The UK Government has brought a series of measures for pushing life towards normalcy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown. The United Kingdom faced a brutal time during the last few months due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Brits are still witnessing a chain of adverse reactions as almost every walk of our life got affected. Business entities lost their revenue, and many had to shut down. As a result, many employees got retrenched. The UK Government has so far initiated various schemes to enable the individuals and entities to thrive and derive their essentialities amidst the Pandemic Crisis.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Rishi Sunak, has now initiated some more essential steps to provide aid to the British Citizens with a COVID-19 Mini Budget. The measures under the COVID-19 Mini Budget will cost around £30 Billion. Mr. Sunak has brought different tax reliefs and support plans to help people get back on their feet during the post-lockdown restoration process in the UK. Here are all the updates and programs you must comprehend.
- Launch of the Kickstart Scheme
Perhaps the most significant measure in the bunch of programs is the massive $2 Billion Kickstart Scheme. Under the scheme, there are thousands of government-funded jobs for young job seekers aged 16 to 24 years. These job seekers should be under the Universal Credit scheme and are at risk of prolonged unemployment. The Universal Credit Scheme covers more than 3 million people.
The Kickstart scheme is a fully government-funded scheme where the state shall provide the employees’ national minimum wages worth £ 6500 for 25 hours per week. It is open for all Employers in the UK. All participating Employers have to offer training and support to the applicant employees. It is essential to enhance the prospects for workers to obtain permanent job positions. They can also top up the minimum wages of the workers. Once Employers comply with the stated conditions, the Government will provide 6-months wages, including payments for necessary overheads of all eligible employees.
Applications for the scheme will open next month. There is currently no cap on the number of people who can send their applications.
- Much-needed VAT Cuts on a Temporary Basis
The state has also called for a temporary cut on VAT rates for specific business areas. The Hospitality and Tourism sector stands as one of the worst impacted industries worldwide. The VAT cuts on Accommodation, Food, and other Attractions, which fall under the Hospitality and Tourism segment, provide a much-needed respite. The rate decrease is from 20 Percent to 5 Percent for a period lasting from July 15, 2020, to January 12, 2021.
- Job Retention Bonus scheme for retention of Furloughed Employees
Mr. Sunak has also initiated a Job Retention Bonus Plan for Employers to encourage them to retain Furloughed Employees. Under the scheme, Employers will receive a £1000 bonus which is payable in January 2021. The Employers will be eligible to receive this retention bonus subject to the condition that they keep the furloughed staff employed till the end of January 2021. There is also a requirement to pay each Employee a minimum of £520 per month throughout the 3 month-tenure.
Employers will also need to keep other obligations in mind. In the remaining part of 2020, they will have to start expending 5 Percent of the Wage Costs from August, 14 Percent from September, and 20 percent from October. At the same time, entities need to pay 100 percent of the wage cost for the term of November 2020 to January 2021. Employers should weigh the Pros and Cons before opting for this scheme, keeping in mind their ability to pay the required wage cost.
- Benefits under the Green Homes Grant Scheme
With this scheme, homeowners and landlords in the UK will receive stipulated vouchers to make their house properties energy efficient and promote local employment. Under the Grant Scheme worth £2 Billion, people will receive about two-thirds of the project cost up to a limit of £5000 per household. The Low-Income Households will get a maximum of £10,000.
The Upgradation Projects will involve adding power-saving features in the homes like Double Glazing and Better Roof and Wall Insulations. A total state funding of £1 billion will hopefully enhance the status of energy efficiency of public sector buildings in the UK. This scheme is also being called as a £3 Billion Green Jobs plan to save money. It will help in lowering the Carbon Footprint of the UK.
- Stamp Duty Payment Holiday
Another support measure is the transitional holiday on Stamp Duty payment. There will be no requirement to pay stamp duty on the first £ 500,000 of all property sale value in England and Northern Ireland. This benefit will be available until March 31, 2021. This Duty Exemption will cost about £ 3.8 Billion to the Government.
- Discounted Meals in Restaurants
Apart from VAT cuts in the Food and Hospitality sector, the Government with the motive to provide backing to restaurants and eateries has called for another additional measure. The Participating Restaurant Business under the scheme can offer a 50 Percent discount on food with a limit of £10 for every customer. The scheme will be available from August 2020 from Monday to Wednesday in a week. Claims of the Restaurants will be allowed through a separate website.
- Support Measure introduced for promoting Apprenticeships and Training Programs
The Chancellor has also rolled out a plan for helping Trainees and Apprentices. The Government under the scheme will provide employers £1000 each to engage Trainees. On the other hand, it will pay £2000 each for hiring Apprentices under the age of 25. For Employers with Apprentices over 25 years of age, Employers will pay a sum of £1500 instead.
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