COVID-19: This week's announcements
There have been a series of announcements made this week that will have an impact on businesses, jobs and the local economy. We've put together a summary of these below:
Further businesses allowed to reopen
Beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas across England will be able to reopen safely from Monday 13 July under new government plans. However the government has stated, only services that do not involve work in the highest risk zone – directly in front of the face – should be made available to clients. This means that treatments such as face waxing, eyelash treatments, make-up application and facial treatments, should not be provided until government advice changes, due to the much greater risk of transmission.
Job retention bonus
Employers will receive £1,000 for every furloughed employee that they bring back to work until at least January. The workers must be paid at least £520 each month on average. If all furloughed employees were brought back this way, the scheme would cost £9bn.
For a six-month period, the government is offering to pay wages and overhead costs when employers give new jobs to 16- to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment. They must be paid at least the minimum wage and work minimum 25 hours a week. There will be no cap on the number of places. £2bn is being made available to start off.
The government will offer £2,000 to employers for every under-25 apprentice they hire, and £1,500 for every 25+ apprentice from August 1st to January 31st. (This is additional to the existing £1,000 payment for 16- to 18-year-old apprentices.)
Green homes grant
From September, home owners and landlords can apply for vouchers to boost energy efficiency, up to £5,000 per household (and up to £10,000 per low-income household). Worth £2bn.
Temporary stamp duty cut
The current threshold for stamp duty is £125,000 (but £500,000 for first-time buyers). It will now be increased to £500,000 for everyone. This takes effect immediately, and until March 31st.
VAT cut for hospitality and tourism
From July 15th to January 12th, VAT will be reduced to 5% on food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar across the UK, and on supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions.
‘Eat Out to Help Out'
Throughout August, between Monday and Wednesday each week, everyone will be given a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on meals at participating food establishments. Businesses will need to register on a website, which will be up on Monday.