Martin Lewis's immediate reaction to the Chancellor's Budget

11 March 2020, 14:28 | Updated: 11 March 2020, 18:07

By Adrian Sherling

Founder of Martin Lewis has given his immediate response to the Chancellor's Budget spending spree.

Rishi Sunak outlined the financial support he is making available for people and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. He pledged security and support for those who are sick and unable to work due to the spread of Covid-19 - admitting there will be 'temporary disruption' to the economy.

Statutory sick pay will be extended to "all those who are advised to self-isolate" even if they have not displayed symptoms.

And a £5 billion pound emergency response fund has been set up to help the NHS and other public services fight the spread of the virus.

Speaking to Shelagh Fogarty, he said: "We normally expect a rabbit from the hat at the end of a Budget. We didn't get a rabbit from the hat today, instead we got a constant flow of gerbils appearing again and again and again as he kept pulling out more and more announcements. I haven't seen that many tangible action announcements from a budget for a long time.

"The big change that was expected - huge infrastructure investment. An increase in government borrowing. An increase in money coming out."

Martin Lewis commented that the Chancellor started with the "less political" topic of coronavirus: "Statutory sick pay, ensuring those who have to self-isolate no longer have to go to the doctor, changes to Universal Credit payments."

Martin Lewis responded to the Chancellor's spending spree
Martin Lewis responded to the Chancellor's spending spree. Picture: PA

Shelagh asked whether everyone will be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) or just those who are already within the salary threshold to receive it.

"He didn't mention a change so one would presume when he's talking statutory sick pay, if they were mentioning a change that would come across," Mr Lewis said, and clarified that SSP is only for those earning the equivalent of £18,000 a year and is £94 a week, "which for many people is a really big drop."

Shelagh observed that the Budget has "a lot to pay for."

"It's just worth doing a sliding doors moment and imagining this was John McDonnell delivering that Budge... you can imagine the shouts on the Tory benches about the magic money tree," said Martin Lewis, "It seems because Rishi Sunak comes from the city and wears a suit he is allowed a magic money tree and he has got one.

"We are in need of radical economic stimulus to get us through - I'm going to say it - the likely recession on the back of coronavirus in the short term.

"Let's not forget this morning interest rates were cut to their lowest level on over 200 years at 0.25% down half a percent. This is emergency CPR on the economy that they are attempting to try and keep everything running."

He branded the Budget as "staggering" because of the "constant action" that the Chancellor announced with "little explanation" - which he called unusual for a Budget.