The chancellor is planning to announce a “giveaway budget” next week to help the UK economy bounce back post-lockdown, it has been reported.
Rishi Sunak is due to set out his spring Budget on 3 March, and is expected to include a series of measures to help beleaguered industries and encourage the public get out and shop.
According to the Daily Mail, Treasury officials are also exploring more extensive measures to provide a major stimulus to the economy later in the year, including vouchers to motivate people to shop on the high street and lower alcohol duty for restaurants and pubs.
The latter move will reportedly arrive at the same time as higher levies on alcohol sold in supermarkets to give local traders a boost. Ministers may also be considering a return of last year’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, reported the newspaper.
Mr Sunak will also reportedly announce further VAT and business rate cuts for hospitality and tourism industries, as well as extend the furlough scheme keeping millions in jobs.
The speculation comes after The Times reported on Tuesday that Mr Sunak is preparing to extend the stamp duty holiday, which is due to end 31 March, until the end of June.
The tax break is aimed at bolstering the property market as the UK recovers from the economic impact of lockdown.
Prime minister Boris Johnson promised on Monday that the government would continue providing financial support for jobs and livelihoods for the duration of the pandemic, telling MPs it will do “whatever it takes” to help businesses and workers”.
The Treasury declined to comment on speculations on the specifics of the Budget, but said: “Our priority throughout the past year has been to protect as many jobs as possible - which is why we’ve invested more than £280bn to support jobs, businesses and our public services.
“We will continue to invest in protecting and creating jobs through the remainder of the pandemic and through recovery, and we will set out further details via the next stage of our Plan for Jobs at the upcoming Budget.”
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