What we can expect from UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak's summer statement
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a range of further measures to tackle the economic downturn following the COVID-19 pandemic in the House of Commons today.
Here are five things to look out for in Number 11’s announcement to lift the UK economy out of its coronavirus-induced slump:
Not a "fiscal event"
First and foremost, there won't be any economic forecasts or details about duties and rates that can usually be found in budgets and Autumn Statements. The Treasury warned that the economic stimulus won't be huge either after think tank The Resolution Foundation suggested in a report that £200 billion (€222 billion) will be needed to secure Britain’s economic recovery.
Focus on how to safeguard jobs
Sunak will likely develop schemes to help boost skills and get youth into work. More than £100 million (€111 million) is to be invested in traineeships and apprenticeships for young people. The number of work coaches at Job Centres are also set to double. It comes as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that the UK's unemployment could rise as high as 11.7 per cent by the end of the year, provided the country avoids a second wave of COVID-19.
Following Boris Johnson's pledge to "build back greener," a £2 billion (€2.2 billion) scheme for home insulation is expected to be unveiled. Public buildings will be granted £1 billion (€1.1 billion) to pay for improvements to their insulation and implement green heating technology to cut emissions and save energy. In a tweet after Johnson's announcement, Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband noted that there will be "nothing for [the] private rented sector."
Polling evidence shows that many people in the UK remain uncomfortable leaving their homes, and therefore spending money on the high street. 61 per cent of Britons feel nervous about using public transport or going to bars and restaurants, according to an Ipsos-MORI survey. The Treasury may be set to announce new incentives like a voucher scheme to kickstart badly hit sectors, including the hospitality and retail sectors.
Stamp duty holiday
An emergency stamp duty holiday will be offered to home buyers with the threshold for the property tax being raised to £500,000 (€555,000). Sunak's temporary tax break will take effect immediately amid fears that waiting to make these changes to stamp duty until autumn will further harm the housing market.