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Mike Wakeford

Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered a speech to Parliament that he called a plan for jobs.  Describing the Covid-19 pandemic as the biggest threat to this country in decades he announced a number of measures intended to support jobs and boost the economy.
There were announcements covering:

• A temporary reduction in VAT for the hospitality industry
• A temporary discount on eating out to encourage the use of restaurants
• A job retention bonus for employers retaining employees after the end of the furlough scheme
• A series of boosts for employment
• A temporary cut in stamp duty for properties costing up to £500,000
• Green homes grant to householders undertaking projects to improve the energy efficiency of their property

Reduction in VAT
To provide assistance to the hospitality industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, the rate of VAT to be charged will be temporarily reduced from 20% to 5% on all supplies made in that sector.  This reduction in VAT will take effect on 15 July 2020 and run through to 12 January 2021.

The reduced rate will apply to food and non-alcoholic drinks supplied by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and similar premises across the UK.  A similar reduction in VAT will also apply on supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions.
Discount on Eating Out
For the month of August, anyone eating a meal at any participating restaurant, pub, bar, café or other eligible food service establishment on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday will be entitled to a reduction of 50% (up to a maximum of £10 per person) on the total cost of a meal and non-alcoholic drinks.  The establishment will be reimbursed the value of discounts they have given by the government.

Job Retention Bonus
A payment of £1,000 will be made to businesses for every worker who has been furloughed, provided they are retained continuously on the payroll until 31 January 2021.  This will apply to all employees who are paid more than the £520 per month on average from the end of the job retention scheme until 31 January 2021.

Boosts for Employment
A number of measures were announced to provide funding for employers to take on new apprentices and trainees and to provide additional funding for a number of schemes intended to help people to find jobs.
Cut in Stamp Duty
The lower limit on which Stamp Duty Land Tax starts to be charged on the acquisition of a residential property is being increased from £125,000 to £500,000 of purchases completed between now and 31 March 2021. 

Green Homes Grant
The government will provide £2 for every £1 spent by a householder, up to maximum of £5,000 per household, on projects to improve the energy efficient of their property.  Grants of up to £10,000 will be made available to the poorest households.

At the moment, little information on the details of exactly how any of these measures will take effect has been published.  This will be announced in the coming days, and we will provide further commentary as and when it becomes available.