Britain pledges £30bn package to combat the coronavirus fallout as finance minister Rishi Sunak delivers his first Budget in the House of Commons.
Here is a summary of the main points affecting business.
Business rates will be abolished for thousands of small firms including shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000.
In addition, for this year this will extend to museums, art galleries, theatres, caravan parks, small hotels and B&Bs, gyms and sports clubs, night clubs and club houses.
Pubs will receive a £5,000 discount on business rates for this year only.
Corporation Tax will remain at 19%.
Statutory Sick pay
Businesses with fewer than 250 employees will have the cost of SSP for any employee off work for coronavirus for up to 14 days refunded by the government in full, which will provide some £2bn to up to two million businesses.
In addition to the government’s announcement that it will pay statutory sick pay from day one rather than day four, those who are self-employed or in the gig economy will have access to benefits quicker and easier without having to attend a job centre. The minimum income floor for universal credit will be removed temporarily.
The National Insurance threshold will rise from £8,632 to £9,500 from April 2020, a saving of £104 for a typical employee.
Research and development
Research and development investment will rise significantly to £22bn annually.
A science institute in Weybridge, Surrey will receive a £1.4bn funding boost and an extra £900m will be made available for research into nuclear fusion, space and electric vehicles.
£5bn will be invested to get gigabit-capable broadband into the hardest to reach places.
Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be retained, but lifetime allowance will be reduced from £10m to £1m.
Coronavirus loan scheme
A new loan scheme will be introduced to help small and medium sized businesses to cover the cost of salaries and bills with loans of up to £1.2m. The government will cover up to 80% of losses with no fees so that banks can lend with confidence.
£2bn will be made available to small businesses that are eligible for the small business rates relief through grants. This equates to £3,000 for up to 700,000 small businesses.
VAT to be scrapped on digital books, newspapers and magazines from 1st December 2020.
The economy is predicted to grow by 1.1% this year instead of the forecast 1.4% a year ago but it is expected to rebound to 1.8% in 2021-22.