RISHI Sunak will stand up in the Commons this afternoon and reveal extra Covid help will continue for millions in his latest Budget.
The Chancellor will step up to confirm he’s going to carry on furlough, grants, loans and other pandemic support for months to come until businesses can bounce back.
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The Chancellor usually stands outside No11 Downing Street in the morning to show off his red box with his Budget documents inside.
He’ll be on his feet from 12.30pm, after PMQs, and will give a press conference to the nation at 5pm, where he’ll take questions from the public.
Here’s what we’re expecting the Chancellor to say in his latest financial update – and the rumours about surprises we might see too.
Mr Sunak will promise struggling Brits with the “full measure of our fiscal firepower” but warn the time is approaching to “begin fixing the public finances.”
The Chancellor will vow to use every tool in his box “to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people.”
Ahead of the Budget, Mr Sunak said: “Our Covid support schemes have been a lifeline to millions, protecting jobs and incomes across the UK.
“There’s now light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap for reopening, so it’s only right that we continue to help business and individuals through the challenging months ahead – and beyond.”
TAX RISES & FREEZES
At every Budget the public get an update of the public spending on the cards.
The Chancellor’s vow “to do whatever it takes” to protect jobs will add £5 billion a month to the pandemic’s £280 billion support bill.
But with the nation’s coffers reeling from the Covid crisis, Mr Sunak is staring at £400 billion blackhole.
The chief bean counter will set out “a three-point plan to protect jobs” – but also give the nation a reality check over the dire economic situation left in the wake of the pandemic.
But he will also warn today that the time to get the nation’s books in order is rapidly approaching.
It is expected that will see a hike in corporation tax on businesses and capital gains taxes on millionaire second property owners and investors.
He will suggest that taxes may have to rise in future to pay back the mounting debts.
Mr Sunak will tell MPs: “once we are on the way to recovery, we will need to begin fixing the public finances – and I want to be honest today about our plans to do that.”
It’s also thought Mr Sunak will freeze the rates at which workers start to pay different levels of income tax, meaning more people will be caught in a higher band over the coming years.
We know for certain the Chancellor will extend furlough until September.
It means 80 per cent of people’s wages will continue to be paid for months to come, to help firms get back on their feet again.
From July, though, they will be asked to chip in, as the Chancellor weans them off the cash help they will have been getting for 17 months.
In July, employers will be expected to contribute 10 per cent of the cost, increasing to 20p per cent in August and September, as the economy reopens.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected more than 11 million jobs since its creation last March, with Mr Sunak promising further help in the “challenging months ahead – and beyond”.
MORE GRANTS AND SELF EMPLOYED HELP
Mr Sunak will today reveal extra help for 600,000 self employed Brits who have been shut out of Government support during the pandemic.
The Chancellor will reveal that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom became self-employed in 2019-20, will now be able to claim direct cash grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
Previously they could only claim if they had filled in a recent tax return, which meant millions were shut out.
The Treasury has also confirmed that they will give a fourth grant of up to £7,500 to the self-employed.
And a fifth one will come over the summer – in line with the furlough extension.
EXTENSION OF HELP
It’s expected that the Chancellor will continue wih a raft of other support.
Business loans and grants are expected to carry on for months.
And the VAT cut for the hospitality industry is set to carry on as well, which was due to run out at the end of the month.
It’s also been rumoured that the Chancellor will continue the stamp duty holiday for another six months as well to stop the housing market from falling off a cliff.
Extra measures may be on the cards to help firms who have struggled throughout rolling lockdowns – including high street shops and pubs.
FUEL DUTY FREEZE
Fuel duty will be frozen at this week’s Budget for the TENTH year running in a major victory for the Sun’s legendary Keep It Down campaign.
Boris Johnson said: “I firmly believe that the economic recovery is going to be powered by white van man amongst others.”
The Sun understands that means freezing the hated levy at 57.95p per litre after plans to hike it were abandoned amid fears it will punish drivers who are helping the country bounce back.
And a Treasury source said: “Throughout this crisis the Chancellor has protected the wallets of hard working Sun readers and that will continue at this Budget and beyond.”
VACCINE ROLLOUT CASH
The UK’s Covid vaccine rollout will receive a £1.65 billion boost in today’s Budget.
Britain is on track to jab every UK adult by July as the rollout goes from strength to strength.
As the last Budget before Britain hosts the COP26 climate summit in November, it’s expected that the Chancellor will deliver more green policies in his latest fiscal update.
Think tanks and MPs have called for him to slash VAT on green products like solar panels and light bulbs, or give tax breaks to Brits to encourage them to swap to an electric vehicle.
Brits are keen to see if the green homes grant will be scrapped next year too – which has been dogged with operational problems.
Last year home improvement grants of up to £5,000 were announced, but just a few thousand have made their way into people’s pockets so far.
The Treasury has said already that the chancellor will roll out a green savings bond scheme for Brits to invest in – which will be up and running later this summer.
The cash will be used to invest in eco-friendly projects across the nation.
ALCOHOL AND CIGS
It’s expected more tax will be whacked on cigarettes this year.
But as for alcohol, there’s set to be help for cash-strapped boozers in the Budget – possibly with a cut to some alcohol duty meaning cheaper pints across the board.
The PM hinted last week the Chancellor may consider cutting alcohol duty in pubs and slap extra on supermarkets too – which have done better in the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the public will get up to £1million to rescue their local pub or footie club from closure, The Sun revealed earlier this week.
The Chancellor will use the Budget to pledge a whopping £150 million to help neighbourhoods take over assets loved by the community.