FEARFUL of workers’ fury at mass unemployment when furloughing ends, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a plan to try to persuade bosses to keep on workers, for just three months, instead of firing them immediately and pushing unemployment up by up to 8 millions in one huge leap.
If employers keep workers in their jobs until January 2021 they will get a £1,000 bonus per employee.
The scheme could cost as much as £9bn if every furloughed worker is covered, the chancellor told MPs yesterday.
He stated that he was shutting down the furlough because he was against instilling ‘false hopes’.
He said leaving the furlough scheme open would give people ‘false hope’ that they will have a job to return to. However, he would ‘never accept unemployment as an inevitable outcome.’
The chancellor also announced a £2bn ‘kickstart scheme’ to create more jobs for young people.
The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
For each ‘kickstarter’ job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours’ work a week at the National Minimum Wage – £4.55 for under 18s, £6.45 for 18 to 20-year-olds, and £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds.
No doubt bosses will prefer to take on Sunak’s cut price youth workers for period of six months than keep their current workforces, when furloughing ends.
The Chancellor also announced a temporary stamp duty holiday to stimulate the property market.
This would exempt the first £500,000 of all property sales from the tax.
His other measures included:
- Vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements as part of a wider £3bn plan to cut emissions
- A pledge to provide 30,000 new traineeships for young people in England, giving firms £1,000 for each new work experience place they offer
- A £1.6bn package of loans and grants for the arts and heritage sector
- The doubling of front line staff at job centres, as well as an extra £32m for recruiting extra careers advisers and £17m for work academies in England
• Employers will not have to pay any tax on coronavirus swab tests provided for their staff.