The coronavirus outbreak loomed large in Rishi Sunak’s first budget as chancellor, with measures including a loosening of sick pay rules for businesses and individuals.
Announcing his budget today, Mr Sunak said statutory sick pay would be extended to anyone who had been told to self-isolate, even if they are not showing symptoms.
Meanwhile, businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be able to claim up to two weeks' worth of statutory sick pay (£94.23 per week) from the Government where staff are out of work because of the outbreak.
Other relief measures include:
Altogether, Mr Sunak said the Government planned to set aside £12bn to help the UK cope with the health and economic impact of COVID-19.
This includes a £5bn response fund to help the NHS and public services respond to the outbreak “and recover and return to normal afterwards”.
Mr Sunak said the NHS would get “whatever it needs, whatever it costs” to deal with the outbreak.
On broader health matters, the budget conformed to the Conservatives’ manifesto pledges such as recruiting more nurses and creating more GP appointments.