Sunday Express


Chancellor’s plan to get country working after Super Saturday boost


CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak will unveil a bold new package to get Britain working again after the country took its biggest step out of lockdown yesterday. Pubs, restaurant­s, hairdresse­rs and churches opened their doors this weekend for the first time in more than three months. Now, Mr Sunak is to reveal how he will build

on that to create thousands of jobs and avoid mass unemployme­nt caused by a coronaviru­s slump that has accounted for a 20 per cent plunge in GDP.

The Sunday Express has learnt that the Chancellor will announce on Wednesday that he is doubling the number of work coaches from 13,500 to 27,000.

It is one of the largest increases in history in frontline Jobcentre staff, who help guide people back into employment.

He is also going to earmark £32million for the National Careers Service, allowing around 250,000 more youngsters to benefit from tailored jobs advice.

There was also speculatio­n from senior Conservati­ve sources last night that Mr Sunak is considerin­g a holiday on employers having to pay National Insurance contributi­ons – removing a huge barrier to hiring staff.

Wednesday’s announceme­nt is not a Budget and will not focus on tax. But it is believed the Chancellor is looking at slashing stamp duty to boost the housing market as well as reforming business rates, which are suspended.

This comes amid growing fears that the virus could reverse years of hard work in cutting unemployme­nt to historical­ly low levels.

Ahead of his speech, he visited the Bell & Crown pub in Chiswick, west London, to mark Super Saturday – the reopening of much of the economy in England.

Mr Sunak said: “The hospitalit­y sector is a vital part of our economy and crucial to people’s livelihood­s. That is why it’s such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us enjoy summer safely.”

The pub was one of 27 Fuller’s opened yesterday. It aims to have more than 80 per cent of its inns welcoming customers by the end of July.

The hospitalit­y sector has been hit hard by the outbreak, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, including more than 90 per cent in the pub sector.

Boris Johnson also welcomed the reopenings but, as the UK virus death toll increased by 67 to 44,198 yesterday, he warned revellers to be responsibl­e.

The Prime Minister said: “It’s vital that everyone follows the rules on social distancing. We’ve worked so hard and together saved so many lives.

“Stick to the rules, keep apart from others and wash your hands several times a day.”

Many churches also reopened, and he added: “Places of worship are at the heart of so many communitie­s, which is why I am delighted that thousands of churches, mosques, synagogues, gurdwaras and temples are preparing to welcome back their congregati­ons safely.”

The comeback of hairdresse­rs and pubs had an instant impact, with footfall on high streets soaring 24.9 per cent on last week.

Shopping centres were up 10.6 per cent. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail

Consortium, said: “This is vital to reviving our town centres. Every purchase we make is a shop helped and a job supported.”

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independen­t Retailers Associatio­n, said: “This footfall rise is good news but there is still a long way to go.”

Advice for the Chancellor has come from one of his predecesso­rs, Lord Lamont, who was in 11 Downing Street for the 1992 Black Wednesday crisis. Speaking to former cabinet minister Esther Mcvey for her latest Blue Collar Conservati­ve podcast, Lord Lamont said: “I have great admiration for Rishi Sunak. He is acting boldly and quickly. But I’m afraid we are going to see unemployme­nt rise.”

He added: “He needs to cut the cost of employing people. I would have a holiday for employers’ National Insurance.

“If you cut the cost of employing people that will be the best way to retain jobs.” Meanwhile, leading Brexiteer Tory MP John Redwood, who headed up Margaret Thatcher’s policy unit, has urged Mr Sunak to borrow his way out of the crisis.

He told Ms Mcvey: “As long as you can persuade people it’s a one-off, it’s reasonable to borrow large sums to see yourself through the immediate hit of the crisis.

“Everything has to be done to take obstacles away to spending, investing and redeployin­g jobs. It’s

‘Every purchase is a shop helped and a job supported’

affordable as it coincides with an era of very low interest rates.”

Ms Mcvey is also pushing for business rates to be scrapped and replaced with a new sales tax which would pull in revenue from companies such as Amazon.

She said: “It’s high time to get rid of business rates for the high street and bring in a fair sales tax that treats online retailers the same as high street ones.”

Her call comes as the independen­t Resolution Foundation, which aims to improve the standard of living for low and middle income families, proposed a £30billion voucher scheme to help save the high street.

Meanwhile, West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey has urged the Government to turn the country’s failing universiti­es into vocational colleges.

He said: “We should take them back to their vocational roots and makes sure that local people can gain the qualificat­ions. We could train them in the new clean technologi­es so we can build, insulate and heat their homes using the latest technology.”

Lockdown easing also means rail services are being souped-up. Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said they will increase from around 70 per cent of prelockdow­n levels to 85 per cent.

Director Robert Nisbet said: “We are stepping up timetables and taking other steps so people can travel with confidence.”

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 ??  ?? ROLLING OUT THE BARREL: Rishi Sunak helps prepare pub for grand reopening
ROLLING OUT THE BARREL: Rishi Sunak helps prepare pub for grand reopening
 ?? Pictures: SIMON WALKER HM TREASURY ?? WAY AHEAD: Chancellor chats about hospitalit­y sector and, inset, folds napkins
Pictures: SIMON WALKER HM TREASURY WAY AHEAD: Chancellor chats about hospitalit­y sector and, inset, folds napkins

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