In the UK government’s 2020 budget, Rishi Sunak has announced a fiscal stimulus totalling £30 billion amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that statutory sick pay will be available to all individuals advised to self-isolate – with sick notes available by contacting NHS 111 – and that the government will provide £2 billion of sick-pay rebates for two weeks for up to two million UK businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
Self-employed workers who are not eligible for sick pay will now be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA), which will be available from day one, rather than day eight.
Business rates will also be abolished altogether for this year for retail, leisure and hospitality companies with a rateable value below £51,000, in a tax cut worth more than £1 billion. A £3,000 cash grant will also be available for any company eligible for small business rates relief.
The chancellor has also announced a temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme for banks to offer loans of up to £1.2m to support small and medium-sized businesses affected by the coronavirus.