The Chancellor promised local councils a £500 million hardship fund to help people hit by coronavirus. This is likely to add about £25 million to the Welsh Government’s Budget, with ministers in Cardiff Bay deciding how it is distributed.
The Chancellor said there will also be an extra £360 million for the Welsh Government to boost economic growth.
Extra spending on services in England usually results in a knock-on increase in budgets in Wales, through a mechanism known as the Barnett formula.
– “Deliver prosperity”
Mr Hart said: “This Budget shows the UK government is keeping its promises to level up the nations and region of the UK and deliver prosperity for Wales.”
He added: “We are supporting Welsh Government in exceptional circumstances – to help tackle coronavirus and flooding.”
The announcement is in addition to a previous pledge to boost the Welsh budget for 2020-21.
The highlights for Wales:
- £360 million in additional funding for the Welsh Government
- The rollout of gigabit capable broadband to the hardest to reach areas
- An independent economic review of the Western Gateway which stretches across Wales and the West of England
- A commitment from the Treasury to establish a presence in Wales to ensure Welsh priorities are central to economic decision making.
Taking questions from AMs in the Senedd, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said she remained hopeful that Wales will get additional funding to deal with flood repairs beyond its population share of the money announced for England, in view of the large number of Welsh communities hit by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis. She also gave her reaction to the news that the Treasury would establish a presence in Wales.
“We’re really keen to work closely with HMRC and Treasury, because it’s really important that we share information and ideas in order to give the best possible service to people in Wales so we look forward to more information on that.”
– Finance Minister Rebecca Evans AM
How the budget will support small businesses
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said the budget should go “a long way to reinjecting optimism” back into the small business community.
Among the wins were:
- For those affected by coronavirus, introducing a 14-day SSP rebate for small firms with fewer than 250 employees, widening access to HMRC Time To Pay arrangements for firms struggling with cashflow issues and creating a £500million hardship fund for the vulnerable
- Making grants of £3,000 available to 700,000 businesses that currently qualify for Small Business Rates Relief, whilst committing £130million to the British Business Bank’s Start-up Loans programme, £1.2billion worth of funding for targeted loans to smaller firms affected by the virus and £5billion worth of export finance
- Increasing the discount on national insurance contributions that small firms can receive through the Employment Allowance from £3,000 to £4,000
- Reforming – rather than scrapping – entrepreneurs’ relief, a reduction in capital gains tax that small business owners receive when selling their firms, by reducing the lifetime to £1million
- Extending the Retail Discount on business rates to a wider set of small businesses and exempting those who qualify for the discount from rates entirely for one year, increasing the pubs discount to £5,000 and committing to a fundamental review of the rates system
- Investing £2.5billion in pothole repairs, £5billion in gigabit-capable broadband, £5billion in flood defences and £1billion in zero-carbon transport initiatives while maintaining the fuel duty freeze for the tenth successive year
For more information on the budget can be found here
The latest on Corvid-19
Advice and guidance on reducing the risks of the Covid-19 virus has been issued. The UK Government has now stepped up its coronavirus response, and anyone with flu-like symptoms, a fever of above 37.8c or a persistent cough should self-isolate for seven days.