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Budget 2021 news – Taxes for DECADES to pay off coronavirus cost as it soars to £407 billion, Rishi Sunak warns

RISHI Sunak has warned that Britain will be paying off its £407 billion coronavirus debts for decades.

Declaring yesterday's Budget as the first step to economic recovery, the Chancellor told BBC Breakfast: "The shock coronavirus has done to our economy has been significant and as I said yesterday, this won't be fixed overnight.

"It will be the work of many years, decades and governments to fully pay all that money back, but it is important that we get our borrowing and debt under control so it stops going up even after we've recovered," he said.

Yesterday he revealed that 600,000 self-employed Brits, many of whom became self-employed in 2019-20, can now claim direct cash grants of up to £7,500 under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Previously they could only claim if they had filled in a recent tax return, which meant millions were shut out.

Rishi said the Government will give a fourth grant of up to £7,500 to the self-employed and a fifth one will come over the summer – in line with a furlough extension until September.

The Chancellor also extended the stamp duty holiday until June 30 as house prices rocketed 6.9 per cent year-on-year last month to a record high of £231,061 last month, new data shows.

A £20 a week Universal Credit uplift in payments has also been extended for another six months for low income households.

Follow all the latest news, updates and analysis of what the Budget means for you on our live blog below…

  • Joseph Gamp

    BORIS JOHNSON INSISTS PROTOCOL ISSUES CAN BE RESOLVED 'WITH GOODWILL AND COMMON SENSE'

    The Prime Minister has insisted "goodwill and common sense" will deliver resolutions to contentious post-Brexit Irish Sea trading arrangements.

    Boris Johnson expressed confidence that issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol are "eminently solvable", amid a further escalation of political and societal tensions over the terms of his Brexit divorce deal.

    The EU is considering legal action against the UK after the Government unilaterally extended a grace period that is currently limiting red tape associated with the protocol governing trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    MEPs are also set to delay formal ratification of the wider trade and co-operation agreement pending the outcome of the latest row between London and Brussels.

    In a separate development, loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland have withdrawn their support for the historic Good Friday peace agreement in protest against arrangements they contend have driven an economic wedge between the region and the rest of the UK.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITAIN 'THE MOST LIKELY PLACE IN THE WORLD WHERE MUTANT STRAINS WILL OCCUR'

    Britain is the most likely place in the world where a mutant strain of the coronavirus will occur due to the prevailing conditions, a health minister has said.

    Giving the stark assessment at Westminster, Tory frontbencher Lord Bethell said the nation “must be on the balls of its feet” to be ready for such “unhelpful news”.

    The Conservative peer made his comments as a top scientist warned the risk of a dangerous new variant against which there was no defence was “eventually likely to be inevitable”.

    It came amid criticism of the foreign travel red list for quarantining international arrivals, amid claims it was not effective or extensive enough.

    Responding to a statement on Covid-19 in the Lords, the renowned broadcaster and leading fertility expert Lord Winston said: “Within six hours of entering a cell, this virus will have replicated leading to millions of copies.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BREXIT: DUP MP SAYS 'NO SIGN' LOYALISTS PLAN RETURN TO VIOLENCE OVER NI PROTOCOL OPPOSITION

    The withdrawal of loyalist paramilitary support for Northern Ireland's historic peace agreement does not signal an intent to return to violence, a DUP MP has insisted.

    Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, whose party leadership recently met an umbrella group representing the outlawed paramilitary groups, said there was no evidence the groups planned to resist the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol by violent means.

    His comments come after the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) umbrella group wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling him the main loyalist paramilitary groups were withdrawing support for the Good Friday/Belfast agreement.

    The paramilitaries said they were temporarily withdrawing their backing of the Belfast/Good Friday accord amid mounting concerns about the arrangements governing Irish Sea trade post-Brexit.

    The LCC leadership stressed that unionist opposition to the protocol should remain "peaceful and democratic".

  • Joseph Gamp

    BREAKING: MARK DRAKEFORD SELF-ISOLATING AS A 'PRECAUTION'

    The Welsh Government said First Minister Mark Drakeford is self-isolating "as a precaution" after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

    Mr Drakeford appeared before the Welsh Affairs Committee on Thursday from an outbuilding at the bottom of his garden, where he lived alone earlier during the pandemic when his wife and mother-in-law were shielding.

    A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "The First Minister is self-isolating as a precaution after being in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus."

  • Joseph Gamp

    MORE THAN 2.2M JABS GIVEN IN LONDON BETWEEN DECEMBER AND MARCH

    NHS England data shows a total of 2,239,161 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and March 3, including 2,147,388 first doses and 91,773 second doses.

    This compares with 3,473,258 first doses and 115,627 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 3,588,885.

    The breakdown for the other regions is:

    • East of England – 2,096,215 first doses and 83,972 second doses, making 2,180,187 in total
    • North East and Yorkshire – 2,738,543 first and 108,779 second doses (2,847,322)
    • North West – 2,326,546 first and 85,373 second doses (2,411,919)
    • South East – 2,867,324 first and 117,118 second doses (2,984,442)
    • South West – 2,047,313 first and 80,982 second doses (2,128,295)

    BORIS JOHNSON 'HORRIFIED' BY ESCALATION OF MYANMAR VIOLENCE

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is "horrified" by intensified clashes in Myanmar.

    He tweeted: "I'm horrified by the escalation of violence in Myanmar and the killing of pro-democracy protesters.

    "We stand with the people of Myanmar in calling for an immediate end to military repression, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others, and the restoration of democracy."

    JAB QUEUE JUMPERS

    THE NHS has slammed “reprehensible” queue jumpers who are claiming to be carers in order to get their Covid vaccine early.

    Officials aren’t thoroughly checking the credentials of people when they turn up for their appointments, Brits who have had the jab claim. 

    NHS bosses say carers and NHS staff must provide proof of their occupation when they go to get vaccinated, such as letter identifying them as a registered carer.

    But dozens of Brits who claim to have been jabbed have said there were “no checks” and no need to provide any proof of identity.

    RISHI SUNAK IS ‘FAILING PATIENTS’ IN BUDGET, SAYS LABOUR

    Labour has accused the Chancellor of failing patients due to planned cuts to day-to-day spending in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

    Written Budget documents revealed that there is a planned cut of £30 billion in day-to-day spending from April of this year, falling from £199.2 billion to £169.1 billion.

    NHS England will see funding fall from £147.7 billion to £139.1 billion from next year, unless ministers commit to more funding for the health service.

    Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused Rishi Sunak of failing “patients, our NHS and its staff” in Wednesday’s Budget, as analysis by the opposition party found that waiting lists have hit a “record high”

    RISHI SUNAK IS ‘FAILING PATIENTS’ IN BUDGET, SAYS LABOUR

    Labour has accused the Chancellor of failing patients due to planned cuts to day-to-day spending in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

    Written Budget documents revealed that there is a planned cut of £30 billion in day-to-day spending from April of this year, falling from £199.2 billion to £169.1 billion.

    NHS England will see funding fall from £147.7 billion to £139.1 billion from next year, unless ministers commit to more funding for the health service.

    Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused Rishi Sunak of failing “patients, our NHS and its staff” in Wednesday’s Budget, as analysis by the opposition party found that waiting lists have hit a “record high”

    • Joseph Gamp

      CASE RATES ARE CONTINUING TO FALL IN ALL REGIONS OF ENGLAND

      Covid-19 case rates are continuing to fall in all regions of England, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.

      In the East Midlands, the rate of new cases stood at 120.8 per 100,000 people in the seven days to February 28 – the highest rate of any region, but down from 170.5 the previous week.

      Yorkshire & the Humber recorded the second highest rate at 113.6, down from 154.0.

      South-west England recorded the lowest rate of 43.2, down from 68.5.

    • Joseph Gamp

      MATT HANCOCK MORE OPTIMISTIC THAN EVER FOR 'GREAT BRITISH SUMMER'

      Matt Hancock has said he is more optimistic than ever for a "great British summer".

      The Health Secretary said he is confident that coronavirus restrictions will be lifted to allow leisure travel this summer because of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines. Mr Hancock has already booked a summer holiday in Cornwall.

      The Government's road map for easing England's lockdown rules includes self-contained accommodation such as holiday lets potentially reopening from April 12, while hotel stays and foreign travel could be permitted from May 17.

      On a visit to a laboratory in Glasgow, Mr Hancock said: "I very much hope that as we are able to lift restrictions, then we are all able to travel across the UK.

      "I'm confident, because of the vaccine, we will be able to make that progress and then be able to, all of us, to travel freely wherever we are within these islands.

    • Joseph Gamp

      PM REVEALS HIS ANCESTORS WERE BAKERS FROM DARLINGTON

      Boris Johnson revealed his ancestors were bakers from Darlington as he visited the North East of England to talk about his levelling up agenda.

      He was with Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the busy Teesport site at Middlesbrough, which will become the country's largest Freeport.

      In his Budget, Mr Sunak announced the Treasury will set up a northern campus in Darlington, dubbed Treasury North, which will see 750 jobs relocated from the capital.

      During his visit to Teesside, the Prime Minister said the decision to move there was "fantastic", adding: "I can tell them (Treasury workers) it is a wonderful place.

      "My ancestors actually were bakers in Darlington, you may be interested to discover. So they have been making the dough for the nation for a long time."

    • Joseph Gamp

      ALL VON WRONG

      Europeans are losing faith in the EU over its “vaccine bungles” and believe Britain’s doing much better, a bombshell poll has revealed.

      Only one in six Germans and a quarter of French people think Brussels has done a good job of handling the jabs rollout.

      In contrast the UK is ranked by others as the second best performing country in the world at getting shots into arms.

      New research in three continental countries found “Europeans are pointing the finger of blame at the EU” over the fiasco.

    • Sarah Grealish

      BUDGET DOES NOT TAKE 'ENORMOUS' NHS BACKLOG INTO ACCOUNT

      Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has said the Budget does not take into account the "enormous backlog" there will be in the NHS in future.

      "The Chancellor said yesterday that he was going to be honest about the public finances," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

      "Well actually, we all know that there will be an enormous backlog unfortunately for our NHS when it comes to following on from the pandemic period.

      "And yet that's not reflected in what the Chancellor's set out for health funding."

    • Sarah Grealish

      STARMER QUESTIONS 'FISHY' ALLOCATION OF FUNDS TO TORY AREAS IN SUNAK'S BUDGET

      The allocation of £1 billion funding to mainly Conservative seats will look "fishy" to the public, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer claimed.

      He said of the 45 areas allocated cash under new towns deals, 40 were represented by Tories and it "feels like pork barrel politics".

      But Boris Johnson said it was partly due to his success in the general election meaning that the Tories now represented a lot of towns.

      Rishi Sunak used his Budget to announce the 45 deals "from Castleford to Clay Cross; Rochdale to Rowley Regis; and Whitby to Wolverhampton".

      But Sir Keir told reporters on Thursday: "If we look at the towns fund there are 45 areas and 40 of those areas are where there is a Conservative MP.

    • Sarah Grealish

      CHANCELLOR INSISTS FREEZING INCOME TAX THRESHOLDS IS 'PROGRESSIVE'

      Chancellor Rishi Sunak has insisted that freezing income tax thresholds is a "progressive" form of taxation amid warnings that he needs to do more to tackle the sluggish growth in living standards.

      Mr Sunak said that "no one's take-home pay that they have today is affected or lowered by this policy", though analysis suggests many more people will be dragged into paying tax as wages increase.

      In Wednesday's Budget, he announced that the point at which people begin paying income tax will increase by £70 to £12,570 in April, but will be maintained at that level until April 2026.

      The 40p rate threshold will increase by £270 to £50,270 and then be frozen, with the measures raking in almost £8.2 billion in 2025-26.

      The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said about 1.3 million people would be brought into the income tax system, with about 10% of adults brought into the higher 40p rate.

    • Sarah Grealish

      BUDGET TAX HIKES LEAVE CHANCELLOR LOOKING LIKE 'SCROOGE SUNAK', SAYS THINK TANK

      The biggest tax-raising Budget for 28 years has made the Chancellor look less like "Santa Sunak" and "more like Scrooge Sunak", according to an economic think tank.

      The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said Rishi Sunak is largely funding a mammoth £50 billion squeeze by freezing income tax allowances and hiking corporation tax in "screeching U-turns on Conservative policy".

      In a damning assessment of Wednesday's Budget, the IFS warned that Mr Sunak's spending plans to help address the UK's battered public finances "do not look deliverable" and further tax rises may be needed.

      It said the corporation tax increase from 19% to 25% by 2023 was a "gamble" and the move will not have a bad effect on much-needed business investment.

    • Joseph Gamp

      DOMINIC RAAB WARNS MPS ISLAMIC STATE ARE 'STILL ABLE TO CARRY OUT LETHAL ATTACKS'

      The Foreign Secretary told the Commons: "The safety and the security of our citizens is obviously the Government's highest priority, it is at the core of our work in tackling Daesh which remains our most significant terrorist threat – both at home and abroad."

      Mr Raab told MPs "the Global Coalition Against Daesh estimates that there are still around 10,000 Daesh members at large across Syria and Iraq", adding: "So support for Daesh still lingers on in many communities. At the same time, while Iraq and Syria remain Daesh's primary focus, it also presents a clear and growing global threat."

      He continued: "So diminishing Daesh's ability to operate in other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia, must also be a priority for the international community. We must not allow it to take roots elsewhere."

      Mr Raab added: "I can report to the House that on 11 February a coalition surveillance aircraft located a number of Daesh fighters – they were occupying two dispersed encampments on the banks of the Tharthar River, west of the city of Bayji.

      "Two UK Typhoon FGR4s conducted careful checks of the surrounding area for civilians before carrying out simultaneous attacks using two Paveway IV guided bombs against each group. The bombs hit their targets within the encampments, eliminating the terrorist threat."

    • Joseph Gamp

      DOMINIC RAAB: TEENS ARECRUITED TO TERRORIST ORGANISATIONS DURING LOCKDOWN IN "WORRYING" NUMBERS

      Teenagers are being recruited to terrorist organisations during lockdown in "worrying" numbers, Dominic Raab has said.

      Making a statement in the Commons on the so-called Islamic State (IS), the Foreign Secretary told MPs: "This is a critical moment. Yes, Daesh's brand has weakened – it remains, nonetheless, globally recognised."

      Mr Raab continued: "In December 2020, the UK Counter-Terrorism Referral Unit saw a 7% rise in the volume of terrorist content online and we can see a worrying rise in the proportion of children and teenagers that are now being arrested for terrorism offences.

      "And it was Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of The Met (Metropolitan Police) who described lockdown and the accessibility of terrorist content online as a perfect storm because terrorists have digital access to those who are probably the most susceptible to extremist narratives.

      "So we are tackling Daesh's propaganda head on and I am proud the FCDO leads on this work on behalf of the global coalition."

    • Joseph Gamp

      LATEST NHS TEST AND TRACE FIGURES RELEASED

      Of the 69,129 people transferred to the Test and Trace system in the week to February 24, 88.5% were reached and asked to provide details of recent close contacts.

      This is down very slightly from 88.7% in the previous week.

      Some 11.1% of people transferred to Test and Trace in the week to February 24 were not reached while a further 0.5% did not provide any communication details.

    • Joseph Gamp

      UK MAY BECOME ONE OF THE FASTEST COUNTRIES TO APPROVE JABS FOR COVID VARIANTS

      The UK could become one of the fastest countries in the world to approve new Covid-19 vaccines to tackle variants.

      Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will oversee a fast-track approach to approving new jabs, after studies suggested variants may make vaccines less effective.

      During a visit to the Glasgow lighthouse lab, Mr Hancock said: "We will have a fast-track approach to safely approving future vaccines that work against a variant of Covid-19.

      "The vaccine programme has clearly been a huge UK success story, and part of the reason that we have been able to develop the vaccines so far, so quickly, is because of the MHRA's rigorous yet flexible approach, which has been based entirely on looking as quickly as possible at the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

      "I'm delighted that they're taking that same principled approach to the approval process for vaccines that may work against variants."

    • Joseph Gamp

      EU SAYS NO TALKS UNDER WAY TO BUY RUSSIA’S COVID-19 VACCINE

      The European Commission said on Thursday that there were no talks under way to buy Russia’s Covid-19 Sputnik V vaccine.

      “Currently no talks are ongoing to integrate the Sputnik vaccine in the portfolio,” of Covid-19 shots ordered by the European Union, the spokesman told a news conference.

    • Joseph Gamp

      HEALTH SECRETARY CONFIRMS FAST TRACK APPROACH TO APPROVING NEW COVID VACCINES

      Matt Hancock has said there will be a fast-track approach to approving new vaccines for coronavirus variants

      During a visit to Glasgow Lighthouse Lab, the Health Secretary said: “We will have a fast-track approach to safely approving future vaccines that work against a variant of Covid-19.

      “The vaccine programme has clearly been a huge UK success story, and part of the reason that we have been able to develop the vaccines so far so quickly is because of the MHRA’s rigorous yet flexible approach, which has been based entirely on looking as quickly as possible at the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

      “I’m delighted that they’re taking that same principled approach to the approval process for vaccines that may work against variants.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      GOVERNMENT YET TO DEVISE SOCIAL CARE PLAN, CHANCELLOR SUGGESTS

      The Government has yet to devise a solution to the social care crisis despite Boris Johnson saying he had a "clear plan" when he became Prime Minister, the Chancellor has suggested.

      Rishi Sunak said ministers were "committed" to finding a "cross-party" solution but that the focus is currently on the coronavirus pandemic.

      He has faced criticism from care groups, MPs and charities over the absence of measures to address growing social care pressures in this year's Budget.

      Mr Sunak was asked during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme why there was no mention of social care in his financial statement.

    • Joseph Gamp

      HANCOCK ‘CONFIDENT’ VACCINE WILL MEAN EASED RESTRICTIONS ON DOMESTIC TRAVEL

      Mr Hancock said: “I very much hope that as we are able to lift restrictions then we are all able to travel across the UK.

      “I’m confident because of the vaccine we will be able to make that progress and then be able to, all of us, to travel freely wherever we are within these islands.

      “One of the factors that we have to be vigilant about in that road map is the emergence of new variants, in case the current vaccines are not as effective.

      “I’ve said before that I’m optimistic for a great British summer and I’m now more optimistic about having a great British summer than I have been at any time, thanks to the speed and the effectiveness of the vaccine rollout. By great British summer, I absolutely mean people being able to enjoy travel across the whole of the UK.

      “The travel rules for Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Government, but I think we can all see that we can make a stride down that roadmap thanks to the speed of the vaccine rollout.”

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