Rishi Sunak is to deliver his Budget on Wednesday but already a number of measures in his statement to MPs have been trailed in advance.
At the same time there has been widespread speculation about other plans to be included as he sets about the task of starting to rebuild public finances while continuing to support the economy through the pandemic.
These are the plans which have been announced so far:
– A £5 billion grant scheme to help pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses in England hit hardest by the coronavirus.
Non-essential retailers will be eligible for “restart grants” of £6,000 per premises, rising to £18,000 for outlets in the hospitality, leisure and personal care sectors which will reopen later.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an extra £794 million in funding through the Barnett formula.
– A £1.65 billion boost for the coronavirus vaccine rollout programme to ensure it meets its target of offering a first dose to every adult in the UK by July 31.
– £22 billion for a new UK Infrastructure Bank, with £12 billion of capital and £10 billion in guarantees, to drive £40 billion of investment in infrastructure projects as part of the Government’s “levelling up” agenda following the pandemic.
– A mortgage guarantee scheme to encourage home ownership and help buyers with deposits of just 5% to get on to the property ladder.
The Government will underwrite a proportion of riskier loans on properties up to £600,000.
– Reform of the migration system to encourage highly-skilled workers to come to the UK, including researchers, engineers, scientists and those in the tech sector, through a new “elite” points-based route.
– The world’s first sovereign green savings bond for retail investors, which will invest £70 million in long-term, low-carbon energy storage, £20 million in offshore wind and £4 million for green-energy crops.
– A new UK Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to crack down on Covid-19 fraudsters exploiting Government financial rescue schemes such as furlough.
– Guaranteed financial support for thalidomide sufferers for the rest of their lives, with a £39 million down payment to cover the next four years.
– £126 million to create 40,000 new traineeships in England, while the cash incentive for employers who take on an apprentice will be raised to £3,000.
– £10 million to support military forces veterans across the UK with mental health needs to be distributed through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.
In addition, these are some of the main measures Mr Sunak is reportedly considering for inclusion on Wednesday:
– An increase in corporation tax paid by businesses on their profits, which looks set to rise from 19p in the pound to between 23p and 25p.
– A freeze on personal allowances, keeping the thresholds at which people start paying the basic and higher rates of income tax at £12,500 and £50,000 respectively for at least three years, raising £6 billion.
– An increase in National Insurance contributions paid by the country’s 4.5 million self-employed.
– The extension of a series of Covid support measures currently due to come to an end, including the furlough scheme, the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift and the stamp duty holiday.