Last week, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out his Plan for Jobs – the Government’s latest package of support worth £30 billion.
After making my representations to the Treasury on behalf of businesses and workers in the Forest of Dean, I am pleased to see this package of support announced, with measures to especially help the hospitality and tourism sector that is a key part of the Forest of Dean’s economy.
To encourage employers to keep their employees on, the Government is introducing a Bonus Scheme, a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers for every employee who was furloughed previously and who is successfully kept on continuously until January.
From 15 July 2020, the Government will cut the rate of VAT applied across the UK to hospitality, accommodation and attractions from 20 per cent to 5 per cent until 12 January 2021 - giving a much-needed boost to some of the industries hardest hit by coronavirus.
The Government is also getting people back into restaurants, cafes and pubs with its Eat Out scheme. Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday in August, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head.
To help young people find work, the Government has announced a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme. This scheme will directly pay businesses to create new, decent and high-quality jobs for any 16-24 year old at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week for six months, plus an admin fee.
The Government will also pay £2,000 to any employer who takes on an apprentice aged under 25, and £1,500 for any apprentice aged 25 and over.
Over the past few weeks, I have visited recently reopened retail businesses in Cinderford, Newent, Coleford and Lydney, where some of the on-street parking has been suspended by the District Council.
I know some residents and retailers are concerned about this, and I have communicated those concerns to the District Council. I continue to be in touch with the District Council about this matter, and I know they are looking into the issue and taking in feedback from residents and retailers.