WHILE Warrington South MP Andy Carter has welcomed some “big steps” in the Chancellor’s mini-budget to protect jobs and boost the economy, Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols, while welcoming many of the measures, fears for the three three million people excluded from financial support.
She also described the “eat out to help out” measures proposed for August as a “gimmick” and expressed disappointment at the lack of sector specific support that was promised for sectros like aviation.
Welcoming the Chancellor’s mini-budget Conservative MP Mr Carter said: ““There are some really big steps here to help important parts of Warrington’s economy and to protect jobs. From next Wednesday VAT will be cut across hospitality, accommodation and attractions from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for the next 6 months as well as something that has never been done in this country ever before – giving people up to 50 per cent off meals out, encouraging them back into restaurants, cafes and pubs. Anyone who eats at a participating business, Monday to Wednesday for the month of August, can receive up to 50 per cent off food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a value of £10 per person. It’s time to get out and support our local independent businesses”.
“Scrapping stamp duty on all homes under £500,000 to help the housing market and boost confidence will save the average Warrington house buyer £4500, I’ve already heard from local people who are delighted with this step”.
“I’m most pleased to see Rishi supporting young people by creating jobs and encouraging training. The Kickstart scheme will directly pay businesses to create new, decent and high-quality jobs for any 16-24 year old at risk of long-term unemployment. There’s also big boost for the Apprentice scheme, providing £2,000 to employers for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25”.
Meanwhile Labour’s Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols said: “Many of the measures which were announced will be very welcome, in particular the cut in VAT on food, accommodation and attractions which will help to boost demand at a very difficult time for these industries. The Job Retention Bonus will also help to ensure there is not a ‘cliff edge’ at the end of the furlough scheme, with employers incentivised to minimise lay-offs, and the investment into apprenticeships, traineeships and work placements will hopefully encourage job creation.
“There are some aspects though which I do not feel target support in the right place- Stamp Duty is not a significant barrier to home ownership, the green investment announced won’t go nearly far enough, and the “eat out to help out” measures for August seem like a gimmick.
“Most significantly though, is what the Mini Budget doesn’t include- help for the three million people excluded from financial support so far, or sector-specific support that was promised for sectors like aviation. The Government is running out of time to introduce these before it will be too little, too late.”
Institute of Directors Director general Jonathan Geldart said: “The Chancellor pulled a few rabbits out of his hat today, but many directors will feel like he missed a trick. We fully understand the Treasury’s desire to focus on the young, and particularly badly-affected sectors, but coronavirus has crippled many parts of the economy.
“The JRS bonus offers something of an off-ramp from the furlough scheme, and firms will certainly be doing all they can to keep people on board. However, with cash so tight now, January may feel like a long way off for some businesses. Meanwhile, the Kickstart Scheme is a welcome idea, and we hope the system will be easy for employers to use. The boosts for apprenticeships and other training are also steps in the right direction.
He added:”The Chancellor’s greatest strength has been his willingness to adapt as the situation moves. While there were certainly things for businesses to welcome today, there is still a long hard road back to full economic health.”
The Key announcements:
Help for hospitality
Mr Sunak unveiled a 50pc discount for diners to spur demand and a huge VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors. VAT on food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and attractions has been cut from 20pc to 5pc, a £4bn boost for the industry.
Every Briton will be given an “eat out to help out” discount. Meals eaten at any participating business Monday to Wednesday in the month of August will be 50pc off at up to £10 per head.
The Chancellor announced an emergency stamp duty holiday to help revive the property market. Homebuyers will be temporarily exempt from paying the tax for the first £500,000 of any property price, saving them an average of £4,500 and up to £15,000. The increase in the threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 is effective immediately and will run until the end of March 2021.
Jobs and training
Mr Sunak made protecting workers and creating employment the heart of his mini-Budget with up to £30bn set aside for boosting the jobs market.
The Chancellor will pay businesses a £1,000 job retention bonus for every furloughed worker that is brought back and employed until the end of January 2021. If every furloughed worker returns to work, the policy would cost £9bn, Mr Sunak said. Workers must have been continuously employed and earn an average of more than £520 per month in November, December and January.
Mr Sunak unveiled a new £2bn Kickstart Scheme as a key plank of his “Plan for Jobs”. The fund will create government-subsidised jobs for unemployed young people and employers will be able to offer a six-month placement for people aged between 16-24. The Treasury will cover 100pc of the National Minimum Wage for each young employee for up to 25 hours a week with firms able to top up the worker’s pay.
Some £111m will be invested to triple the number of traineeships with businesses offered a £1,000 per trainee payment. The grant will be capped at 10 jobs per firm.
For the next six months, the Government will pay businesses up to £2,000 for every new apprentice under 25. It will also pay £1,500 for every new apprentice above 25 hired.
Funding for the National Careers Service will be increased by £32m over the next two years while the number of work coaches will be doubled to help unemployed people find jobs.
Greening the recovery
The Chancellor announced a £3bn package of green investment to help create thousands of jobs. Some £1bn has been set aside to help make public sector buildings greener.
Homeowners can benefit from £2bn of grants to pay for “green” upgrades to make their houses more energy efficient. Vouchers worth up to £5,000 will be issued while poorer households could get up to £10,000 to make the upgrades, such as loft and wall insulation. It will provide at least £2 for every £1 homeowners spend on making their properties more energy efficient and the Treasury expects the measure to support more than 100,000 green jobs.
Up to £40m will be provided for a Green Jobs Challenge Fund to create 5,000 jobs at environmental charities and public authorities. Some £100m of new funding has been set aside for direct air capture, a technology that takes carbon dioxide out of the air, while an extra £10m will be given for new electric car development projects.