August 2020: News from your local MP
Help in challenging times
THE last few weeks have seen announcements from the Chancellor that are designed to protect jobs, support local employers and secure promising figures for young people across Kingswood.
August sees the launch of the Chancellor’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which offers a discount to diners to encourage them to eat at local restaurants, pubs and cafes. You can use the scheme all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020 and it offers a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to diners for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in.
This scheme comes on top of the Chancellor’s targeted temporary reduction of VAT to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021. As lockdown eases, this will provide another boost to our local attractions and hospitality businesses - which employ hundreds of local people - as they try to get back on their feet.
As well as heavy discounts and targeted tax cuts, there is also a new Job Retention Bonus which aims to reward and incentivise employers who bring staff back from furlough with a one-off payment of £1,000 for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.
For local youngsters, a Kickstart Scheme will create 6-month work placements for those aged 16-24. Funding made available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus other costs. There will also be new payments for businesses for hiring apprentices and new funding for traineeships.
As the local MP, I know that this is a worrying time for local business owners, their workers and young people looking to enter the world of work. I welcome this comprehensive package from the Chancellor which should boost confidence, help to protect existing jobs and create new opportunities during these challenging times.
Finally, we should all be on the lookout for our local small shopkeepers to enter the Best Small Shops Competition so we can celebrate the central role they play in our neighbourhoods. The competition is free to enter. Shopkeepers can nominate their businesses until Friday 11th September 2020 via www.bestsmallshops.co.uk.