New chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered what looks like a generous Budget. But there was slim pickings for working dads in there.
There were plenty of measures in the Budget for business in general, but little for working dads in particular.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a Budget of two halves. The first focused on measures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. The second part was clearly the big spending budget the government had been planning since its election win.
Self employed parents were acknowledged in the Budget. A line in the Budget documents says, “The government will consider how to provide appropriate support to self-employed parents so that they can continue to run their businesses, as part of its wider review of parental pay and leave.” But that is unlikely to appease campaigners. The government review of parental pay is now at least two years overdue.
Working dads will all benefit from an increase in the National Insurance threshold. Anyone employed is expected to be around £100 per year better off and a freelancer will be £78 better off because they won’t pay NI below £9500.
And household finances will benefit from a freeze on the duties on petrol and booze.
Public spending is to increase on schools, hospitals and roads.
But there was no announcements on the cost of childcare. Earlier in the week parliament debated a public petition that had attracted nearly 150,000 signatures calling for free childcare to kick in when a baby is nine months old – the point at which statutory parental pay ends.
According to the Budget documents, “The government’s ambition is to support people and families through a fair and sustainable tax system, that rewards hard work, minimises economic distortions and funds first class public services.”
Policies specifically aimed at families are:
There was also a step that will benefit dads working from home. The allowance that homeworkers can take off their income tax liability to cover the extra expenses of working from home such as heating and lighting will rise from £4 per week to £6 per week.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced a range of measures to help the economy withstand the impact of coronavirus. He told MPs that “for a period it’s going to be tough.” But he insisted that the economy is robust and that “life will return to normal.”
Employees will be able to access sick pay from their first day off work with coronavirus rather than having to wait till the fourth day. And that will apply to everyone advised to self isolate even if they aren’t found to have the bug.
Self employed people on contributory employment and support allowance will also be able to get sick pay from day one rather than day eight.
A new system will be set up so people can get an official sick note through the NHS 111 service rather than having to visit or contact a doctor.
Employers will be refunded the cost of up to 14 days of sick pay to cover employees who have to stay away from work due to coronavirus.
Tax payments will be deferred, banks will offer emergency loans and business rates will be temporarily abolished or slashed for small enterprises. And the government will hand out £3000 to qualifying companies to help tide them over the downturn that is expected to accompany coronavirus.
Sunak said the £30 billion stimulus package is “temporary, timely and targeted”.