‘Plan to rev up economy’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images).
Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images).

By Rithika Siddhartha

CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak’s announcement of pledging an additional £30 billion last Wednesday (8) was a plan for jobs and to kickstart the UK’s economic recovery, a junior minister has said.

Kemi Badenoch MP is Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and also a minister for equalities.

At a virtual roundtable last Thursday (9), Bad­enoch explained how the measures unveiled by the chancellor were among the most generous in the world.

“We’ve kept people in work, supported their income and businesses,” Badenoch said, adding, the next stage was about “kick­starting the economy”.

Under the chancellor’s plan, employers will be paid £1,000 after the furlough scheme expires at the end of October for every worker who returns to their job, provided they are kept on through to the end of Jan­uary. With more than nine mil­lion jobs covered by the scheme, the cost of the bonuses could be as much as £9.4 billion.

To help hospitality and tourism, hampered by social distancing rules, the chancel­lor announced a cut in value-added tax for the sector to five per cent from 20 per cent for six months.

People eating out in Au­gust between Monday and Wednesday will receive a 50 per cent discount of up to £10 each, paid for by the government. “So it’s jobs, jobs, jobs, and making sure the economy can keep going,” Badenoch said a day after Sunak an­nounced the recovery plan last Wednesday.

She added: “What we also know is that ethnic minorities also tend to work in hospitality. And they tend to work in part time jobs.

“So we’re really glad that we’ve spent all this cash in look­ing after not just the economy, but looking after the most vulnera­ble. The Treasury has some analysis and that has shown that money has gone to people who are most in need.”

Badenoch also explained how the government was bringing forward infrastructure investment and how ministers wanted to support people gain the skills they need to get jobs.

“We are helping people to access high quality training and providing them with skills that busi­nesses need. We are supporting businesses to take on more apprentices, more trainees to expand on the job learning and increasing the investment in the national careers service to support those groups into work,” she said.

Badenoch explained how the government was accelerating £8.6bn for decarbonisation, infrastructure and maintenance projects and said that package would support more than 100,000 jobs. “It also includes the £5bn infra­structure projects announced by the prime minis­ter in June,” she said, and added, “it just means that many things will start sooner than we planned. We are bringing these things forward.

“So that the economy can just get going and people aren’t waiting while we see a collapse.”

Under the £2bn green home grants, the government will put in £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make homes more energy efficient.

“We’ve announced £50 mil­lion to decarbonise social housing and another billion to decarbonise public sector buildings,” Badenoch added.