HM Treasury

Wednesday 3 Mar 2021



Today the Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the Budget for 2021, with an optimistic vision for the future of the UK’s economy, and honesty about the choices we need to make to provide certainty.

The Budget delivers on the Government’s commitment to support business through the pandemic and level up every corner of the UK.

How does this Budget support businesses? 

  • We are bolstering our Plan for Jobs, through a Budget that will continue to protect, support and create employment across the country.
  • Extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to 30 September 2021. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. 
  • Extension to the VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions until the end of September, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months until 31 March 2022.
  • 750,000 eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will benefit from business rates relief.
  • Small and medium-sized employers will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay costs per employee from the government. 
  • Once the existing COVID-19 business loan schemes close at the end of March, having supported £73bn worth of lending to date, we will launch the new Recovery Loan Scheme. This maintains a generous 80% guarantee to lenders to ensure they have the confidence to continue to lend to viable companies trading in the UK.
  • £5 billion for new Restart Grants – a one off cash grant of up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England.
  • To further support the cashflow of businesses, the government is extending the loss carry back rules worth up to £760,000 per company.
  • Extension of the Film & TV Production Restart scheme and an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund.
  • More than doubling the legal limit for single contactless payments, from £45 to £100 - make it easier for people to pay for their shopping, providing a boost to retail sector.
  • An extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive for businesses to September 2021, increasing the payment to £3,000 for each apprentice they hire – regardless of age.
  • £7 million for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector such as the creative industries, and an additional £126 million for 40,000 more traineeships in England.
  • £126 million in additional support for 40,000 more traineeships in England, funding high quality work placements and training for 16-24-year olds in 2021-22.

How will the Budget help businesses to innovate?  

  • Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
  • The Help to Grow scheme will give up to 130,000 SMEs the tools to become more productive. It will offer business leaders access to top management training, and a new online service offering free advice on how to improve their digital capability, with government vouchers to buy approved software.
  • We are reforming the visa system to attract the brightest and best global talent to the UK.
  • The ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ scheme will continue to support highly innovative companies, such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech, that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding.
  • We are consulting on tax reliefs in the research and development sector. This aims keep the UK as a competitive location for cutting edge research.

How does the Budget ‘level up’ the country? 

  • The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund has been extended to the whole of the UK and will invest in local projects, such as regeneration and transport. The prospectus published today provides guidance for local areas on how to apply for funding.
  • People across the UK will benefit from new support for local communities, skills and jobs through the launch of the £220 million Community Renewal Fund.
  • A new Civil Service campus will be created in Darlington, boosting employment opportunities and decentralising decision making.
  • A further 45 towns across England will benefit from £1 billion funding from the Towns Fund to support their long-term economic and social regeneration
  • To preserve regional connectivity and support jobs in communities around airports, the government is renewing support for airports and ground handlers, to help meet fixed costs such as business rates.
  • £150 million Community Ownership Fund will allow communities to invest to protect the assets that matter most to them such as pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs.
  • £18.8 million to transform local cultural projects in Hartlepool, Carlisle, Wakefield and Yeovil.
  • £27 million in the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone and £5 million in the Global Underwater Hub in Scotland, the first stage in delivering the North Sea Transition Deal.
  • Three Growth Deals in Scotland – Ayrshire, Argyll & Bute, and Falkirk – will receive funding more quickly.
  • £4.8 million to support the development of a demonstration hydrogen hub in Holyhead, Anglesey.
  • £30 million for the Global Centre for Rail Excellence in Wales.
  • Three City and Growth Deals – in North-Wales, Mid-Wales and Swansea Bay – will receive funding more quickly.
  • Northern Ireland will benefit from the Corporation Tax exemption for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Northern Ireland’s biggest landlord.
  • Almost half of the £400 million New Deal for Northern Ireland funding has been set aside for supermarket support, resilient medicine supplies and skills.

Contact Information

HMT Press Office
020 7270 5238


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Notes to editors

Further measures announced by the Chancellor can be found at this factsheet.