The Budget 2021

Key business support measures either announced or confirmed during the Chancellor’s Budget speech on 3 March include:

  • Furlough scheme extension to end of September with businesses asked for 10% contribution in July, rising to 20% in August and September
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to pay fourth and fifth grants, with a further 600,000 self-employed potentially eligible
  • Business rates ‘holiday’ in England extended to end of June with further discount available over rest of this year
  • 5% reduced rate of VAT for tourism and hospitality sectors extended to end of September with interim rate of 12.5% for further six months
  • Restart Grant Scheme to provide grants of up to £18,000 for high street businesses Cash incentives for firms taking on an apprentice rising to £3,000
  • New Recovery Loan Scheme offering 80% government guarantee on SME loans of £25,000 to £10m.BUSINESS


COVID fraud taskforce established

The Chancellor also used his Budget speech to announce details of a new HMRC taskforce designed to combat coronavirus-related fraud.

Mr Sunak said £100m had been allocated to establish the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce which will aim to crack down on criminals who fraudulently claim money from COVID-19 financial support schemes. The taskforce will be staffed by more than 1,000 HMRC investigators.


Elite visas to be introduced

Another announcement Mr Sunak made during his Budget speech relates to the introduction of an elite points-based visa system designed to attract highly-skilled migrant workers.

The Chancellor said the aim was to “attract the best and most promising international talent in science, research and tech”. The new scheme, which is due to be introduced by March 2022, will allow people with a job offer from a recognised UK scale-up to apply for a fast-track visa.


Business reaction

“The Chancellor has gone above and beyond to protect UK businesses and people’s livelihoods through the crisis. Thousands of firms will be relieved to receive support to finish the job and get through the coming months. The Budget also has a clear eye to the future; to ensure finances are sustainable, while building confidence and investment in a lasting recovery.”

Tony Danker, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry 

“This Budget delivers a solid platform for many businesses to relaunch as the economy reopens. The Chancellor’s efforts to combine life support for the economy with measures to turbocharge growth is the right call.”

Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors 

“There’s much to welcome in this Budget for business communities across the UK. Extensions to furlough, business rates relief and VAT reductions give firms a fighting chance not only to restart, but also to rebuild.”

Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce  

All details are correct at the time of writing (11 March 2021)