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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Liam Thorp

50% discounts for dining out in August and everything else you need to know from Chancellor's plan

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced billions of pounds worth of plans to try and kickstart the UK's faltering economy - including a surprise meal voucher offer for people.

In a bid to support the hospitality sector, which has been hit so badly by the coronavirus crisis and the lockdown, Mr Sunak has launched a new scheme that will see the government give people a discount on dining out in the month of August.

Other major plans announced today included a bonus scheme for businesses bringing back employees from furlough and cuts to VAT and Stamp Duty.

Here is everything you need to know from today's crucial announcements.

Eat out to help out

This was the surprise announcement from the Chancellor today.

There had been talk of a £500 voucher being provided to all citizens to be spent on the struggling high street, but he went in a different direction.

Mr Sunak closed his speech today by explaining a plan to try and protect jobs and businesses in the badly hit hospitality and tourism sectors.

The plan will mean that for the month of August, people will be able to access up to £10 off meals and non-alcoholic drinks per person in eligible cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Speaking during the mini-Budget, he said everyone will be given an ‘eat out to help out’ discount from Monday to Wednesday to help pump cash back in to the struggling high street.

The maximum discount will be £10 per head.

Furlough business bonus scheme

At the start of his Summer statement today, Mr Sunak spoke about the furlough scheme that has seen the government step in to pay the wages of millions of people under the furlough scheme during the crisis.

But he said the scheme cannot go on forever and will be wound down by October.

But he also announced a new scheme to protect the jobs on furlough and encourage businesses to bring people back.

For every employee brought back to their job from the furlough scheme, the government will pay the business a £1,000 bonus - per employee.

This will only happen if the employee is kept on from October to January and they must be paid at least £520 a month.

Mr Sunak called the scheme a "jobs retention bonus”.

To qualify, employees must be paid at least £520 a month on average in each month from November to January - the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in National Insurance.

If every furloughed job takes advantage of the scheme it will pay out £9bn.

Mr Sunak said: “Our message to business is clear - if you stand by your workers, we will stand by you.”

Coronavirus 'mini budget': The six key announcements

VAT cut and Stamp Duty holiday

In another key move today, the Chancellor announced a cut to VAT and a holiday for Stamp Duty.

In a move to try and kickstart the housing market, Mr Sunak announced that Stamp Duty will be abolished on homes woth up to £500,000 until March 31 next year.

The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500, he said.

He said: "To catalyse the housing market and boost confidence, I have decided today to cut stamp duty. There is no stamp duty on transactions below £125,000.

"Today, I am increasing the threshold to half a million pounds. This will be a temporary cut running until 31st March 2021."

Following this, the Chancellor announced a major cut to VAT for the tourism sector.

He said VAT on food, accommodation and attractions will be cut from 20% to 5% until January.

He said this is a £4 billion catalyst for the hospitality and tourism sectors.

£2 billion young jobs kick-starter fund

The Chancellor made a big point of focusing on young people and their job prospects today.

In a major announcement, he launched a £2bn kickstart fund for getting young people into work.

The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

The chancellor says the "kickstart" plan is aimed at preventing an entire generation being "left behind".

£3 billion green homes package

Another significant intervention from the Chancellor today focused on making people's homes greener.

Homeowners in England will receive vouchers worth up to £5,000 to make energy-saving improvements to their properties.

The Green Homes Grant scheme will see households receive vouchers worth up to £5,000 to use on environmentally-friendly additions such as insulation, low-energy lighting, double glazing and energy-efficient doors.

The grants could go up to as much as £10,000 for the lowest income households.

The programme could save families up to £600 a year on energy bills, according to Treasury estimates.

Mr Sunak’s announcement will also include a £1bn programme to transform schools, hospitals and other public buildings so they are greener and more energy efficient.

Funding boost for the Department of Work and Pensions

With the country heading to a worrying position of mass unemployment, Mr Sunak today announced major funding for the Department of Work and Pensions.

He said he would provide a further £1.2 billion to try and help the Department to get people back into work - including the hiring of many more work coaches.

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