12th March 2020

Science Summary of Budget 2020: Key points at-a-glance

Science Summary of Budget 2020: Key points at-a-glance

Science

science Rishi Sunak outside Downing StreetImage copyright
PA Media

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered his first Budget in the House of Commons, announcing the government’s tax and spending plans for the year ahead.

Here is a summary of the main points.

Science Coronavirus and public services

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Reuters

  • £5bn emergency response fund to support the NHS and other public services in England
  • All those advised to self-isolate will be entitled to statutory sick pay, even if they have not presented with symptoms
  • Self-employed workers who are not eligible will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance
  • The ESA benefit will be available from day one, not after a week as now
  • £500m hardship fund for councils in England to help the most vulnerable in their areas
  • 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
  • Business rates in England will be abolished for firms in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value below £51,000
  • £6bn in extra NHS funding over five years to pay for staff recruitment and start of hospital upgrades

Science Personal taxation, wages and pensions

  • The tax threshold for National Insurance Contributions will rise from £8,632 to £9,500
  • The move, first announced in November, will take 500,000 employees out of the tax altogether
  • Those earning more than £9,500 will be, on average, £85 a year better off
  • 5% VAT on women’s sanitary products, known as the tampon tax, to be scrapped
  • No other new announcements on income tax, national insurance or VAT
  • Tax paid on the pensions of high earners, including NHS consultants, to be recalculated to address staffing issues

Science Alcohol, tobacco and fuel

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PA Media

  • Fuel duty to be frozen for the 10th consecutive year
  • Duties on spirits, beer, cider and wine to be frozen
  • Tobacco taxes will continue to rise by 2% above the rate of retail price inflation
  • This will add 27 pence to a pack of 20 cigarettes and 14 pence to a packet of cigars
  • Business rate discounts for pubs to rise from £1,000 to £5,000 this year

Science Business, digital and science

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Getty Images

  • System of High Street business rates to be reviewed later this year
  • Firms eligible for small business rates relief will get £3,000 cash grant
  • Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be retained, but lifetime allowance will be reduced from £10m to £1m
  • £5bn to be spent on getting gigabit-capable broadband into the hardest-to-reach places
  • Science Institute in Weybridge, Surrey to get a £1.4bn funding boost
  • An extra £900m for research into nuclear fusion, space and electric vehicles
  • VAT on digital publications, including newspapers, e-books and academic journals to be scrapped from December

Science Environment and energy

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Getty Images

  • Plastic packaging tax to come into force from April 2022
  • Manufacturers and importers whose products have less than 30% recyclable material will be charged £200 per tonne
  • Subsidies for fuel used in off-road vehicles – known as red diesel – will be scrapped “for most sectors” in two years’ time
  • Red diesel subsidies will remain for farmers and rail operators
  • £120m in emergency relief for English communities affected by this winter’s flooding and £200m for flood resilience
  • Total investment in flood defences in England to be doubled to £5.2bn over next five years
  • £640m “nature for climate fund” to protect natural habitats in England, including 30,000 hectares of new trees

Science Transport, infrastructure and housing

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PA Media

  • 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 arterial roads, including new tunnel for the A303 near Stonehenge
  • £2.5bn will be available to fix potholes and resurface roads in England over five years
  • Further education colleges will get £1.5bn to upgrade their buildings
  • £650m package to tackle homelessness, providing an extra 6,000 places for rough sleepers
  • Stamp duty surcharge for foreign buyers of properties in England and Northern Ireland to be levied at 2% from April 2021
  • New £1bn fund to remove all unsafe combustible cladding from all public and private housing higher than 18 metres

Science The state of the economy and public finances

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PA

  • Economy predicted to grow by 1.1% this year, revised down from 1.4% a year ago
  • The figure, which does not take into account the impact of coronavirus, would be the slowest growth since 2009
  • Growth predicted to rebound to 1.8% in 2021-22, 1.5% in 2022-23 and 1.3% in 2023-24
  • Inflation forecast of 1.4% this year, increasing to 1.8% in 2021-2022
  • Government to borrow £14.6bn more this year than previously forecast, equivalent to 2.1% of GDP
  • Total additional borrowing of £96.6bn forecast by 2023-2024 to pay for spending commitments
  • Debt as a percentage of GDP forecast to be lower at end of current Parliament than now

Science Nations and regions

  • An extra £640m for Scotland, £360m for Wales, and £210m for Northern Ireland.
  • Treasury’s Green Book rules to be reviewed to factor regional prosperity into spending decisions
  • Treasury to open new offices in Wales and Scotland and civil service hub in the North of England, employing 750 staff
  • New £1.8bn devolution deal for West Yorkshire, with elected mayor for region
  • Universities outside the south east of England to get lion’s share of extra £400m R&D funding
  • £800m for two carbon capture and storage clusters, creating 6,000 new jobs in Teesside, Humberside, Merseyside and Scotland

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