There were no great surprises in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s second budget. Constrained by a government pledge not to increase National Insurance, Income Tax or VAT, he decided to introduce a raft of measures intended to both stimulate demand and protect the labour market.
We examine the key measures below:
Temporary SDLT relief for house buyers
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will be subject to a temporary relief measure. The Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT, in England and Northern Ireland, from £125,000 to £500,000. This will apply from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021,
The rate you’ll pay varies based on the property price and type. Under the current system in England and Northern Ireland (where the changes apply), if you’re buying a property as your main residence you’ll pay:
- Nothing on properties purchased for up to £125,000
- 2% on the portion of a property between £125,001 and £250,000
- 5% on the portion between £250,001 and £925,000
- 10% on the portion between £925,001 and £1,500,000
- 12% on the portion costing more than £1,500,001
If you’re a first-time buyer in England or Northern Ireland buying a property for up to £500,000, you already don’t pay stamp duty on the first £300,000 and pay 5% on any portion between £300,001 and £500,000 (if your property’s worth more, the normal rules apply).
But for now, no one will pay stamp duty when buying a main home worth up to £500,000. However, all purchasers will see a reduction in SDLT
For properties costing more than £500,000, the stamp duty bands are unchanged – so if you bought a £600,000 property for example, you’d only pay £5,000 stamp duty (5% of the £100,000 above the threshold).
The 3% levy paid if you already own a home and are buying an additional property worth more than £40,000 still applies (though you’ll still pay less than you would due to the raised threshold).
Green Homes Grant
The government will introduce a £2 billion Green Homes Grant, providing at least £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household. This is not income related, so all households can benefit.
For those on the lowest incomes, the scheme will fully fund energy efficiency measures of up to £10,000 per household. The government have yet to define the threshold for a ‘low income household’
Temporary VAT rate reductions
As part of a raft of measures to support the failing hospitality and gastronomic sectors, the Chancellor has introduced a reduced 5% rate of VAT on a time limited basis.
Accommodation and attractions
From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, to support businesses and jobs, the reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK.
Food and non-alcoholic drinks
From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector, the reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK.
Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
This scheme to encourage people to return to eating out. This will entitle every diner to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishment. The discount can be used unlimited times and will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal (including on non-alcoholic drinks) for the entire month of August 2020 across the UK. This discount will apply even in conjunction with other vouchers. The Government discount will be applied after the other vouchers– so if a customer uses a restaurant voucher, they will get a 50% discount on the already-discounted price.
Participating establishments will be fully reimbursed for the 50% discount within a few days by direct bank transfer.
Job Retention Bonus
A one-off payment of £1,000 will be made to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at the end of October 2020 and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021.
This bonus will be available to any employer who has furloughed an employee, even if just for the minimum three week period.
The scheme will pay to create jobs for any 16-to-24-year old on Universal Credit and “at risk of long-term unemployment” and will be open to employers of any size.
The jobs must be “decent jobs” granting employees a minimum of 25 hours of work per week, paid at the National Minimum Wage, set at £4.55 for those aged under 18, £6.45 for those aged between 18 to 20, and £8.20 for those aged between 21 and 24. The government will also pay employer overhead costs, expected to include auto-enrolment pension contributions and employer NICs. The costs will be met by the government for six months.
Employers will be able to apply from next month, with the first Kickstarters in jobs in the autumn.
Additional Funding for Apprenticeships
The government will pay employers to create new apprenticeships, with a grant of £2,000 per apprentice hired. There is a new bonus payment of £1,500 for hiring those aged over 25. These payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 payment that the government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices.
Funding for new trainees
For the first time ever, the government will pay employers £1,000 to take on new trainees, with the aim of tripling the number of level 2 and level 3 courses.
As part of a traineeship, which lasts from six weeks to six months, young people receive maths, English and CV-writing training, as well as guidance about what to expect in the workplace. They also receive a high-quality work placement of 60-90 hours.
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