New Government Covid-19 Funding Announced
In the last few days, the UK and NI Governments have announced a range of new Covid-19 funding programmes including support for employers, job-seekers, arts and sports. The UK Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update announced in Parliament yesterday (8th July), outlines a package of measures in NI and across the UK to support jobs, which will include almost £300 million of additional Covid-19 funding for the NI Executive through the Barnett formula. It is aimed at helping employers retain and hire staff and for help those seeking work get better jobs.
Key elements of this fund include -
- Job Retention Bonus: Under which employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
- Decarbonising public sector buildings: Under which government will invest £1 billion over the next year in a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme that will offer grants to public sector bodies, including schools and hospitals, to fund both energy efficiency and low carbon heat upgrades.
- Eat Out to Help Out: To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants the Government’s new discount scheme will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
- VAT Reduction: The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%.
- Stamp Duty: A temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 has been introduced until 31 March 2021.
Full details of the announcement can be found here: https://bit.ly/CXPlanForJobs
This came on the back of the announcement last week by the NI Communities Minister of an additional £4 million package for the Arts sector (which according to recent Arts Council research is facing a £5 million deficit this year); an additional £4.5m for the Community Support Fund; and an additional £2 million for the sports sector, all as part of a £23 million boost for the Department.
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