In yesterday’s Summer Economic Update, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed that the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme would wind down flexibly and gradually, ending in October 2020. He also announced a range of measures aimed at supporting, protecting and creating jobs. Further details will emerge but in summary:
Jobs Retention Bonus – The government will introduce a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 a month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July.
Eat Out to Help Out – The Chancellor announced the introduction of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out scheme’ to encourage people to return to eating out. This will entitle every diner to a 50 per cent discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishment. The discount can be used unlimited times and will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal (including on non-alcoholic drinks) for the entire month of August 2020 across the UK. Participating establishments will be fully reimbursed for the 50 per cent discount.
Temporary VAT cut for food and non-alcoholic drinks – From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, the reduced (5 per cent) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK.
Temporary VAT cut for accommodation and attractions – From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, the reduced (5 per cent) rate of VAT will apply to accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK.
Payments for employers who hire new apprentices – The government will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. These payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan – where that applies.
Kickstart Scheme – A new ‘Kickstart Scheme’ will be introduced – a £2 billion fund to create six-month work placements aimed at those aged between 16 and 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
High quality traineeships for young people – An additional £111 million will be provided this year for traineeships in England, to fund high quality work placements and training for 16-24-year olds. The government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee. The government will improve provision and expand eligibility for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below.