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Survey results: meeting budget expectations

4 Mar 2021
Read: 3 min

Ahead of the budget on Wednesday 04 March, Lansons and Opinium polled 500 senior business leaders to gauge their views on current economic support and understand what they want out of the budget.

At first glance, has the Chancellor responded effectively to their needs?

The most popular policies amongst business leaders surveyed were:

  • Extending the Job Retention Scheme: Extended to September
  • Extending the Universal Credit Uplift: Extended to September
  • Increasing Self Employed Support: Two further rounds of support this year. However, whilst it has been opened to more applicants there are still many left out of the support scheme
  • Extending the Stamp Duty Holiday: Extension to end of June with a discounted rate until the end of September
  • Extending Business Loans: A new Recovery Loan scheme open for a wide range of applications until 31st December 2021

The key findings:

72% Businesses said Net Zero measures were needed to boost the Economy

Despite frequent references to the green agenda, net zero investment tended to be highly localised - with the focus on specific projects or development programmes.

Businesses outside of London felt they received less support, has this been rebalanced

There were the first serious steps towards decentralising the Civil Service with the announcement of the National Infrastructure Bank's placement in Darlington and the establishment of Treasury North in Leeds.

Two-Fifths believed corporation tax was too low.

The Chancellor has set the UK on course to raise Council tax for the highest earning companies to 25% from April 2023.

Two thirds did not believe the UK economy would recover by the end of 2021

The OBR's forecast bears this assessment out, however it suggests that the UK will have recovered to pre-Covid levels by mid 2022, 6 months faster than they suggested in their November forecast.

A recap on the main policy headlines:

  • Coronavirus support measures extended – The Job Retention (furlough) scheme has been extended until September. The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been extended in the form of a fourth grant until May and a 5th grant from May to September.
  • Corporation tax – Corporation tax will rise to 25% after April 2023. Firms with profits under 50,000 will be exempt
  • Personal Allowance threshold freeze – The income tax personal allowance and higher rate threshold will be frozen in April 2021 until April 2026.
  • Mortgages - The government will introduce a new mortgage guarantee scheme in April 2021 that will provide a guarantee to lenders across the UK who offer mortgages to people with a deposit of just 5% on homes with a value of up to £600,000.
  • Stamp Duty holiday - The government will extend the temporary increase in the residential SDLT Nil Rate Band to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland until 30 June 2021.
  • Universal Credit £20 uplift – The current Universal Credit uplift of £20 has been extended for six more months.
  • Green Savings Bond - The government will offer a green retail savings product through NS&I in the summer of 2021. This product will be closely linked to the UK’s sovereign green bond framework and will give all UK savers the opportunity to take part in the collective effort to tackle climate change, benefiting from the innovative reporting standards planned for the green gilt programme.
  • Infrastructure and investment – The National Infrastructure Bank, announced in November, will be located in Leeds and be given an initial funding injection of £12bn. The government will also commission a new National Infrastructure Commission on Towns and Regeneration.
  • Levelling up Fund – The government is launching the prospectus for the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund alongside Budget. The Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.
  • Help to Grow programmes - The government will offer a new UK-wide management programme to upskill 30,000 SMEs in the UK over three years. It will also launch a new UK-wide scheme in the autumn to help 100,000 SMEs save time and money by adopting productivity-enhancing software, transforming the way they do business.


To receive the full findings report and further insight into the Budget, get in touch with our Public Affairs team below.

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