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Gloucestershire Business News

Chancellor unveils package to "support, create and protect" jobs

A jobs retention bonus, kickstart scheme to create work for young people, £2,000 for businesses offering new apprenticeships, a temporary rise in the Stamp Duty threshold and a cut in VAT for hospitality and tourism were among the key points in the Chancellor's economic statement.

Chancellor RIshi Sunak unveiled his plan which he said was worth up to £30billion to "support, create and protect jobs" after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "We face profound economic challenges. More hardships lie ahead... I will never accept unemployment as an unavoidable outcome.

"People need to know, we will do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work. Nobody will be left without hope.

"Where problems emerge, we will confront them. Where support is justified, we will provide it. Where challenges arise, we will overcome them"

"We will not be defined by this crisis but by our response to it."

The Chancellor said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which saw the Government pay up to 80 per cent of wages, must be brought to a conclusion.

"Furlough has been a lifeline for millions but it cannot and should not go on forever," he said.

He announced a new Job Retention Bonus which will pay employers £1,000 for each worker they bring back from furlough and employ until January.

"The employee must be paid £520 a month each month through to January," he said.

"This would be a £9billion policy to retain people in work. If you stand by your workers we will stand by you."

He also announced an initial £2billion kickstart scheme to subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged 16-24, saying: "We cannot lose this generation."

He said: "These will be decent jobs - with a minimum of 25 hours per week paid at least the National Minimum Wage."

Businesses will also be paid to hire young apprentices with further investment in job centres to help and support people get back to work.

"We'll pay businesses to hire young apprentices, with a new payment of £2,000," he said.

"And we'll introduce a brand-new bonus for businesses to hire apprentices aged 25 and over, with a payment of £1,500."

He plans to double the number of work coaches in Job Centres amid scheme to support the long-term unemployed with more than £1billion for the Department for Work and Pensions to help encourage people on Universal Credit going back to work.

As previously trailed, the Chancellor announced vouchers worth up to £5,000 per household for home improvements to make homes more energy efficient.

"For low income households, we'll go even further with vouchers covering the full cost - up to £10,000," he said.

The threshold on Stamp Duty has immediately risen from £125,000 to £500,000 which will remain in place until March 31.

He said: "The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500. And nearly nine out of ten people buying a main home this year, will pay no stamp duty at all."

The Chancellor stressed the importance of getting the hospitality and tourism sectors back in business, cutting the rate of VAT for the industries.

He said: "Eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos.

"All these and more will see VAT reduced, from next Wednesday until January 12, from 20 per cent to five per cent."

And he introduced an "eat out to help out discount" in August with vouchers for everyone to eat at participating business from Monday to Wednesday with up to 50 per cent off, to a maximum discount of £10 per head, which businesses can then claim back.

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