Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces raft of new measures to boost ailing economy

PUBLISHED: 16:26 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:26 08 July 2020

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak answering a question in the House of Commons, London. (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak answering a question in the House of Commons, London. (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a number of measures to boost the ailing economy, including cuts to VAT and stamp duty, alongside bonuses for employers who bring back furloughed workers.

In a House of Commons speech earlier today, Mr Sunak committed further spending of up to £30billion, which will be added to the estimated £122billion allocated since March.

Shoppers will be buoyed by the cut to VAT, which will fall from 20 to five per cent between August and January 2021.

This will affect pubs (though not alcoholic drinks), restaurants, hotels, cinemas, zoos and other such attractions.

Further help is to be given to the hospitality industry in the form of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme; for all of August, from Monday-Wednesday, sit-down meals and non-alcoholic drinks will be 50pc off (up to £10 per-head).

The chancellor says this will support over 2.4m staff at more than 150,000 businesses.

From today until March 31 2021 stamp duty will have an increased limit of £500,000; previously, there was no stamp duty on houses costing less than £125,000 (£300,000 for first-time buyers).

The chancellor says this means “9/10 people of main home buyers will pay no SDLT (stamp duty land tax) at all”.

Up to £9.4bn — the biggest single outlay of this package — has been dedicated to retaining furloughed workers.

Employers will receive a one-off £1,000 bonus for each furloughed employee still employed as of January 31 next year.

Further measures include a £2bn ‘Kickstart’ job creation scheme for 16-24-year-olds on universal credit at high risk of long-term unemployment.

Funding will be given for 25 hours-per-week on a six month job placement at 100pc of the national minimum wage.

Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, on top of the existing £1,000 payment provided for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an education, health and care plan.

Another £111m is to be invested to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020-21.

Finally, £8.8bn worth of work on new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects has been brought forward to create jobs.

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