Wednesday 11 March 2020 4:42 pm

2020 Budget key points: Coronavirus, spending spree and even some jokes

Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined a massive spending spree and a £30bn package to shelter the UK economy through the coronavirus crisis in his 2020 Budget today, as the budget watchdog said he would borrow £100bn over five years to do so.

The Treasury boss, who had just four weeks to prepare for today’s Budget, even cracked a couple of jokes as he committed to ramping up public spending on infrastructure.

Read more: UK budget watchdog: Rishi Sunak’s spending spree biggest since 1992

Read more: Budget 2020: Government to review Air Passenger Duty

Sunak has a dig at McDonnell in 2020 Budget

Saying he would abolish “the reading tax”, Sunak said there would be no VAT to pay on digital publications from the end of 2020.

Digital newspapers and factual books would be exempt, he said, as would “works of fantasy”, Sunak quipped, such as shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s economic plan.

Read more: Budget 2020: Chancellor introduces digital services tax

Sunak, who replaced Sajid Javid as chancellor in the February reshuffle, also managed to crack a joke when praising his Tory government for the UK’s record high employment rate.

“The story of this government has been the story of a national jobs miracle,” Sunak said.

He added: “Given the last few weeks we’ve had I am all in favour of job miracles.”

Read on for all the key 2020 Budget announcements from today, and links to read our coverage in full.

2020 Budget announcements:


Read more: Retail and leisure sector reacts to ‘disappointing’ business rates reform


Business/tech taxes


£600bn infrastructure investment covering: