Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ to recover from coronavirus

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has warmly welcomed the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update in Parliament. The Chancellor announced his ‘Plan for Jobs’ and new multi-billion-pound package of measures to give businesses confidence to retain and hire as they recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This is in addition to the £160 billion existing support package, which included £49 billion of extra funding for public services such as the NHS and paying the wages of nearly 12 million people.

Plan for Jobs:

  • Job Retention Bonus will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers. UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
  • £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create new jobs for those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.
  • £1.6 billion boost to support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. This includes £2,000 for each new apprentice businesses hire under the age of 25.
  • £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. This includes a £3 billion green investment package that could help support around 140,000 green jobs and upgrade buildings and reduce emissions. Homeowners and landlords in England will be able to apply for vouchers to pay for green improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation.

Tourism, hospitality and moving house:

The Chancellor also announced measures to boost the tourism and hospitality sectors who have been severely impacted by the pandemic, as well as plans to encourage people to buy, to sell, to renovate, and to improve their homes:

  • Government funded 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday throughout August 2020.
  • VAT will be cut from 20% to 5% on most tourism and hospitality-related activities.
  • Stamp Duty reduced to zero for properties up to £500,000 until 31 March 2021.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Throughout this crisis I have never been the prisoner of ideology. For me, this has never just been a question of economics, but of values.

“We believe in the nobility of work. We believe in the inspiring power of opportunity. We believe in the British people’s fortitude and endurance.

“Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”

Stephen Metcalfe said: “Our national response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) has saved lives. But we must not allow the greatest public health crisis for a generation to become the worse economic crisis in history.

“I welcome this new generous package of measures from the Chancellor today as I know it will have a significant impact on protecting jobs as the Job Retention Scheme winds down this Autumn.

“This is especially true for our young people. Whilst least medically vulnerable to this virus, they potentially stand to lose the most in lost economic opportunity. As a champion of apprenticeships and training, I am delighted at the £3.6 billion package of measures aimed at boosting the job prospects of young people.

“The Prime Minister has proven he is committed to using the full power of the state to overcome this challenge and with debt interest costs at a 320-year low this is the correct approach in these unprecedented times”.