Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the Budget, which provides billions of pounds to support businesses and families through the pandemic, and invests in the UK’s future economy.
On Wednesday 3rd March 2021, the Government set out an ambitious plan that focuses on supporting people and businesses through this moment of crisis – well beyond the end of the roadmap – to ensure they have the security and stability they need. At the heart of the Budget are measures to build our future economy, levelling up across all regions of the United Kingdom and spreading opportunity everywhere.
The Budget delivers in the following ways for the Clacton constituency:
Direct Constituency Support
- Levelling up our country and spreading opportunity everywhere: Ministers are announcing 45 new Town Deals, launching the £150 Community Ownership Fund to help communities buy local assets such as pubs and theatres, and opening the first round of bids for the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund announced at the Spending Review last year to fund the infrastructure of everyday life. £150,000 has been given to Tendring District Council to help co-ordinate our local application for the Levelling Up Fund. This should help ensure that funding reaches the places most in need.
- Announcing the locations of eight freeports in England: To encourage free trade and bring investment to all regions of the country through lower taxes and cheaper customs, Ministers are today revealing the locations of the first eight freeports in England. Harwich and Felixstowe, also known as Freeport East, has been included in this list. This will drive inward investment, world trade, innovation, and will create 13,000 skilled jobs.
Important National Announcements
- Furlough extended until the end of September: The furlough scheme has supported 11.2 million jobs across the UK. To provide certainty, employees will continue to receive 80% of wages for hours not worked. But as businesses reopen, the Government will ask them to contribute 10% of wages in July, and 20% in August and September. Furlough remains among the most generous schemes of its kind anywhere in the world and has supported 880,000 jobs in the East of England.
- Two further grants for the self-employed: The Government will introduce a fourth grant covering February to April, worth 80% of people’s average monthly revenues. From May, a fifth grant will be available which is more targeted towards those most affected by the pandemic. So far, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has supported over 270,000 self-employed workers in the East of England with over £2.1 billion delivered.
- Increased self-employed eligibility: 600,000 people, many whom became self-employed last year, and filed their 19/20 tax return, are now eligible for both grants mentioned above.
- Fuel Duty Frozen: 85% of households in the East of England own on a car and will benefit from the fuel duty freeze.
- More funding for local councils: The Government are also providing local councils with £425 million discretionary funding to support other local businesses.
- Support for the lowest paid and most vulnerable: The temporary £20 uplift to Universal Credit will continue for a further six months. This will benefit 400,000 households in the East of England. 115,000 households will also benefit from the Working Tax Credits one off support payment of £500.
- National Living Wage: Ministers are also increasing the National Living Wage to £8.91 from April and extending it to people aged over 23 – a pay rise worth almost £350.
- New Recovery Loans to replace existing loan schemes: Government schemes have provided £70 billion of support to 1.5 million companies, including 145,000 businesses in the East of England. But as these come to an end, Ministers are introducing new Recovery Loans, worth between £25,000 and £10 million, with an 80% government guarantee.
- Restart grants to help our businesses get going again: Non-essential retail businesses will open first and receive grants of up to £6,000, while hospitality and leisure businesses will likely open later or with more restrictions and so receive grants of up to £18,000. This directly helps our most important hospitality and personal care businesses.
- Business rates holiday: Last year, the Government provided an unprecedented 100% business rates holiday for all eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors – a tax cut worth £10 billion. This year, that will continue until June, before cutting by two-thirds for the remaining nine months, up to a maximum £2 million per business. Over 350,000 properties will pay nothing for three months, with many businesses receiving a 75% cut in their bill next year – a tax cut worth £6 billion. Again, this will benefit our important local businesses, which form a key part of our tourism offer.
- VAT cut extension: To protect the 150,000 hospitality and tourism businesses which employ around 2.4 million jobs and have been hardest hit, the Government are extending the 5% reduced rate of VAT for a further six months until the end of September. The rate will then increase to 12.5% from October until the end of March, before returning to the normal 20% rate from April 1st. Overall, that’s a tax cut of nearly £5 billion next year, which benefits our important tourism businesses.
- Extension to the stamp duty cut: To avoid purchases not completing in time for the end of March, the Government are today announcing that the £500,000 nil rate band will now end on 30th June, before tapering down to £250,000 by the end of September, before returning to its normal level from October. 60% of buyers will pay no stamp duty.
- A new mortgage guarantee scheme for homebuyers: There is still a significant barrier for people to get on the housing ladder: the cost of a deposit, given that 95% loan-to-value loans have gone from the market. That is why, from April, lenders who commit to providing loan-to-value ratios of between 91 to 95% can get a government guarantee on the full value of those mortgages. This will help all buyers, but especially those seeking their first home.
- Better skills for people to get better jobs: The Government launched the Restart scheme to help hundreds of thousands of long term unemployed; doubled the number of Work Coaches; introduced the Lifetime Skills Guarantee to fund Level 3 Qualifications for all adults; and launched the Kickstart scheme to help 250,000 young people into work. Today they go further by doubling the incentive payment to small businesses to take on apprentices of any age to £3,000, alongside £126 million to triple the number of traineeships next year.
- Support for culture and sport: Ministers are providing £700 million to support local and national arts, culture, and sports institutions as they reopen.
- Help to Grow Scheme: A new Help to Grow scheme to boost productivity of small businesses, to ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training.
- New Green Jobs: The Government has launched the first ever UK Infrastructure Bank – located in Leeds – to invest in public and private projects to drive green growth and create green jobs.
- Tackling fraud: Ministers are investing £100 million in a new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce in HMRC, with 1,000 investigators seeking out and penalising fraud in our generous loan schemes. They are also introducing new measures to clamp down on tax avoidance.
Commenting, Giles said:
“Today’s Budget provides businesses and families in the Clacton constituency with the support and reassurance they need to get through the pandemic. I particularly welcome the Levelling Up Funding and the new freeport at Harwich and Felixstowe, both of which will directly benefit our area.
“With £407 billion of support for families, jobs, and businesses, it is right that the Chancellor is honest with the British people about our public finances.
“At the same time, I was elected on a commitment to level up communities like ours, and I am thrilled that this Conservative Government is now making good on that promise – by building our future economy and investing in every corner of the United Kingdom”.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP said:
“Throughout this pandemic, my top priority has been to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods. Today’s Budget reaffirms this commitment, with £407 billion to support the British people this year and next as one of the largest, most comprehensive, and sustained responses this country has ever seen.
“It is thanks to successive Conservative governments that we have been able to respond to this crisis as boldly as we have. But we need to be honest about the challenges facing our public finances, and how we will begin to fix them.
“As we look ahead, this Budget lays the foundations of our future economy – driving up productivity, creating green jobs, supporting small businesses, and levelling up across the entire United Kingdom”.