to hit £352bn over two years - or £407bn once other fiscal support is included.
· £1.6bn for the vaccination programme, including £22m for a trial to test if different vaccines can be used together, or if a third dose is effective. £5m to create a “library” of Covid-19 jabs.
· £100m for a 'Taxpayer Protection Taskforce' staffed by 1,250 people to hunt Covid fraudsters, including furlough fraud.
· Furlough for pub workers and others will be extended to September 30