Our live highlights of Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Budget 2020 speech will be appearing here from 12.30pm. Our 'Budget 2020: At a glance' summary will follow later today.

Ahead of his speech, the Chancellor promised to "level up the UK, ensuring everyone has the same chances and opportunities in life, wherever they live" by "investing historic amounts in British innovation and world-class infrastructure".

During the speech, the tag line is, "Getting it done".

Coronovirus

Straight to COVID-19 and how worried people are, what is happening and what can be done to fix it. 

The economy is robust, public finances are sound but there is likely to be a temporary disruption to our economy and significant impact. Strategy to deal with this is to provide immediate support for those who get sick by funding public services and provide a bridge for businesses.

Response to be "temporary, timely and targeted", closely coordinated with the Bank Of England. References to interest rate cut, SME funding scheme and release of countercyclical buffer.

Three-point plan:

1. NHS: whatever resources the NHS needs for coronavirus it will get.

2. Individuals: during the immediate crisis will support the finances of people who can't work. Statutory sick pay for all those advised to self-isolate. Soon be able to get sick notes by calling 111. Quicker and easier to access benefits for those who don't get sick pay, claims from day one not day eight, the minimum income limit for universal credit to be removed.

£500m hardship fund for local authorities.

3. Business: for businesses with less than 250 employees the cost of statutory sick pay for up to 14 days will be refunded by the government in full. HMRC asked to scale up time to pay.

Coronovirus business interruption loan scheme up to £2m per loan.

To abolish business rates for retail businesses for this year and extend scheme to leisure businesses not currently covered. Long term review of rates in autumn budget.

£3,000 cash grant for small businesses who already get rates' relief.

£5bn emergency response fund on top of other plans providing "fiscal loosening" worth £18bn.

Growth forecast

OBR slightly downgrading GDP forecast but 0.5% higher with Chancellor's plans over the next two years than it would have been. A 2.5% increase in productivity is also forecasted. Wage growth expected in every year of the forecast period. Described as a miracle. Chancellor is "all in favour of God's miracles" given the two weeks he's just had.

Inflation forecast 1.4% this year, 1.8% next.

Talks about "delivering on our promises..with room to spare".

Borrowing forecast to increase slightly in 2021 to 2.4%, 2.8% in 2022, then fall to 2.5%, then 2.2% in later years. This doesn't appear to have taken account of coronavirus though.

Multiple references to "This budget gets it done".

Wages

New remit for independent low pay commission. National Living Wage (NLW) to reach 2/3 of medium earnings by 2024, £10.50 per hour.

Increase in employee NIC threshold to £9,500 - same as announced a couple of weeks ago.

Duties

Tampon tax to be abolished, no VAT from 1 January 2021.

Scotch whiskey -  £10m of new R&D funding for distilleries. The planned increase in spirits duty cancelled. Also applies to cider, beer and wine.

Pubs - for this year only business rate discount increased from £1,000 to £5,000. 

Fuel duty - frozen for another year as people rely on their cars.

Business -  Wants to "Unleash the power of business"

£130m funding for start-up loans.

Tax

Entrepreneurs' relief: "expensive, ineffective and unfair". It won't be fully abolished, instead the lifetime limit will be reduced from £10m to £1m. 80% of small businesses owners will be unaffected, says the Chancellor.

£6bn projected savings going back to business:

  • R&D tax credit increased from 12% to 13%.
  • Structures and Buildings Allowance increased from 2% to 3%.
  • Increase employment allowance to £4,000.

Technology and investment 

Increasing investment in R&D to £22bn per year instead of planned £18bn. This is higher than US, China and Japan as a percentage of GDP.

Climate/environment

Increase taxes on pollution - from April 2022 freezing climate change levy on electricity and raising it on gas.

Plastic: new packaging tax from April 2022 at £200 per tonne where less than 30% of the product is made from recycled plastic.

Red diesel: duty has been very low, this to be changed and relief will be abolished from 2022. To be retained for agriculture, domestic heating, rail and fishing.

Reforms to make it cheaper to buy zero-emission vehicles. £500m to support rapid charging hubs every 30 miles.

Floods: £120m for damage and defence repairs. £200m for worst-hit areas. Doubling investment in flood defences over next six years. 

New nature for climate fund. To plant over 30,000 hectares of trees, and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland. 

Public investment

New economic campus being opened in 'the North'. Plans to move 22,000 civil servants outside central London. More money for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Broadband, railway roads, "if the country needs it, we will build it". £5bn for gigabyte broadband into the hardest to reach places.

Railways: new stations, more accessibility as well as HS2. 

Roads: biggest investment into roads. £2.5bn pothole fund. 50 million potholes can be filled. 

Again he says, "We are getting it done".

Education

Funding nationally for 16-19 year-olds for maths schools, secondary schools for arts, to improve PE and for football pitches.

Tribute to previous Chancellor on levelling up further education for 16-19 year-olds. £1.5bn over five years to improve FE college estate.

VAT

Abolishing VAT on digital publications from 1 December 2020. To apply to all books, magazines and publications.

Housing

Extension of affordable homes programme. Reforms of the planning system to be announced tomorrow. £650m funding for the homeless. New building safety fund following Grenfell.

SDLT 

SDLT surcharge for non-UK residents of 2% from April 2021.

Corporation Tax

No cut to rate, to remain at 19%.

NHS

Increasing immigration health surcharge. Funding support for veterans with mental health needs.

Pensions tapered annual allowance thresholds being increased by £90,000. 

£6bn extra funding to support the NHS in this parliament. 40 new hospitals planned.

"A people's budget from a people's government" 

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