Last week, the Prime Minister set out the roadmap to lift the restrictions brought in to help defeat coronavirus. Today, the Chancellor used the Budget Statement to demonstrate how the Government will continue to support families, businesses and the economy for these final months and lay the groundwork for our recovery with a three-point plan as we build back better.
Firstly, the Chancellor has recognised the need for businesses to continue to have certainty and for jobs to continue to be protected. That is why he has taken the decision to extend the furlough scheme for an additional six months until the end of September. The scheme has protected over 6,500 jobs here in Rugby and Bulkington and its extension will mean that as we lift restrictions and enable people to return to work, there will not be a cliff edge for jobs as our economy recovers. The Chancellor also set out a further round of grants worth up to £18,000 to help businesses as they reopen. There is extra support targeted at the leisure, hospitality, arts and culture sectors who have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. In addition, the Chancellor confirmed that the business rates holiday and VAT cut will be extended and the planned rises to fuel and alcohol duties will not take place, which I know will be a relief to families and businesses throughout Rugby and Bulkington.
It is also vital to ensure that families have the support which they need over the coming weeks and months. I know that many residents have been concerned about the future of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit. Today, the Chancellor confirmed that the uplift will be retained for an additional six months.
In total the Government will have provided over £407 billion of support in response to the pandemic. It is right that we are honest about the consequences of these decisions and take steps to keep the public finances on a sustainable footing. I stood on a manifesto commitment not to increase Income Tax, National Insurance or VAT, and I am delighted that the Chancellor has stood by this. It is right that those with the broadest shoulders should pay their fair share, which is why the Government will be increasing corporation tax on the largest, wealthiest businesses to 25% in 2023. It is important to note that this increase has been delayed so that businesses have time to recover, and will take effect as and when companies return to profit. It will also not impact smaller businesses, with 70% not affected at all, and even with this increase the UK will have the most competitive tax regime for businesses in the G7.
Finally, we need to ensure the future of our economy. That is why today the Chancellor launched a new UK Infrastructure Bank which will drive our green recovery by investing in public and private projects to create green jobs and green growth. I know that delivering growth in a sustainable way is a priority for local residents and this world leading investment is an essential part of our economic recovery.
The success of our vaccine programme means that there is a route out of the restrictions and today the Office for Budget Responsibility has said that, thanks to the unprecedented measures the Government has taken, our recovery will be swifter than initially hoped. This means that there is hope for the future and today’s Budget lays the groundwork for that hope to become a reality.