Budget 2020: Chancellor promises £30 billion to tackle coronavirus including sick pay support for millions

11 March 2020

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, commits new funding to help the UK economy amid coronavirus


Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has promised £30bn to help the UK get through the coronavirus outbreak.

He announced a package of measures to assist the NHS, UK workers and businesses as part of the Budget announcement.

We round up how the Chancellor’s pledge will be allocated.

How will the Budget support workers?

Statutory sick pay will be available for all eligible workers who have to self-isolate because of coronavirus. The payment will be made from the first day of illness rather than the fourth day.

Workers who are not eligible for statutory sick pay because they are self-employed or earn below the Lower Earnings limit of £118 per week, will now be able to make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance more easily.

To achieve this the Chancellor has removed the need for Universal Credit claimants to physically attend a jobcentre appointment if they are advised to self-isolate.

He has also made Contributory Employment and Support Allowance, which is £73.10 a week, payable from the first day of illness rather than the eighth for eligible people affected by coronavirus.

We give more information about your work rights in our round up: Coronavirus: what are your rights at work?

How will the Budget support the NHS?

The government will provide extra resources needed by the NHS and other public services to tackle the virus.

This will include £5 billion of funding for the COVID-19 Response fund which helps the NHS, Local Authorities and other public services, treat and protect people affected by coronavirus.

The Chancellor has also pledged £40 million of new funding for the National Institute for Health Research and the Department of Health and Social Care to enable further rapid research into COVID-19 and increase the capacity and capability of diagnostic testing and surveillance facilitated by Public Health England.

A new Hardship Fund of £500million has been set up to help local authorities support economically vulnerable households

Mr Sunak, has also committed up to £150million to the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, to help stop the virus spreading and supporting vulnerable countries as they respond to the outbreak.

How will the Budget support businesses?

New legislation has been brought forward to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) disrupted by Coronavirus.

The Chancellor has set up a new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. It will enable the British Business Bank to issue loans of up to £1.2million to support affected SMEs.

Businesses with less than 250 employees will be able to a statutory sick pay refund of up to two weeks, for each employee that has to self-isolate.

Mr Sunak also announced that business rates will be suspended for a year for companies with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

A further £.2billion in funding will be given to local authorities to support SMEs that pay little or no business rates as a result of Small Business Rate Relief.

For full coverage of the Chancellor's announcement read our round up - Budget 2020: What the Chancellor has announced and what it means for you.

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