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Chancellor Sunak reveals extra £500m for Welsh Government

FOLLOWING Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £30bn summer statement, it has been revealed that the Welsh Government will get an extra £500m.

The UK government says it has provided Welsh ministers with a total of £2.8bn during the COVID pandemic.

In a Commons statement, the chancellor announced a reduction in VAT for hospitality and tourism from 20% to 5% until January 2021, costing £4bn and a discount of 50% (up to £10 per person) for dining out between Monday and Wednesday in August, costing £500m.

Also, the government will pay firms a £1,000 bonus for every staff member kept on for three months after the furlough scheme ends in October. Estimated to cost up to £9.4bn.

There was a new scheme which will see companies given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 and a new bonus of  £1,500 for apprentices over that age, all to cost £1.6bn. There was also a £2bn “kickstart” package to pay the wages of 16-24-year-olds on universal credit and currently at risk of long-term unemployment. The monies will be available for six months of work covering 25 hours a week on minimum wage.

But a stamp duty holiday on the first £500,000 of all property sales only applies to England and Northern Ireland. It is effective immediately from today (July 8) and will last until 31 March next year. Estimated to cost up to £4bnThe situation relating to Wales and Scotland is not yet clear since stamp duty is a devolved matter.

In Wales, buyers pay Land Transaction Tax and In Scotland, it is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

A £2bn ‘green homes grant” to help make homes more energy-efficient was also confirmed.

The chancellor emphasised that “hardship lies ahead”, but vowed no-one will be left “without hope.”

He rejected calls to extend the furlough scheme beyond October, saying it would give people “false hope” that they will have a job to return to. However, it has been revealed that the Treasury is still working on a separate plan to help the long term unemployed.

Surprise has been expressed that there was no reference to small businesses and help for those living in the rented private housing sector.

The Labour Party’s initial reaction was that the Chancellor has “put off big decisions” and should have announced a “back to work budget”

Paul Davies, the Welsh Conservative leader in the Senedd, said it was an “incredible support package for the people of Wales”.

Plaid Cymru said the UK government did not announce any measures to support the next stage of the pandemic. Ben Lake MP said, “We know that local lockdowns will become the new normal, but we still have no financial measures to support them.”

Pic. Chris McAndrew / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

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