LiveCoronavirus in Sheffield LIVE: Rishi Sunak to extend furlough scheme to September in Budget with new support for self-employed

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Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:45 am

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Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, walks from the Treasury to No 11 Downing Street, London, the day before delivering his budget. Picture date: Tuesday March 2, 2021.

Coronavirus in Sheffield LIVE: Four more coronavirus deaths confirmed in South Yorkshire

Last updated: Thursday, 04 March, 2021, 13:55

  • More than four in 10 over 80s have broken covid rules since being vaccinated
  • Four more coronavirus deaths confirmed in South Yorkshire
  • One year ago today – this is when we realised Covid-19 would hit Sheffield
  • Healthy 17-year-old dies with coronavirus as death toll also rises again in South Yorkshire
  • Sheffield's Covid death rate falls sharply as lockdown and vaccinations take effect

Downing Street urged people to continue to respect the lockdown after an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey suggested more than four in 10 over-80s who received a coronavirus vaccine during the current lockdown appear to have since broken the rules.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s important that people continue to follow the guidelines that are in place.”

Asked if the elderly were behaving irresponsibly, the spokesman said: “We are asking everybody to continue to follow the rules and guidelines.”

One year ago today – this is when we realised Covid-19 would hit Sheffield

One year ago today – this is when we realised Covid-19 would hit Sheffield

One year ago today Sheffield’s director of public health stood in front of a packed Town Hall meeting and warned Covid-19 would hit the city.

A total of 18,194,919 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and March 2, according to provisional NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 208,968 on the previous day’s figures.

Of this number, 17,554,700 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 181,316 on the previous day, while 640,219 were a second dose, an increase of 27,652.

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital in England has dropped below 10,000 for the first time since the beginning of November, according to the latest figures from NHS England.

There were 9,594 coronavirus patients in hospital in England as of 8am on Wednesday March 3, the first time it has dropped below 10,000 since November 1 when there were 9,623.

It is also a week-on-week drop of 26% from the 13,007 coronavirus patients in hospital in England on February 24 and a 72% drop from the peak of 34,336 coronavirus patients in hospital on January 18.

Four more coronavirus deaths confirmed in South Yorkshire

Four more coronavirus deaths confirmed in South Yorkshire

A further four people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in South Yorkshire, according to the latest daily statistics.

Concluding, Rishi Sunak told MPs: “Today we set out a plan to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people but the promises that underpin that plan remain unchanged from those we pledged ourselves to 12 long months ago.

“To unite and lead, to level up, to create a world-class education system, to keep our streets safe, to keep our NHS strong, to support the most vulnerable, to reform and improve public services, to grow the economy, to spread prosperity, to extend the awesome power of opportunity to all corners of the United Kingdom, and, yes, to be honest and fair in all that we do.

“An important moment is upon us. A moment of challenge and of change. Of difficulties, yes, but of possibilities too. This is a Budget that meets that moment.”

Freeports – “special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business” – will be located at East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, the Humber region, the Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside, the Chancellor announced.

Freeports – “special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business” – will be located at East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, the Humber region, the Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside, the Chancellor announced.

Mr Sunak said the freeports will have “simpler planning”, “cheaper customs – with favourable tariffs, VAT or duties”, and lower taxes – with “tax breaks to encourage construction, private investment and job creation”.

Rishi Sunak announced city and growth deals in Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute, and Falkirk, adding there will be three more in North Wales, Mid Wales, and Swansea Bay.

He added there will be funding for the Holyhead hydrogen hub, the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in Neath Port Talbot, the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone, and the Global Underwater Hub and the North Sea transition deal.

Mr Sunak said: “Through the Barnett formula, the decisions I’m taking in this Budget also increase the funding for the devolved administrations, by £1.2 billion for the Scottish government, £740 million for the Welsh government and £410 million for the Northern Ireland executive.”

Rishi Sunak confirmed the Treasury would establish a new economic campus in Darlington, and said there would be more than £1 billion for 45 new towns deals.

He also said: “We’re creating a £150 million fund to help communities across the UK take ownership of pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs at risk of loss – putting more power in the hands of local people.”

Rishi Sunak also announced visa reforms aimed at “highly-skilled” migrants, telling MPs: “A new unsponsored points-based visa to attract the best and most promising international talent in science, research and tech, new, improved visa processes for scale-ups and entrepreneurs, and radically simplified bureaucracy for high-skilled visa applications.”

Rishi Sunak also announced visa reforms aimed at “highly-skilled” migrants, telling MPs: “A new unsponsored points-based visa to attract the best and most promising international talent in science, research and tech, new, improved visa processes for scale-ups and entrepreneurs, and radically simplified bureaucracy for high-skilled visa applications.”

To help firms access capital, Mr Sunak said steps will be taken to give the pensions industry “more flexibility to unlock billions of pounds from pension funds into innovative new ventures” via the “Future Fund Breakthrough”.

The Chancellor confirmed an additional £1.6 billion for the coronavirus vaccine rollout and to “improve future preparedness”.

Rishi Sunak said there will be a set of UK-wide “Help to Grow” schemes, to offer access to management training and to provide online training to firms.

The Chancellor also said: “Becoming a scientific superpower is something we can be – I don’t think that’s hubristic or unrealistic.”

He added: “I’m providing an extra £1.6 billion today to continue the rollout and improve our future preparedness. And I want to make the UK the best place in the world for high growth, innovative companies.”

Rishi Sunak said the UK Infrastructure Bank will be located in Leeds.

He told MPs: “The Bank will invest across the UK in public and private projects to finance the green industrial revolution.”

Mr Sunak said the Government is also funding new port infrastructure to build the next generation of offshore wind projects in Teesside and Humberside.

On duties, Rishi Sunak told MPs: “I can confirm that the planned increases in duties for spirits – like Scotch Whisky – wine, cider and beer will all be cancelled.

“All alcohol duties frozen for the second year in a row – only the third time in two decades.

“And right now, to keep the cost of living low, I’m not prepared to increase the cost of a tank of fuel. So the planned increase in fuel duty is also cancelled.”

Rishi Sunak said he did not believe it would be right to increase the rates of tax on working people, telling MPs: “I believe our approach, while bold, is compatible with our duty as a fiscally responsible and business friendly government.

“This is the right choice and I’m confident it will command public assent.”

All alcohol duties will be frozen for the second year in a row and the planned increase in fuel duty has also been cancelled, the Chancellor said.

Mr Sunak said there will be a “super deduction” for companies when they invest, reducing their tax bill by 130% of the cost.

Rishi Sunak said the UK will have a “pro-business tax regime” but more needs to be done to encourage immediate investment.

He told MPs: “While many businesses are struggling, others have been able to build up significant cash reserves. We need to unlock that investment, we need an investment-led recovery.

“So today I can announce the ‘super deduction’. For the next two years, when companies invest they can reduce their tax bill, not just by a proportion of the cost of that investment, as they do now, or even by 100% of the cost, the so-called full expensing some have called for – with the super deduction they can now reduce their tax bill by 130% of the cost.”

It is forecast to boost business investment by 10%, or around £20 billion extra per year, Mr Sunak said.

Mr Sunak said he was maintaining at their current levels the inheritance tax threshold, the pensions lifetime allowance and the annual exempt amount in capital gains tax until April 2026 and, for two years from April 2022, the VAT registration threshold.

Mr Sunak said he was maintaining at their current levels the inheritance tax threshold, the pensions lifetime allowance and the annual exempt amount in capital gains tax until April 2026 and, for two years from April 2022, the VAT registration threshold.

Inheritance tax thresholds, the pensions lifetime allowance, and the annual exempt amount in capital gains tax will be maintained at current levels until April 2026, according to Rishi Sunak.

He added: “We’ll also tackle fraud in our Covid schemes, with £100 million to set up a new HMRC taskforce of around 1,000 investigators, as well as new measures, and new investment in HMRC, to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion.”

Rishi Sunak said the Government will not raise the rates of income tax, national insurance, or VAT.

    But he added: “Instead, our first step is to freeze personal tax thresholds.”

    The Chancellor went on: “We will of course deliver our promise to increase it again next year to £12,570, but we will then keep it at this more generous level until April 2026.

    “The higher rate threshold will similarly be increased next year, to £50,270, and will then also remain at that level for the same period.”Mr Sunak said of his principles: “First, while it is right to help people and businesses through an acute crisis like this one, in normal times the state should not be borrowing to pay for everyday public spending.

    “Second, over the medium-term, we cannot allow our debt to keep rising, and, given how high our debt now is, we need to pay close attention to its affordability.

    “Third, it is sensible to take advantage of low interest rates to invest in capital projects that can drive our future growth.”

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