The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak delivered his Summer Statement on Wednesday 8th July. Usually this would be a prelude of things to come in the full budget in the Autumn, however due to the covid-19 epidemic, his summer statement reads more like a mini budget with many announcements falling in to place immediately.
As expected, his statement focused on job retention and kick-starting the economy again. Significant headlines include a temporary reduction in VAT for the hospitality and tourism sector, as well as a temporary reduction on Stamp Duty to aid the property market.
Whilst there is likely to be further detail to be announced, we can at least look at the headline measures:
There is to be an immediate freeze on Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), up from £125,000 to £500,000 that will run up to 31st March 2021. Prior to this, SDLT was charged on properties costing £125,000 or more, with the exception of first time buyers, who paid nothing up to £300,000 and a reduced rate up to £500,000.
The new rules will mean first time buyers will have a tax cut on property valued over £300,000, with other buyers receiving a cut for any property valued at over £125,000. The average saving projection on SDLT is likely to be around £4,500 in England and Northern Ireland, but different rules apply to Scotland and Wales.
There are also different rules for people buying second homes, who will still have to pay 3% SDLT on property purchases up to £500,000. Our Residential Mortgages team can advise further.
VAT is to reduce from 20% to 5% from 15th July 2020 until 12th January 2021 in the hospitality and tourism sectors (such as food outlets, pubs, attractions and accommodation) in a bid to boost public spending to help businesses who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The Kickstart Scheme will subsidise six-month work placements for young people currently claiming Universal Credit and facing long-term unemployment. The scheme has been designed to encourage businesses to employ young people (aged between 16 and 24) with newly created jobs of at least 25 hours per week, that pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW),
Government funding will cover 100% of the NMW up to 25 hours per week, with employers throughout the UK able to top up wages for anything above.
£2 billion has been made available, and there is no limit on the amount of jobs that can be created.
£111 million will also be pumped into trainee schemes for 18 to 24 year olds, giving companies in England a £1,000 bonus per trainee (again subject to NMW rules and a minimum of 25 hours per week.)
In addition to the £1,000 trainee bonus, companies will also be able to claim £2,000 if they take on an apprentice, and £1,500 for hiring an apprentice if they are aged over 25.
Job Retention Bonus
The government will pay a £1,000 bonus to businesses for each employee they bring back from furlough, who is continuously employed through to January 2021.
To comply with this, employees must be ‘gainfully’ employed during this period, and be paid a minimum of £520 per month between November 2020 and January 2021.
A £3 billion green package has been put together, with grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 available to homeowners and public buildings to improve energy efficiency. The grants will cover a minimum of two-thirds of the cost up to £5,000, with low income households being able to claim 100% of costs up to £10,000.
The scheme is designed to increase spending in the sector, resulting in more demand leading to the creation of new jobs.
Eat Out to Help Out
During August 2020, meals eaten out at any participating food outlet on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday will be discounted up to 50% (with a maximum discount of £10 per head including children). The discount is only available on food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Businesses who want to be part of the scheme need to register via a new government website from Monday 13th July 2020, with money being able to be claimed back on a weekly basis within 5 working days.
The full statement from the Chancellor can be accessed here, and we will continue to provide updates as further announcements are made. If you need to speak to one of our Chartered Accountants in the meantime, please contact your local office or email [email protected]