UK announces new measures to support jobs, spur recovery

London, July 9 (IANS) The UK government has announced a package of fresh measures to support jobs and boost economy as part of a comprehensive plan to secure the country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

As the second part of a three-phase plan, the measures are designed to support jobs by focussing on skills and young people, create jobs with investment in shovel-ready projects and greening our infrastructure, and protect jobs through a VAT cut for the hospitality sector and a landmark ‘Eat Out to Help Out' discount scheme for diners, the Treasury said on Wednesday.

“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,” Xinhua news agency quoted Chancellor Rishi Sunak as saying.

As part of the plan to support jobs, employers will receive “a one-off bonus of 1,000 pounds ($1,259) for each furloughed employee” who is still employed as of January 31, 2021, said the Treasury.

Meanwhile, dubbed “Kickstart Scheme”, a new 2 billion pound package will be launched to create hundreds of thousands of “new, fully subsidized jobs for young people” across the country, it added.

“Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit (a benefit payment for people in or out of work) and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible,” said the Treasury, as businesses will be given 2,000 pounds for “each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25”.

Meanwhile, the plan will also create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on 8.8 billion pounds of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.

To boost tourism and hospitality sectors severely impacted by the pandemic, the government will also cut the rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, said the Treasury.

In addition, to encourage people to safely return to restaurants, the government's new ‘Eat Out to Help Out' discount scheme will provide a 50 per cent reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.

According to the Chancellor, the third phase will focus on “rebuilding”, with a Budget and Spending Review in the autumn.

The first 160 billion pound package, included 49 billion pounds of extra funding for the country's vital public services like the National Health Service (NHS), paying the wages of nearly 12 million people and supporting over a million businesses through grants, loans and rates cuts.



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