Apprenticeships, infrastructure spending, stamp duty holidays and support for the green agenda are all measures which are helpful to our sector. The issue is that they are long-term solutions for short-term challenges, and time is against us as we face what could be the worst recession in living memory. The Chancellor offered a holding statement today. In a wider context, we need streamlined procurement processes for government-funded schemes, new fast-track planning and an imaginative solution to allow us to employ skilled workers from the EU. Richard Steer, Chairman, Gleeds
Up to £9.4bn for Job Retention Bonus
A Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 per person was announced for businesses who bring back staff who are furloughed and continuously employ them through to January, paying them at least £520/month from November. This measure could cost up to £9,4bn but it is being questioned whether the amount is sufficient for a struggling business or whether it will be a bonus for businesses already planning to bring back staff as businesses will weigh up the costs of wages from the easing of the furlough scheme against the bonus amount.
£3.7bn scheme for supporting jobs
The Kickstart scheme was announced which sees the government subsidise wages for under-25s who would otherwise be on universal credit for up to six months – equates to £6,500 per person on the scheme and there is no limit to the number of places. Payments of £1,000 for businesses to take on trainees and £2,000 for apprentices were also announced. Funding was also announced for Level 2 and 3 courses, careers advisers and for the Department of Work and Pensions to help job seekers.
VAT cut from 20% to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions and Eat Out to Help Out scheme
The Government hopes that reducing VAT for many in the hospitality industry and the “Eat Out to Help Out”, offering customers as discount worth up to £10 per head when they eat out from Monday to Wednesday in August, will encourage people to support the struggling tourism and hospitality sectors and will reduce job losses.
Public sector and social housing decarbonisation (£1.1bn) and Green Homes Grant (£2bn)
The Chancellor announced a £3bn green investment recovery package to decarbonise public buildings and cut emissions from poorly insulated homes. Under the Green Homes Grant, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy-efficient – vouchers will typically cover at least two-thirds of the cost, up to £5,000 per household. £1.1bn of funding has been announced to improve the energy efficiency of public sector buildings.
The Chancellor said he expects 650,000 homes to be upgraded and 140,000 green jobs to be created with the funding.
Stamp Duty Land Tax Temporary cut – threshold raised to £500,000
It is expected that the Stamp Duty cut will support the housing market and prop up house prices. Shares in Persimmon and Barratt Development have gained 1% since the announcement as it is anticipated there will be a pickup in housing demand until March when the arrangement ends.
With the £5bn infrastructure package announced last week, the total estimate of support announced is up to £30bn. The outlook for construction is tied to macroeconomics and the Government has set out these measures in an effort to prevent a severe and prolonged recession and high levels of unemployment.
Some are anticipating that further stimulus measures will be required ahead of the autumn budget.