Chancellor announces ‘plan for jobs’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a raft of new measures to stimulate the UK economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

A headline measure was a new grant scheme to encourage employers to keep on staff they've brought back from furlough.

Firms will be rewarded with £1,000 for each previously furloughed staff member still employed in January 2021.

A separate ‘kickstart' scheme will underwrite the creation of job placements for under-25s struggling to find work.

With an eye to the struggling housing market, Sunak also announced a green homes scheme offering grants of up to £5,000 for the average homeowner who wants to make their property more energy-efficient.

A stamp duty land tax holiday for homebuyers offers another boost to the property sector.

It will apply to transactions completed before 31 March 2021.

A VAT cut for food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and attractions has been introduced to support the 2.4 million people working in hard-hit hospitality and tourism industries.

From now until January 2021, the standard VAT rate for these products and services will be 5% rather than 20%.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"We've always said the Chancellor should take a jobs-first approach and that's exactly what he's done.

"Will this set of measures be enough to spur activity over the coming weeks? That's something that will need to be kept under close review - we may need further action before the autumn."

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