Eating out and stamp duty: Six main announcements from Rishi Sunak's coronavirus budget

Today Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £30 billion mini-budget he said was designed to get the country through the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Lloyd Bent
Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 2:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 2:28 pm

The budget includes new schemes focused on ensuring people can return to work and businesses can survive and pay wages again as furloughed employees return to work.

These include Government-funded discount on eating out, bonuses for employers bringing staff back to work, changes to VAT and stamp duty and funding for apprenticeships.

Reactio to the Chancellor’s announcements have been mixed.

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Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivers a summer economic update in a statement to the House of Commons, London. PA Photo: House of Commons/PA Wire

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, said the Chancellor was right to prioritise jobs, adding: "Flattening the daunting unemployment curve about to hit our country could not be more important.

“Today’s jobs plan is an important step forward.”

But Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Whilst the majority of small businesses have been supported by the Chancellor's emergency measures, some have not.

"We need the Government to spell out how it will help the newly self-employed and company directors who have once again been overlooked this afternoon, and have now been left without help for more than 100 days during this incredibly difficult period."

Here are the key points from the budget:

Jobs Retention Bonus

The Chancellor stuck firm to the October deadline for the job retention furlough scheme to end but said it would be replaced with a new Jobs Retention Bonus.

Employers who bring back furloughed staff and continuously employ them through to January we be paid a £1,000 bonus per employee as long as they are paid at least £520 on average a month.

Apprenticeships

Mr Sunak said employers will be paid £1,000 to take on trainees and up to £2,000 to hire young apprentices.

He also outlined a kickstart scheme which will directly pay employers to create "decent" new jobs for any 16 to 24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment.

Mr Sunak said employers will need to provide training and support to find a permanent job and in return the Government will pay the young people's wages for six months.

Green deal

The Chancellor confirmed a £2 billion "green homes grant" to help homeowners and landlords with vouchers to make their properties more energy efficient.

‘Dosh for nosh’

Mr Sunak announced an 'Eat Out to Help Out' discount among measures to get customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs.

Meals eaten at any participating business from Monday to Wednesday during August will be 50% cheaper, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone. Businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.

VAT cut for hospitality industry

Mr Sunak announced a VAT cut on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% from July 15 to January 12.

Stamp duty slashed

The Chancellor confirmed that stamp duty was being abolished on transactions below £500,000 until March 31, 2021 - effective immediately.

He said the average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500 as a result and nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year will pay none at all.