The highlights of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 3 March budget, as far as the VCSE sector goes, for our organisations, and the people we support.

Poverty

  • £20 uplift for Universal Credit has been extended to the end of September. Working Tax Credit claimants also receive additional one-off payments of £500 each
  • The Furlough scheme will continue to the end of September
  • Self-employed support will also remain in place until the end of September with payments to cover February-April, and May onwards. And 600,000 additional people will qualify, who have filed their tax returns for the 20/21 year.
  • National Living Wage will be increased from April:
Age bracketCurrent rate per hourNew rate per hour
23 and up£8.72£8.91
21 and 22£8.20£8.36
18, 19 and 20£6.45£6.56
Under 18£4.55£4.62
Apprenticeship Wage£4.15£4.30
  • £500 self-isolation payments to carry on, and SMEs will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay costs for employees who are self-isolating.
  • A new mortgage guarantee scheme will enable all UK homebuyers secure a mortgage up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit.
  • And the stamp duty holiday has been extended to 30 June before bailed tailed off.

Domestic abuse, mental health

  • An extra £19m has been announced to help tackle domestic abuse, and to create a network of ‘respite rooms’ to support homeless women, and a programme to prevent reoffending.
  • Additional £10m for supporting armed forces veterans with MH needs.
  • Support for the survivors of the thalidomide scandal has been extended to last their entire lifetimes, rather than expire this year.
  • (Not mentioned in the budget, but a new offence of ‘non-fatal strangulation’ will be presented in parliament to be added to the Domestic Abuse Bill, along with extending the ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’ offence to those who no longer live together, and the ‘revenge porn’ offence extended to threats, as well as actual sharing of intimate images.)

Training and apprenticeships

  • Businesses to receive £3,000 for each new apprentice they hire, of any age.
  • £126m is being invested into the traineeships scheme to expand it to 40,000 high quality placements for 16-24-year-olds in the 2021/22 academic year
  • £7 million for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector.

The arts, culture and sport

  • £150 million Community Ownership Fund was announced, which will allow communities to invest to protect the assets that matter most to them such as pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs.
  • £90 million funding to support government-sponsored national museums in England due to the financial impact of Covid-19.
  • £300 million for major spectator sports, supporting clubs and governing bodies in England as fans begin to return to stadia.
  • Apprenticeships in creative industries to be encouraged with a new scheme
  • Extension of the Film & TV Production Restart scheme in the UK, with an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund.

For Cornwall, maybe

  • The prospectus for the £4.8 billion UK-wide Levelling Up Fund has been published, providing guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding starting in 21-22. (Cornwall is priority 2 out of 3)
  • The nearest Free Port, with economic investment opportunities, is Plymouth.
  • Over £1 billion funding added for a further 45 towns in England through the Towns Fund, supporting their long-term economic and social regeneration as well as their immediate recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.