Rishi Sunak has pledged to ‘protect, support and create jobs’ by revealing a new package designed to kickstart the UK economy, as part of his ‘mini-budget’ 2020.
VAT cuts are to be introduced for the hospitality industry, a stamp duty holiday is designed to make buying homes more affordable, and restaurant discounts are in the pipeline for all of us.
Until March 21, 2021, homebuyers will be temporarily exempt from paying stamp duty tax for the first £500,000 of any property price, an increase from the previous threshold at £125,000. The Chancellor is also considering removing stamp duty on vacant land, to promote the building of new houses.
While the housing sector needs all the support it can get, a huge emphasis has been placed on jobs and training opportunities with measures being rolled out to protect workers, create employment, and support job retention. A new £2bn Kickstart Scheme plans to play an integral part in Chancellor Sunak’s ‘Plan for Jobs’, boosting the struggling job market and offering a lifeline to the young people of today to avoid ‘a generation left behind’.
The Chancellor has also announced all businesses will receive a £1,000 job retention bonus for every furloughed worker that is brought back and employed until the end of January 2021, which could cost the country a total of £9 billion. Traineeships and apprenticeships are another area of focus as £11m will be invested to triple the number of traineeships, with businesses offered £1,000 per trainee. Over the next six months, the Government will reward each business £2,000 for each new apprentice hired under 25, and for over 25s they will receive £1,500.
While creating jobs and improving the housing market are essential to boosting the economy, there is also huge importance placed on creating a green, sustainable future. A £3bn package of green investment is designed to create thousands of jobs with a portion of £1bn set aside to help make public sectors greener. In the private sector, homeowners can benefit from £2bn for ‘green’ upgrades to boost the energy efficiency of their property.
Sean Keyes, Sutcliffe Managing Director, provided comment on the recent pledges that seek to provide economic recovery:
“The impetus of today’s announcement by the Chancellor appears to be on the future of our young people, and this is exactly right – training and nurturing future talent is key in the economy’s post-Covid recovery. As a direct result of today’s announcement, Sutcliffe will be able to take on one or two more apprentices each year, which is fantastic. This will ensure young talent is harnessed and moulded ready for long-term, sustainable work in the industry.
“I am buoyed by the Government’s £3bn green pledge – the environment is moving up the agenda and finally being taken more seriously by those in power. Saving energy is so important and the UK must become a leader in this if we are to avoid the threat of a future environmental disaster – the impact and disruption that Covid-19 has had on all our lives demonstrates how we cannot take this for granted. Sutcliffe already does a lot of work in this arena – we are currently implementing a new mechanical & electrical installation in tower blocks in Halewood to ensure they become low energy efficient – so today’s announcement should be good for business, not to mention the global environment.
“Likewise, as experts in the housing sector, we welcome the Stamp Duty holiday – anything to encourage more people to buy houses is a great move by the Government and fantastic news for the construction industry across the board, including ourselves right through the chain to the conveyancing solicitors, the furniture makers, the removals etc. The announcement that the Affordable Homes Programme will be extended will also provide security for our business as 50% of what we currently do is in this sector.”