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The Budget 2020

12th March, 2020

On 11 March 2020 the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak delivered the Budget 2020. In this round-up, Nottingham chartered accountants Clayton & Brewill provides a summary of the key Budget 2020 announcements.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered the 2020 Budget amid continued pressure from the coronavirus outbreak and less than a month after taking over the Treasury.

The Chancellor’s main focus was on tackling the economic challenge posed by the coronavirus, announcing a number of measures including an emergency response fund to support the NHS, enhanced sick pay, freezing fuel duty, and targeted measures to aid business cash flow.

He also abolished business rates for many small businesses for the next fiscal year to help support the economy during this uncertain time.

Aside from the measures relating to coronavirus, the Chancellor also announced a number of other changes focused on achieving future prosperity. These included R&D investments, increases to the National Living Wage and National Insurance thresholds, and investment in roads, rail and green transport.

Measures to tackle coronavirus

With the potential for a fifth of the workforce to be unable to work at any one time, the Chancellor unveiled a £30bn package to help combat coronavirus, which focused on supporting the NHS, the people affected by the virus, as well as businesses. The plan includes:

  • Launching a £5bn emergency response fund to support the NHS and other public services
  • Refunding sick pay payments for businesses with fewer than 250 staff where staff have had to take up to 2 weeks off.
  • Sick pay will be available for employees who have been advised to self-isolate even though they are not showing any symptoms of coronavirus
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be made available from day one when self-isolating, instead of day four
  • The introduction of “business interruption” loans for small businesses of up to £1.2m

Measures for businesses and the self-employed

Business rates for firms in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value below £51,000 have been abolished for the next fiscal year in a bid to support the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

The business rates discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will increase from £1,000 to £5,000.

Headline corporation tax rate will remain at 19% in 2020, and the annual rate of the structures and buildings allowance will increase to 3%.

R&D investment will increase to £22billion a year. There will also be an increase in the rate of the R&D expenditure credit from 12% to 13%. An extra £900m pledged for research into nuclear fusion, space and electric vehicles.

Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be retained but the lifetime allowance significantly reduced from £10m to £1m.

Personal measures

National Insurance contributions (NICs) tax threshold – the Budget confirmed that the National Insurance contributions (NICs) Primary Threshold and Lower Profits Limit, for employees and the self-employed respectively, will increase from £8,632 to £9,500 from April 2020. This increase will benefit around 31 million people, with a typical employee saving around £104 and a typical self-employed person around £78 in 2020-21.

National Living Wage (NLW) – with plans already in place to raise the national living wage to £8.72 an hour from April 2020, the chancellor revealed in the budget that the NLW is currently projected to be almost £10.50 an hour by 2024.

0.5% VAT on women’s sanitary products, often referred to as the tampon tax, is to be scrapped.

Other measures and investments

  • More than £600bn is set to be spent on roads, rail, broadband and housing by the middle of 2025
  • Fuel duty will be frozen for the tenth consecutive year.
  • Duty on beer, wine, cider and spirits will be frozen.
  • A new plastic packaging tax will charge £200 per tonne from April 2022. Any packaging containing less than 30% recycled content will be subject to this tax.
  • £1bn investment in green transport

To discuss any of the measures announced in more detail please do get in touch with our friendly team or call us on 0115 950 3044.

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