Sunak promises £30bn economic boost amid COVID-19

Sunak promises £30bn economic boost amid COVID-19

Budget focuses on targeting coronavirus as Chancellor outlines NHS support

Sunak promises £30bn economic boost amid COVID-19

The Government announced its Spring Budget today, including a £30bn economic stimulus package to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said that “coronavirus will have a significant impact on our economy, but it will be temporary,” also noting that this was “one of the most comprehensive responses” to the virus being pushed at the government level.

The £30bn package also includes an £18bn “fiscal loosening,” as local authorities are set to receive a £500m “hardship fund” to assist vulnerable persons.

Statutory sick pay will now be paid from the first day of sick leave to anyone advised to self-isolate, regardless if they are showing virus symptoms. This also applies to those on in-work benefits.

A £5bn emergency response fund has also been approved for the NHS to help counter the virus’ impact.

In a surprise move, the government has also pledged to refund the cost of providing statutory sick pay due to coronavirus to businesses under 250 employees, for 14 days.

“This will help to combat the immediate impact of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, which may disproportionately affect small businesses,” said Informi’s Steven Drew in an emailed statement.

In a press release put out by the Office for Budget Responsibility, public sector borrowing for March 2020 is forecasted to nearly double from the year prior primarily due to policy changes, hitting £60bn.

DeVere Group CEO Nigel Green is bullish about the budget.

“The Chancellor’s budget was one of substance when it came to shoring up the British economy in light of coronavirus and it will ultimately be welcomed by stock markets,” he said, via email.

However, during Sunak’s speech both the FTSE and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had recorded loses.

The UK saw its largest single-day rise in coronavirus cases on March 11 as the country prepares to handle its 456 confirmed cases.

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