Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered an historic Budget, dubbed the ‘biggest giveaway in a generation’. Over £175bn was committed to tackle Coronavirus and reverse a decade of austerity. Beyond the headline announcements, here’s a Contis view of Budget 2020.
We’re glad to note the government’s commitment to financial inclusion, with genuine help on the cost of living and empowering the most vulnerable in society. The Budget includes a 6.2% increase to the National Living Wage and 1.7% increase to working age benefits, ending a 4-year freeze. Helping Universal Credit claimants tackle debt with 24 months to repay UC advances will make a significant difference to many people.
The government has also committed to protecting access to cash and supporting credit unions to offer a wider range of products and services.
As a member for the Centre for Social Justice with a strong imprint in the Credit Union movement through our Engage product, we celebrate these important measures.
Fintech and Cryptocurrency
We’re delighted to see a big focus on fintech. The government announced a review of this “vital” sector, led by Ron Kalifa OBE, Vice Chairman of WorldPay and a non-exec director at the Bank of England. The Chancellor also pledged further funding for the Fintech Delivery Panel.
On crypto, the UK is to take a leading role in exploring digital currencies. The government announced a consultation into cryptoassets, highlighting the important balance between regulation and innovation.
HM Treasury will also launch a Payments Landscape Review – ensuring the UK’s payments infrastructure and regulation keeps apace. While thin on details, we applaud this interest in ensuring the UK’s payment sector remains world leading.
Entrepreneurship & Business Support
The government’s commitment to innovation and growth is also noteworthy. Investment in R&D was pledged at 2.4% of GDP by 2027, which will be crucial to keeping post-Brexit Britain competitive.
Through the British Business Bank, the government will also make £200m available to VC and growth finance, and support 10,000 entrepreneurs by extending its Start-Up Loans programme.
We’re happy to see the government laying strong foundations to support startups and innovation – essential for a thriving fintech sector, and broader growth across the economy.