Sunak noted that the 25 per cent collapse in the economy since the lockdown began was in effect the reversal of 18 years’ worth of economic growth.
As a result, he noted that the Plan for Jobs would not be the last action in recovering and rebuilding after coronavirus.
The chancellor confirmed the furlough scheme would end in October.
Sunak then unveiled the jobs retention programme for furloughed workers which will see employers paid a £1,000 bonus for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
If all nine million furloughed jobs were retained, it would cost £9bn on the new scheme.
Measures were also announced to help keep young people in jobs with grants for training and apprenticeships.
The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) cut could cost the government as much as £3.8bn in revenue.
“The government will temporarily increase the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT, in England and Northern Ireland, from £125,000 to £500,000,” HM Treasury said.
“This will apply from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 and cut the tax due for everyone who would have paid SDLT.
“Nearly nine out of ten people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no SDLT at all.”
It estimated that the average stamp duty bill will fall by around £4,500.
The government will fund up to £2bn worth of grants for green home improvements which it hopes will support thousands of jobs and cut energy bills across England.
Homeowners and landlords will be able to claim back up to two-thirds of the cost at up to £5,000, while low income households may receive up to £10,000 to potentially meet the full cost.
A £1bn programme to make public buildings, including schools and hospitals, across England greener and help the country meet its Net Zero ambition by 2050 is also being introduced.
Focus on jobs
Delivering his Plan for Jobs policy speech, Sunak said: “The independent Office for Budget Responsibility and Bank of England are both projecting significant job losses – the most urgent challenge we now face.
“I want every person in this house and in the country to know that I will never accept unemployment as an unavoidable outcome.
“We haven’t done everything we have so far just to step back now and say, ‘job done’. In truth, the job has only just begun.”
He added that house building alone supports nearly three quarters of a million jobs with millions more relying on the availability of housing to find work.
Other measures announced include:
- A £1,000 grant for employers to take on trainees with a tripling of the number of places
- For the next six months businesses will receive £2,000 to hire young apprentices, and a £1,500 bonus to hire apprentices aged 25 and over.
- VAT on goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sectors will be cut to five per cent.
- For the month of August a 50 per cent reduction of up to £10 per head will be offered by the government on sit-down meals and non-alcoholic drinks for Monday to Wednesday.
Failed public health
Responding to the statement, Labour shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds criticised the government’s response, noting that it’s failure to act on supporting public health was a large contributor to falling economic activity.
She highlighted that a lack of a working test and trace system and other instances and lost public trust in the government and meant people were reluctant to go out and resume their normal lives.