Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced his 2021 budget yesterday (March 3), vowing to inject £126mill into building back “better, greener and more efficiently”.
Along with extending the furlough scheme, the Chancellor announced plans to boost the country’s economy following the pandemic. Some of the main initiatives announced included:
- A new “Infrastructure Bank”, with £12bn of funds, established in Leeds with the purpose of accelerating progress to net-zero in the UK
- The furlough scheme, which pays 80% of employees’ wages while they cannot work due to the pandemic, will be extended until the end of September 2021
- The amount of money incentivising businesses to hire apprentices is to be doubled
- The Stamp Duty holiday is to be extended beyond the original March 31 deadline to the end of June 2021
- The “Help to Grow Digital” scheme will give small businesses some free online technology advice and 50% discounts on new productivity-enhancing softwares
- A new green savings bond will give people in the UK the opportunity to contribute to the collective effort to tackle climate change. This is the world’s first of its kind
- Over £1bn was announced for 45 new towns deals
- A new “Help to Grow” scheme will help thousands of SMEs get “world-class” management training
- Funding for new port infrastructure to build offshore wind farms
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will establish an MMC Taskforce, backed by £10m of seed funding
- Corporation tax is expected to increase to 25% in 2023
- Eight English “freeports” will be created, which will benefit from favourable customs duties, simplified planning and tax breaks such as the suspension of VAT, business rates relief and tariff duties. He also announced that one of these new freeports will be within the Liverpool City Region
Sean Keyes, director at Sutcliffe, commented on the budget:
“I expect taxes to stay static for now and although they will rise in the future it is light relief for us now that there won’t be any extra expenditure during a time when cash-flow is tight for thousands of businesses and employees.
“I am glad support has been provided for those businesses that have struggled the most especially in the hospitality sector and as the director of a construction firm we continue to welcome the Government’s drive to push construction across the country – especially in healthcare and residential housing.
“Financial support to encourage apprentices is also fantastic and with the Kickstart Scheme and other programmes now well underway thanks to the extra £126m boost for traineeships, the future generation now has the perfect platform to strive.”