Recovery has been touted as being high on the agenda. Following the first round of unprecedented support for jobs and the economy from the government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, unveiled his plans for the U.K.’s second phase of recovery.
As a fan of Crystal Palace FC, recent reports on Britain bouncing back, reminds me of the 2003/4 season when manager of the day, Iain Dowie, commented on his team’s “bouncebackability” when discussing their resilience in the wake of avoiding relegation and then going on to win promotion to the Premier League in the play-offs.
There have been different projections as to the shape of the U.K.’s recovery, and our own “bouncebackability”, most hoping for a ‘V’ shape, but only time will tell.
The first stage has already pumped in £160 billion to the economy, which includes £49 billion for vital services including the NHS, paying the wages of nearly 12 million people and supporting more than 1 million businesses with grants, loans and rate cuts, as identified in our previous blog Coronavirus: the story so far.
In an amazing and historic move, the second stage of recovery focuses on skills and young people, creation of jobs, investment in infrastructure, protection of existing jobs in hospitality by reducing VAT by 15% and an Eat Out to Help Out campaign offering discounts to diners.
Some of the details are listed below:
- There will be a JRS bonus. U.K. employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
- A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for 16-24 year olds across the country.
- A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.
- Bringing forward £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation, and maintenance projects.
- £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building.
- To boost demand in the hard-hit sector of hospitality, a new Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants, and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
- The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%.
- To support jobs and growth in the housebuilding and property sectors there is a temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 until 31 March 2021.
More information can be found on the government website.
For one, I look forward to the details being fleshed out over the coming days and weeks but I can see green shoots of recovery, and with sadness aside for what has passed and continues to impact our daily lives, the future is looking much, much brighter.