Earlier today (8 July), the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, delivered a Summer Economic Update in the House of Commons chamber, where he set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’.
The Chancellor outlined that the plan will support people to find jobs, create new jobs through investing in our infrastructure and housing, and protecting jobs by revitalising the hard-hit sectors upon which many jobs depend. He explained that this is the second phase of the Government’s response to COVID-19, and that a third phase will come, which will focus on rebuilding. There will also be a Budget and a Spending Review in the autumn.
The Chancellor’s package of support is worth up to £30bn. It sees a new Jobs Retention Bonus Scheme to encourage employers to keep their employees on with a one-off payment of £1,000 to the business for every employee who was furloughed previously and who is successfully kept on continuously until January. There will also be a ‘Kickstart Scheme’ to assist 16-24 year olds get jobs who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
The tourism and hospitality sectors will see a temporary cut of VAT from 20% to 5%, and a new ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme will be launched to give people up to 50% off meals out in August to encourage them back into restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Among other measures, homebuyers will benefit from a temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential Stamp Duty from £125,000 to £500,000, equating to an average saving of £4,500.
Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has warmly welcomed the Chancellor’s measures to spur the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak. In the House of Commons chamber, Sir David was able to comment on the measures and asked the Chancellor:
I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement and all the work he has done in the past months to preserve jobs and assist our businesses. Young people are at greater risk of unemployment at this time, and I welcome his plans to help 16 to 24-year-olds with his kick-start scheme, traineeships and a better careers advice service. Does he agree that these proposals will be good for them and for our economy, and give real hope for the future, with many more jobs?
The Chancellor responded:
I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for his support. He is absolutely right; the research and the evidence lays bare the risk that young people face from scarring at this early stage in their careers. They are entering an appalling labour market, which is why it is crucial that we have made the interventions that we have today, particularly the kick-start scheme. He is right: if this is about one word, it is about providing them with hope.