Budget 2021 – An overview

This was a budget like no other, for a time like no other. The backdrop being the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing need to financially support individuals and firms.

In response, the Chancellor announced additional support over the next two years and outlined plans to address the nation’s public finance woes by raising taxes in the medium term.

To read more detail behind the announced support, visit the Buckinghamshire Business First COVID-19 Business Support Hub.

COVID-19 support

  • An extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough).
  • More funding support for the self-employed, including a fourth SEISS grant and an announcement of a future fifth grant.
  • An extension of the 5% reduced rate of VAT for tourism and hospitality businesses.
  • £400 million to help arts venues in England reopen and further grants of up to £18,000 for hospitality and leisure businesses.
  • Additional grants of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses.

Business support

  • A new Help to Grow scheme was announced to give SMEs the tools to become more productive.
  • A new Super-Deduction will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every pound invested in new equipment.


  • Employers who take on a new apprentice between 1st April and 30th September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new appointment, regardless of the age of the employee.
  • A new £7 million fund will be available from July to support businesses wishing to set-up and expand ‘portable’ apprenticeship provision.
  • There will also be greater flexibility regarding transferring unspent apprenticeship levy funds.

A plan for growth

Published alongside the budget was Build Back Better: our plan for growth, which set out the government’s plans to support economic growth through investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation.

These plans include:

  • A new UK Infrastructure Bank to provide financing support to private sector and local authority infrastructure projects across the UK, to help meet Government objectives on climate change and regional economic growth. From the summer, it will offer loans to local authorities for strategic infrastructure projects.
  • A £4.8 million Levelling Up Fund to 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. 
  • A £220 million UK Community Renewal Fund to pilot programmes and new approaches as the government moves away from the EU Structural Funds model and towards the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
  • Over £1 billion from the Towns Fund for a further 45 Town Deals across England. 
  • The establishment of Freeports in eight areas of England – East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth and South Devon, Solent, Teesside, and Thames.
  • £375 million for the Future Fund: Breakthrough, a new direct co-investment product to support the scale up of the most innovative R&D-intensive businesses.

To read more detail behind the announced support, visit the Buckinghamshire Business First COVID-19 Business Support Hub.

Championing the local economy

Whilst Buckinghamshire has not been identified as a priority area for investment, Buckinghamshire LEP and partners will continue to champion the local economy and pursue opportunities to access funding.

And Buckinghamshire Business First will continue to ensure Buckinghamshire businesses are aware of the range of support available as we emerge from the pandemic to aid survival and enable future growth.

Impact of COVID-19 on Buckinghamshire’s economy

Buckinghamshire LEP, working in partnership with Buckinghamshire Business First and Buckinghamshire Council, is gathering and analysing evidence of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Buckinghamshire economy.

Read the latest summary here.

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