Half your meal's on us, says Chancellor

By Barrie Hudson - 8 July 2020

GeneralPoliticsBusinessFood & Drink

A national half-price meal deal is among new measures to boost the economy in the wake of COVID-19.

  • The Chancellor aims to kick-start the economy

    The Chancellor aims to kick-start the economy

In his much-anticipated statement to the Commons, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a multi-billion pound plan.
Acknowledging the suffering of the hospitality industry, he said: "This moment is unique. We need to be creative.
"So, to get customers back to restaurants, cafes and pubs, and to protect the 1.8 million people who work in them, I can announce today that for the month of August we will give everyone in the country an Eat Out to Help Out Discount.
"Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50 percent off up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone including children.
"Businesses will need to register through a simple website opened next Monday.
"Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days."
In addition, VAT on hospitality, tourism, food, accommodation and attractions such as cinemas will be cut from next Wednesday until January 12 from 20 percent to five percent. 
There was good news for homebuyers, with the threshold below which Stamp Duty is not paid increased from £125,000 to £500,000 until March 31 next year.
The average Stamp Duty bill, said the Chancellor, would fall by £4,500, and nearly 90 percent of people buying a new home will pay none at all.
The plan features measures Mr Sunak said were intended to get people back to work and support business.
These include:
- Furlough to wind down gradually through to October
- An employer bringing a furloughed worker back and employing them until January will receive a £1,000 bonus per employee - provided the employee is paid at least £520 per month on average
- A new programme, the Kick Start scheme, will aim to help young people find work. Employers will be paid to create jobs for people aged 16 to 24 who are at risk of long term unemployment, and jobs must consist of at least 25 hours of work per week and pay at least the minimum wage. In return, the Government will pay wages for six months plus overheads
- Employers will be paid £1,000 to take on trainees and more places will be available
- There will be more careers advisers
- Places at sector-based work academies, which provide training, placements and guaranteed job interviews in high-demand sectors, will be tripled   
- For the next six months, employers will be paid to create new apprenticeships, and bonuses will be available according to apprentices' ages
- The number of Job Centre work coaches will be doubled as part of an extra £1bn for the DWP
- Investment in infrastructure across the UK to create better roads, schools and high streets, creating jobs in the process
- A green jobs plan to cut carbon emissions while boosting the economy
- A £50m fund to de-carbonise social housing
Mr Sunak concluded his announcement by saying: "Governments, much less people, rarely get to choose the moments that define them. What choice there is comes in how we respond.
"For me, this has never just been a question of economics, but of values.
"I believe in the nobility of work, I believe in the inspiring power of opportunity, I believe in the British people's fortitude and endurance."

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