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Tue, 4 August 2020

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At a glance: All the measures announced in Rishi Sunak's 'plan for jobs' at coronavirus mini-Budget

At a glance: All the measures announced in Rishi Sunak's 'plan for jobs' at coronavirus mini-Budget

Rishi Sunak has announced a range of new measures to protect jobs (PA)

5 min read

On Wednesday the Chancellor delivered a 'Summer Economic Update' in the Commons focusing on measures to boost the economy after the coronavirus crisis. Here's what was announced:

Job retention bonus

Employers who have furloughed staff under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will get a £1,000 bonus for every employee they keep in employment until the end of January 2021. Companies will get the extra cash in February 2021.

Employees are only eligible if they earn above the Lower Earnings Limit of £520 a month - which means they qualify to pay National Insurance. The Treasury claims 90% of those furloughed earned above that limit during 2019/2020. 

The policy has been costed at £9.4 billion, but this figure assumes that bonuses will be issued for all 9.4 million people currently furloughed under the CJRS. The actual cost will likely be lower as companies make redundancies post-pandemic.

Kickstart Scheme

A new Kickstart Scheme is to be launched to create high-quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

Employers will get funding to cover the relevant National Minimum Wage for each employee up to a total of 25 hours a week. National Insurance contributions and other automatic enrollments will also be covered. 

The scheme is expected to cost £2.1billion, but final costs and timing of spending will be subject to how many employers take part.

Supporting jobs

A range of smaller measures has also been announced by the Chancellor to help people gain new skills and find work. 

To support job hunters, £32million extra funding has been set aside for the National Careers Service over the next to years, which it is claimed will give 269,000 more people access to job advice.

There’s also £895million pledged to double the number of work coaches in job centres and £40million to support private sector job-hunting capacity.

To help young people into work, £111million has also been set aside for traineeships aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds, with another £101million to go towards Level 2 and 3 courses for unemployed school and college leavers. 

And employers taking on new apprentices will get an extra £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under 25, or £1,500 for each above that age. This will be in addition to existing £1,000 grants for each 16 to 18-year-old apprentice taken on. 

There is also cash to expand support for youth offenders, boost the Work and Health Programme, and increase the number of sector-based work academies as part of an overall £1.6billion package.

VAT cuts and 'Eat Out to Help Out'

From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, VAT on food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, cafes, pubs and similar business will be slashed to 5% from 20%. Accommodation and admissions to attractions in the UK will also be dropped to 5% over the same period.

The Chancellor has also announced his “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme, which will give every diner in participating eateries a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal.

You can use this discount an unlimited number of times between Monday and Wednesday when you dine in, but alcohol is not included. The scheme will run throughout August, and the Treasury will foot the bill for the 50% discount.

The VAT cut is expected to cost £4.1billion, while Eat Out to Help Out will come to a more modest £500million.

Stamp Duty cut and Green Homes Grant

The threshold at which housebuyers pay no stamp duty on house purchases will go up from £125,000 to £500,000 between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021 in England and Northern Ireland.

The Government has also introduced a Green Homes Grant which will double the amount spent by a landlord or homeowner to make their property more energy-efficient.

The grant is capped at £5,000 per household, but for low-income households costs up to £10,000 will be fully covered by the Treasury.

The stamp duty cut will cost a sizeable £3.8billion, while the Green Homes Grant is expected to come to £2billion.

Public sector decarbonisation

To help reach its goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions from the public sector by 2032, the government has announced an investment of £1billion to improve energy efficiency in public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

There’s also a separate £40million to improve the sustainability of Britain’s court system. 

A pilot scheme is also being planned to decarbonise the least energy-efficient social rented homes, starting with a £50million demonstrator project in 2020-21.

Final cost

If you include the £5.6billion of infrastructure spending announced by the Prime Minister on 30 June, the Government has announced around £30billion of new spending to aid Britain’s economic recovery.
 

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