The budget announcements last week have been overshadowed by news of the Corona Virus and measures in place to protect the UK and its economy from the impact it is likely to have.

We will be sharing messages for charities around the impact of the virus shortly, but this is a round-up of the budget headlines, in relation to charities and the people with whom we work. There is also more in-depth comment from analysts of the sector, below.

Corona virus response

  • a £5bn emergency response fund has been set up to support the NHS and other public services.
  • Statutory sick pay will be paid to all those who are advised to self-isolate, even if they have not presented with symptoms
  • Those not eligible for that will be able to claim Employment Support allowance, from day 1
  • £500m hardship fund for councils to help vulnerable people
  • Firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments for two weeks
  • Small firms will be able to access “business interruption” loans of up to £1.2m

Tax, earnings and benefits

  • National Insurance Contributions tax threshold to rise from £8,632 to £9,500 – saving 500,000 employees just over £100 a year
  • The freeze on working-age benefits will be reversed, with a rise in line with the cost of living (including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, some types of Housing Benefit, and Child Benefit)
  • The National Living Wage will increase to £8.72/hour for those over 25
  • The full new state pension will go up by 3.9% to £175.20 in Paril.
  • 5% VAT on women’s sanitary products, known as the tampon tax, to be scrapped
  • Duty on fuel and alcohol is frozen, and will rise by 2% above the Retail Price Index for cigarettes

 

Environment

  • Plastic packaging tax to come into force from April 2022
  • Total investment in flood defences to be doubled to £5.2bn over next five years
  • £640m “nature for climate fund” to protect natural habitats, including 30,000 hectares of new trees

 

Social care, disabilities and health

  • Changing Places will be funded with £30m to build more fully accessible toilets across the country
  • £10m more will be allocated to fun innovative approaches to domestic violence prevention
  • £10m to support veterans’ mental health

 

Transport, housing and infrastructure

  • More than £600bn is set to be spent on roads, rail, broadband and housing by the middle of 2025
  • There will be £27bn for motorways and other key roads, including new tunnel for the A303 near Stonehenge
  • £650m package to tackle homelessness, providing an extra 6,000 places for rough sleepers
  • £5bn to improve rural broadband connectivity

You can read more about the budget on the BBC website here and here.

Grin helpfully shared the links to the official budget summary and a map showing Government spend allocated across the UK regions.

 

Sector response

NCVO  – The NCVO’s response, in a blog ‘Spring budget 2020: Things to welcome, but questions remain

Civil Society – Various articles including