What measures can you expect to see in Rishi Sunak's budget this week?

March 02, 2021

What's going to be in the budget? A lot of the big announcements have already been revealed, leaked, or guessed at. Here's what to expect:

Housing

A mortgage guarantee scheme will help home buyers purchase properties worth up to £600,000 with a deposit of just 5% with the government underwriting the other 95%.

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Rishi Sunak could also reportedly extend the stamp duty holiday announced last summer on homes worth up to £500,000, currently due to run until the end of March.

Tax

Plans to begin to increase corporation tax from 19% to 23% by the next general election will reportedly be set out.

There are also reports that the chancellor will freeze income tax thresholds - a tactic which would not technically be a tax-raising measure but still drag employees into paying more as their salaries rise.

Business support

A £5bn scheme will help firms such as shops, pubs, clubs, gyms and hair salons hardest hit by the pandemic restrictions with grants of up to £18,000.

A £520m scheme will help businesses boost their software and training.

There will also likely be an extension of the furlough scheme, currently due to run until the end of April.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said business support including furlough and the VAT cut for hospitality firms will continue "while lockdown persists".

"I think the Chancellor has already indicated that we will be extending furlough, I think that has been part of a public announcement," Mr Kwarteng told the BBC.

Universal credit

There are reports that the £20-a-week temporary increase in universal credit will be extended for a further six months.

Hospitality

Will there be a new version of Eat Out To Help Out? Mr Sunak has declined to rule it out in the past.

But it's possible the government will want to be a bit more cautious this time.

Community groups will be given up to £250,000 to help take over struggling pubs in their area, part of a £150m could also include sports clubs, theatres and music venues.

Culture

More than £400m will be allocated to help museums, theatres and galleries reopen in England and there will be a £300m package for sports - much of it targeted at cricket.

Vaccines

There will be a further £1.65bn for the UK's vaccine rollout.

Coronavirus spending

Back in November the chancellor said the government was on course to spend £280bn on the coronavirus crisis in 2020/21 and £55bn in 2021/22. The figures are likely to be updated in the wake of the latest measures.

Economic outlook

Back in the autumn, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said borrowing for 2020/21 would hit £394bn.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) now thinks this will come in at around £400bn.

The OBR will also forecast how quickly the economy could bounce back after suffering its deepest annual decline for three centuries last year when GDP shrank by 9.9%.

In November, it pencilled in growth of 5.5% for 2021.

The Bank of England thinks the roll-out of vaccines will mean a rapid recovery later this year but that, held back by the current lockdown, the economy will expand by 5% overall in 2020.

Watch and follow the budget live tomorrow with special coverage and analysis from 12.30pm. A special edition of the Sky News Daily podcast will be available to listen to from 7pm.

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