Budget 2020: Chancellor shows 'brass neck', says Jeremy Corbyn

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Rishi Sunak has today delivered his first Budget as Chancellor, just one month into his Cabinet career.

Keep this page refreshed for the latest updates.


13.45 - Jeremy Corbyn: Chancellor shows 'brass neck'

Jeremy Corbyn has criticised Mr Sunak for showing "not some but a lot of brass neck" for saying the coronavirus response is "only possible because of his party's management of the economy".

"Look outside, in the real world we're still living through the slowest economic recovery in a century.

"Our economy is fundamentally week," he claimed.

The Labour leader warned that fighting the cornavirus will be "much tougher because of the last 10 years of deeply damaging and counter-productive cuts to all of our essential public services".

He told MPs: "We are going into this crisis with out public services on their knees and as today's figures confirm with a fundamentally week economy which is now flat-lining with zero growth even before the impact of coronavirus."


13.30 - Treasury offices to be opened across country

Mr Sunak has annouced that the government is opening a new "economic campus" in the north of England, as well as Treasury offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He said it was part of the Conservative Party's bid to "make sure economic decision making reflects the economic geography of the company".

The Chancellor added that it was the government's "ultimate ambition" to move 22,000 civil servants outside central London.


13.15 - 'This Budget gets it done'

Moving on from the response to the coronavirus, the Chancellor said the budget would not only provide "security today" but also "prosperity tomorrow".

He pledged that the plan will "deliver on our promises to the British people", adding "and it is a budget of a government that gets things done".

He announced that fuel duty will remain frozen for another year.

The planned increase in spirits duty will be cancelled and duties for cider, wine and beer drinkers will be frozen as well.

Mr Sunak said the tampon tax would also be abolished.


13.00 - Chancellor 'will go further if necessary'

Mr Sunak has unveiled a £30 billion package to tackle the "significant" effect that the coronavirus expected to make on the economy.

He said he was setting aside a £5 billion emergency response fund to support the NHS and other public services, adding that he "will go further if necessary".

He also so that the Government will meet the cost for businesses with fewer than 250 employees of providing statutory sick pay to those off work "due to coronavirus".

A "temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme" will be introduced for banks to offer loans of up to £1.2 million to support small and medium-sized businesses and, in an "exceptional step", business rates for businesses with a rateable value below £51,000 will be abolished.


12.45 - Coronavirus is 'issue above party'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said "we are doing everything we can to keep this country and our people healthy and financially secure" as he delivered his Budget against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis.

Opening his presentation he called on the House of Commons to work together to deal with the "key challenge facing our country today".

His three-point plan included a promise to "stand behind the NHS" by providing "whatever extra resources" it needs.

On statutory sick pay he promised to support those who are not eligible by temporarily removing the minimum income floor in Universal Credit to make sure sick leave is "reflected in benefits".


11:30 - Chancellor heads to Westminster

Rishi Sunak has set off for the House of Commons to present his Budget.

This morning he addressed the Cabinet outlining the measures he will take to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "He outlined how this plan - combined with the measures announced by the Governor of the Bank of England this morning - will make the UK one of the best-placed economies in the world to manage the potential impact of the virus.

"The Chancellor added the Budget will ensure businesses, the public and those in public services working on the frontline against the virus get the support they need.

"He said despite the impacts of the outbreak being uncertain, we have the economic tools to overcome the disruption caused by the virus and move the country forward."

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