Rishi Sunak will take questions about the UK’s budget from the press and public for the first time this week

Rishi Sunak will take questions about the UK’s budget from the press and public for the first time this week (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will take questions from members of the press and the public following the unveiling of the budget for the first time later this week.

Rishi Sunak will make the annual budget statement at around midday on Wednesday 3 March, but will later take questions in a televised event at around 5pm.

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Mr Sunak said: “This Wednesday, in a Budget first, I will be taking questions from the public and the press straight after my statement.”

This year’s budget is highly anticipated after the pandemic has played havoc with the nation’s economy, and many will be hopeful that the Chancellor will announce additional support for workers and businesses in order to help the recovery. 

What will be in the budget?

While there is much speculation as to what the budget will contain, a number of measures which will be taken have already been confirmed. 

These are the plans which have been announced so far:

  • A £5 billion grant scheme to help pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses in England hit hardest by the coronavirus
  • A £1.65 billion boost for the coronavirus vaccine rollout programme to ensure it meets its target of offering a first dose to every adult in the UK by July 31
  • £22 billion for a new UK Infrastructure Bank, with £12 billion of capital and £10 billion in guarantees, to drive £40 billion of investment in infrastructure projects as part of the Government’s “levelling up” agenda following the pandemic
  • A mortgage guarantee scheme to encourage home ownership and help buyers with deposits of just five per cent to get on to the property ladder
  • Changes to the migration system to make it easier for highly skilled workers to come to the UK, including researchers, engineers, scientists and those in the tech sector, through a new points-based route
  • A sovereign green savings bond for retail investors, which will invest £70 million in long term, low carbon energy storage, £20 million in offshore wind, and £4 million for green energy crops
  • A new UK Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to crack down on Covid-19 fraudsters exploiting government financial rescue schemes such as furlough
  • Guaranteed financial support for thalidomide sufferers for the rest of their lives, with a £39 million down payment to cover the next four years
  • £126 million to create 40,000 new traineeships in England, while the cash incentive for employers who take on an apprentice will be raised to £3,000
  • £10 million to support military forces veterans across the UK with mental health needs to be distributed through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust