Budget 2020 LIVE: Sunak says coronavirus to see productivity shrink as response unveiled

  • Chancellor says up to fifth of workforce could be out of work at any one time due to virus
  • Sick pay available for everyone who has to stay at home due to Coronavirus
  • £500m hardship fund for councils to disburse to people who need help
  • Loans of up to £1.2 million to small businesses to get them through the crisis
  • Abolishing business rates for some small leisure businesses hit by coronavirus

The Chancellor is expected to announce a raft of funding measures across multiple sectors to limit the impact of coronavirus on the British public, the NHS and the UK economy. But BBC Business Editor told Andrew Neil on Politics Live: “The core budget he wanted to deliver has been blown out of the water by the coronavirus budget. For small businesses, the future can wait This is clearly a public health emergency, but it is also life and death situation for some small businesses and the key is cash, cash, cash.

“For example, will I have to pay my VAT on time? What about my business rates bill? What about employees who are now getting statutory sick pay from day one rather from day four? Who’s going to pay for that?

“Eeking out the cash over the coming months will be the first priority for small businesses.”The Bank of England has cut interest rates from 0.75 percent to just 0.25 percent, with BoE Governor warning the impact from the coronavirus outbreak could be “sharp and large”.

FOLLOW EXPRESS.CO.UK FOR LIVE UPDATES FROM THE BUDGET:

12.42pm update: People on statutory pay can claim from day one

Rishi Sunak says: “Those on contributory employment and support allowance will be able to claim from day one instead of day eight to make sure that time spent off work due to sickness is reflected in your benefits.

“I’m also temporarily removing the minimum income floor in Universal Credit.”

12.38pm update: ‘NHS will get whatever it needs to cope with coronavirus’

Rich Sunak has promised “whatever extra resources our NHS needs” to cope with the coronavirus “it will get”.

He said: “Our economy is robust, our public finances are sound, our public services are well-prepared.

“I will do whatever it takes to support the economy.”

12.35pm update: Chancellor gets straight to coronavirus outbreak

He says: “I want to get straight to the issue most on everyone’s mind- coronavirus COVID19.

“I know how worried people are about their health, the health of their loved ones, their jobs, their income, their businesses, their financial security.

“And I know they get even more worried when they turn on their TVs and hear talk of markets collapsing and recessions coming.

“People want to know what’s happening, and what can be done to fix it.”

12.33pm update: Sunak begins delivery of Budget

The new Chancellor gas stepped up to the despatch box to announce his first Budget to the House of Commons.

he is expected to unveil several spending plans, including billions of pounds towards the fight against coronavirus.

12.25pm update: Johnson asked to increase sick pay

The SNP asks Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions about wick pay for people who are told top stay away from work due to coronavirus.

The party’s Westminster leader asks him what the statutory sick rate pay is in Ireland, compared to the UK.

Mr Johnson replies it is not his “duty” to compare rates but says those on universal credit will “get they help they need from day one”.

12.15pm update: Sunak makes coronavirus budget pledge

The Chancellor is expected to pledge billions of pounds to fight the impact of coronavirus in the UK.

He told Cabinet members in a meeting this morning that his budget, alongside

the Bank of England moves, would make Britain “one of the best placed economies in the world” to tackle the impact of coronavirus.

12.09pm update: Bank of England WARNING: Interest rates could be cut to nearly ZERO amid coronavirus panic

The Bank of England has warned it could slash UK interest rates to just above zero percent if the coronavirus outbreak threatens to further derail the UK economy, adding the impact could be “sharp and large”.

Andrew Bailey, who takes over from Mr Carney as Governor next week, confirmed the Bank will meet again as scheduled on March 26 and will decided whether further action is needed then.

When asked during a press conference if the bank could cut interest rates below 0.25 percent if the coronavirus situation worsens, Mr Carney replied: “The MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) can go below that, close to but slightly above zero percent so there is additional conventional room for the committee.

12pm update: Interest rates SLASHED: Bank of England makes 0.5% cut over coronavirus fears

The Bank of England has slashed interest rates by 0.5 percent in a desperate attempt to add stability to the economy amid coronavirus fears.

Policymakers have reduced rates to 0.25 percent from 0.75 percent, taking borrowing costs back down to the lowest level in history.

The BoE said economic activity is likely to weak material over the coming months, and significant disruption to supply chains could challenge cash flows.

But the bank added major UK financial institutions are well prepared to withstand any potential financial disruption.

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