Almost four months after the Spring Budget and the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the Chancellor has had to return to parliament with a new round of spending measures:
■ A temporary stamp duty cut The nil rate band for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on residential property in England and Northern Ireland was increased from £125,000 to £500,000 with immediate effect until the end of March 2021. Scotland and Wales both followed suit, raising the nil rate bands on their land taxes to £250,000, but in Wales the increase does not apply to buyers of second homes, buy to let, etc.
■ Green Homes Grant A £2 billion grant will provide at least £2 for every £1 that homeowners and landlords in England invest in making their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household.
■ Job Retention Bonus UK employers will receive £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee who remains continuously employed from the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in October through to 31 January 2021. Qualifying employees must earn over £520 per month on average.
■ Kickstart Scheme This scheme aims to provide six-month work placements for those aged 16-24, who are on Universal Credit and considered to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers in Great Britain will receive a payment that will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week plus the associated employer NICs and automatic enrolment pension contributions.
■ Apprenticeship payments Employers in England will be entitled to a new payment of £2,000 for each new apprentice aged under 25 they hire, and £1,500 for each new apprentice hired aged 25 and over.
■ A temporary VAT cut A 5% rate of VAT will apply to supplies of food and nonalcoholic drinks from UK restaurants, pubs, etc and accommodation and admission to attractions. The rate will operate from 15 July 2020 through to 12 January 2021. As has become clear with many of other Covid-19 initiatives, the devil is in the detail. In many instances, expert advice is recommended before taking any action.