'A Plan for Jobs' announced to help UK businesses recover from coronavirus

‘A Plan for Jobs’ has been set out to help the UK recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It includes a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021. Here’s what businesses need to know about the measures.

A Plan for Jobs UK

What are the ‘Plan for Jobs’ measures?

Delivering his Summer Economic Update in Parliament yesterday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures which aim to support jobs in the UK, give businesses the confidence to retain and hire, and provide people with the tools they need to get better jobs. New measures in the ‘Plan for Jobs’ include:

  • A Job Retention Bonus will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers. UK employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
  • Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible of a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme. Creating hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people, funding will be available for each six-month job placement and will cover 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week with employers topping up the wage.
  • Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is part of £1.6 billion which will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.

What is the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme for diners?

As 80 per cent of hospitality firms stopped trading in April and 1.4 million hospitality workers have been furloughed (the highest proportions of any sector), the VAT rate applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20 per cent to 5 per cent.

To ensure there is enough demand as businesses reopen, a new Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme is also being launched. This will provide a 50 per cent reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020 in a bid to encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants.

Will the ‘Plan for Jobs’ help the UK economy recover?

On the announcement, employment law expert and CEO of BrightHR, Alan Price said: “This latest statement from the Chancellor will no doubt be very well received by businesses across the UK, many of whom will likely have been concerned over the implications of the winding down of the furlough scheme. The bonus that will be paid to employers if they can retain staff does provide them with a lifeline, and incentive, to keep staff on post-October. Ideally, this could help employers to avoid a redundancy situation.

“The £2,000 apprenticeship bonus may make providing such an option considerably more attractive to businesses. At the same time, the ‘kickstart’ scheme may also prove to be a cost-effective method of sourcing young workers who can progress within the company. Employers should bear in mind that on-the-job learning has proven to be invaluable for finding efficient members of staff, and now face a situation where adding this into their company would be considerably less expensive than usual.

“As we wait for further information on these announcements, employers should carefully consider how such options could benefit their company. Fundamentally, there is no expectation on them to make use of these, but they should evaluate how doing so could help them meet ongoing costs alongside improving their overall reputation.”

See also

Coronavirus notices

What you need to know about the new flexible furlough rules

How can you manage employee loneliness when working from home?

What you need to know about holiday entitlement and pay during lockdown

Find out more

A Plan for Jobs 2020 (GOV.UK)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 9 July 2020

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.