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New chancellor’s budget includes measures to tackle coronavirus
The new chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, has set out in his first budget a plan to support public services, individuals and businesses that may be affected by the coronavirus.
In a three-point plan to tackle the health crisis, the chancellor announced more resources for the NHS, support for people who can’t work, and statutory sick pay for those who cannot work due to illness or self-isolation.
Measures to tackle Coronavirus include a £500m fund for local authorities to provide a ‘hardship fund’ to support vulnerable people, most of this expected to be spent on council tax relief.
The budget also included:
- £12.2bn to extend the Affordable Homes Programme
- £2.5bn for potholes
- £510m to extend 4G
- £5bn for broadband
- £5.2bn for flood defences
- £500m for charging electric vehicles
- A new plastic packaging tax
- A freeze on fuel duty
- An increase in the national insurance threshold
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, said: “The chancellor’s budget will be welcomed by local communities in tackling the coronavirus and investment in digital connectivity, transport, housing, infrastructure, pothole fixing and flood defences.
“England’s 10,000 local (parish and town) councils are ideally placed to play their part on the health crisis by informing and supporting residents, and we would expect district and county councils and other agencies to work closely with them, including around the new targeted funding.
“Further devolution in West Yorkshire should be accompanied by levelling up local democracy by setting up more local councils, and we will continue to inform and influence the forthcoming white paper to ensure local councils are not overlooked.
“While disappointed the temporary scrapping of business rates for shops, cinemas and restaurants didn’t extend to public conveniences, we are pleased the government has already committed to introducing legislation as soon as possible. We also look forward to contributing to the government’s review of business rates and the review of planning where we will be pressing for a strengthening of neighbourhood planning.”