The summer statement is chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plan for restarting the British economy following months of stagnation due to coronavirus. It has been a tough time for many, and the measures that he’s set out are designed to help struggling families and businesses get back on their feet. Let’s take a look at some of the announcements that are likely to have the biggest impact on household finances over the coming weeks and months.
Help for home buyers
Buying a new home was not easy during lockdown, and the market has taken a dramatic downturn. The government’s solution to try and get things moving again has been to change the threshold for stamp duty payments: typically paid on any property over £125,000 in value, that will now rise to £500,000, effective until 31 March next year. This won’t apply to those buying a second home
The average saving for buyers will be around £4,500 – a significant saving which could be used to help pay for other fees, to fund home improvements or to put back into savings. From September, the government will also be contributing to the costs of any home improvements that help to make your home more energy efficient with the ‘Green Homes Grant’. Most households will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000, although those on lower incomes may qualify for as much as £10,000.
Protection for jobs
A range of different measures were announced to help businesses create and protect jobs, all of which will be great news for employees. If you have been furloughed by your employer, then you’ll know that the furlough scheme is coming to an end later this year. In its place will be the Job Retention Bonus: a £1,000 one-off payment paid to your employer if they keep your job safe until January next year.
For those who are under 25 and currently unemployed, there were important announcements made about boosting apprenticeships and helping to fund jobs for young universal credit claimants. The Kickstart jobs scheme is particularly exciting, as it is designed to help create job opportunities by subsidising the first six-months of work for employees who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
“Eat out to help out”
There is also good news for those who just want to go out and have a good time this summer. The “eat out to help out” scheme has been designed to help hospitality businesses attract more customers throughout August, with participating restaurants, pubs and cafes all offering 50% discounts – up to £10 per person – Monday to Wednesday.
There is also a VAT cut, from 20% to 5%, for a range of different businesses in the hospitality industry. This will hopefully translate into price cuts if you decide to go out to eat, stay at a hotel or visit a local attraction = although there is no guarantee that struggling businesses will choose to pass the price cut on to their customers.