Sunak to unveil £2bn youth unemployment scheme in coronavirus recovery package
The Chancellor will announce a £2 billion scheme aimed at alleviating youth unemployment by subsidising work placements when he sets out his coronavirus recovery package.
A three-point plan to boost the ailing economy by helping job creation will include a plan to help pay for six-month placements for some under-25s facing long-term unemployment.
Rishi Sunak will set out the measures in his summer economic update in the House of Commons on Wednesday, as he faces pressure to assist those who are most at vulnerable to the effects of a financial crisis.
Meanwhile, Labour will push Mr Sunak to “avoid additional floods of redundancy notices” by developing a “flexible” furlough scheme in areas where local lockdowns are put in place.
Mr Sunak will also offer an immediate stamp duty “holiday” to temporarily exempt the tax on the first £500,000 of homes purchased in England and Northern Ireland, according to unconfirmed reports.
The Treasury acknowledged that young people are more likely to be furloughed under the job retention scheme which is being wound up and is due to end in October.
So a “kickstart scheme” hoped by the Treasury to create hundreds of thousands of jobs will be unveiled for 16 to 24-year-olds who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term employment.
Government funding would cover 100% of the minimum wage for 25 hours a week in the scheme that will be open to all employers across Great Britain, with bosses able to top up wages.
Ahead of the announcement, Mr Sunak said: “Young people bear the brunt of most economic crises, but they are at particular risk this time because they work in the sectors disproportionately hit by the pandemic.
“We also know that youth unemployment has a long-term impact on jobs and wages and we don’t want to see that happen to this generation.
“So we’ve got a bold plan to protect, support and create jobs – a plan for jobs.”
Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the Government is “yet to rise to the scale of the unemployment crisis” and said the priority should be to abandon its “one-size-fits-all” approach to ending the job retention and self-employment schemes.
“In addition, older people who become unemployed, and those living in particularly hard-hit areas, will also need tailored support,” she added.
Lib Dem leadership candidate Layla Moran said the package “will sadly be too little too late for many of the corona class of 2020”.
“Eighteen-year-olds could be left being paid just £161 a week under this scheme, which in some parts of the country would barely cover rent and transport costs,” she added.
However, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Frances O’Grady, welcomed the measure as a “good first step” to prevent mass youth unemployment.
“But we’ll be checking the small print to ensure every job provides proper training and a bridge to steady employment,” she added.
And Confederation of British Industry director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said the plan “will be a much-needed down payment in young people’s futures”.
“By investing in skills, the Government can lessen the potential scarring impact of the pandemic for the next generation,” she added.
Among the job measures already announced are a £111 million scheme for firms in England to get a £1,000 bonus if they offer unpaid traineeships.
Thousands of jobs have been cut as businesses struggled through lockdown, with Royal Mail, Centrica, Easyjet and British Airways among those affected.
Meanwhile, on the eve of the speech, the Unite union said 2,200 DHL workers involved in the production of Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicles are being told that they could lose their jobs.
The 2,200 proposed redundancies comprise just under 40% of the entire DHL workforce on the contract, it added.
In his speech, Mr Sunak will also detail a £3 billion green package with grants for homeowners and public buildings to improve energy efficiency.
It will include £2 billion for households to insulate their homes and make them more energy-efficient, but campaigners said the funding pales in comparison to the economic and environmental crises.
There has also been speculation that Mr Sunak will raise the threshold for stamp duty payment for property sales where it applies in England and Northern Ireland from £125,000 to £500,000.
But housing market experts have argued it is home-buyers in southern England who stand to benefit the most from the move.
Mr Sunak has also been urged to consider an emergency VAT cut to stimulate consumer spending and stem the 14% slump in GDP forecast by the Bank of England this year.
The UK’s unemployment rate could also soar to 14.8% with job losses comparable to the 1930s, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Published: 08/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub
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PM under fire over care home comments
the Independent Care Group says workers experienced “a real slap in the face” after the PM said some care homes had not properly followed coronavirus procedures.
Responding to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, chairman Mike Padgham said: “We warmly welcome today’s continued fall in the death rate in care and nursing homes and feel it is a testament to the amazing, selfless and brave efforts by care workers during this horrific pandemic.
“Which makes it all the more upsetting for the sector when the Prime Minister makes the comments he did, a real slap in the face for those workers after they have given and sacrificed so much.
“We hope he will reflect on those comments and see the incredible work the care sector has done in the recent months to care for older and vulnerable people, with late and conflicting advice and poor support in terms of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing during this awful pandemic.
“And we hope it will spur him into long-promised action to reform the sector and end the crisis in social care which left us so vulnerable to a virus like Covid-19.”
Published: 07/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub
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Bars shut due to coronavirus cases just days after reopening
A number of pubs which reopened their doors for the first time on Saturday have had to close again due to people testing positive for coronavirus.
Bars in England welcomed drinkers at the weekend after a lengthy lockdown which saw the hospitality sector shut since March.
But three establishments have since alerted their patrons that they have had to close again just days later, after cases of Covid-19.
The Lighthouse Kitchen and Carvery in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, said a customer had tested positive and it was making its way through a list of people who were in the bar on Saturday.
In a statement posted on Facebook, it added: “All our staff are going to be tested and we will reopen when the time is safe to do so.”
The Fox and Hounds in Batley, West Yorkshire, said it would be closed until further notice after receiving a call from a customer on Monday to say they had tested positive for coronavirus.
Posting on its Facebook page, it said all staff had since taken a test and added that the pub will be “fully deep cleaned and when safe to do so we will reopen our doors”.
The Village Home Pub in Alverstoke, Gosport, said it had also “had a case of Coronavirus in the pub”, adding that “some of us are in isolation”.
Its statement on Facebook said: “The pub is now shut but all being well will open again on Saturday. Anyone who was in the pub over the weekend there is no need to isolate unless you show symptoms or are contacted direct by the trace group. Thank you and hope to see you soon.”
Published: 07/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub
Homeowners to get £2 billion towards insulation costs
Homeowners will receive £2 billion in financial incentives to insulate their homes as part of an economic recovery scheme set to be announced by the Chancellor.
The funding is part of an expected £3 billion green package Rishi Sunak will unveil on Wednesday to create jobs, upgrade buildings and protect the environment as part of efforts to rebuild the economy after Covid-19.
The scheme will also include a £1 billion programme to transform schools, hospitals and other public buildings so they are greener and more energy efficient.
According to The Sun, the Green Homes Grant scheme will allow households to receive vouchers worth up to £5,000 to use on environmentally-friendly additions such as insulation, low-energy lighting and energy-efficient doors.
Some of the nation’s poorest households will reportedly be able to access vouchers worth up to £10,000.
The paper reports the programme will commence in September and could save families up to £600 a year on energy bills, according to Treasury estimates.
The recovery package will also include £1 billion for public buildings to pay for measures such as insulation, efficiency and green heating technology to cut emissions and save energy in places such as schools, hospitals, military bases and prisons.
Funding of £50 million will go to pilot innovative schemes to retrofit social housing at scale, with measures including insulation, double glazing and heat pumps.
The Treasury said retrofits of social housing could save an average of £200 for some of the poorest households while cutting carbon emissions.
The £3 billion in green schemes aims to help the UK “build back greener” and meet its legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Campaigners have been urging ministers to deliver on the manifesto pledge to invest £9.2 billion in energy efficiency, to boost jobs across the UK, cut consumer bills and reduce carbon emissions as part of the pandemic recovery.
They said the funding being unveiled on Wednesday in the summer economic update was welcome as a “down payment”, but does not measure up to what is needed to tackle the climate and economic crises.
The Conservative manifesto pledged £9.2 billion for energy efficiency, including £2.9 billion for public buildings and £6.3 billion for low income homes and social housing.
Ed Matthew, associate director at climate think tank E3G, said: “If this funding is the down payment on their manifesto commitment then it is a welcome start.
“If this is the total level of energy efficiency investment they are pledging then it is peanuts – barely enough to get us to the end of this year if we are to get on track to net zero.”
Greenpeace UK’s Rosie Rogers pointed to funding by other countries for a green recovery, including £36 billion by the German government and £13.5 billion by France and said the UK’s £3 billion “isn’t playing in the same league”.
“Of course this money is better than nothing, but it doesn’t measure up to the economic and environmental crises. It’s not enough to create the hundreds of thousands of new green jobs that are needed.
“It’s not enough to insulate all of the homes and buildings that need to be kept warm and more energy efficient.
“It’s not enough to ‘build back greener’, and it’s certainly not enough to put us on track to tackle the catastrophic impacts of the climate emergency,” she said.
The statement from the Chancellor will also confirm the announcement made last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that £40 million will be made available for nature conservation schemes.
Schemes to plant trees, clean up rivers and create new green spaces for people and wildlife could support up to 5,000 new jobs, the Government said.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said the plan was not comprehensive and claimed it leaves out one third of people.
“We have consistently called for a recovery which has energy efficiency at its heart, and will welcome any measures which achieve that,” he said.
“However, this is not a comprehensive plan. It appears there is almost nothing for the people who rent the 8.5 million homes in the social rented sector and private rented sector, which has the worst energy efficiency standards. That means one third of people are left out.
“It also needs to be part of a much broader and bigger scale strategy for getting back on track for net zero which includes a zero carbon army of young people getting back to work, investment in nature conservation, driving forward renewable energy, helping our manufacturers be part of the green transition and a plan for our transport network.
“The French government has promised 15 billion euros for a green recovery, the German government 40 billion euros. The UK government £3 billion so far. When the moment demands the Government creates the most ambitious green recovery possible, the Government has not so far risen to the challenge.”
Published: 07/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub
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