Sunak Announces Cut to Stamp Duty in Bid to Revive U.K. Economy

Rishi Sunak promised to do everything he can to save jobs and pump life into the U.K.’s coronavirus-battered economy, cutting property sales tax and giving employers a bonus if they don’t lay off their workers.

“We face profound economic challenges,” the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House of Commons on Wednesday, laying out a stimulus package that he intends to amplify in a budget and spending review in the fall. “In just two months our economy contracted by 25% — the same amount it grew in the previous eighteen years.”

But he promised to stand by companies that keep faith with their workers, regardless of political ideology.

The chancellor announced a new program to reward employers if they take back furloughed workers and keep them on continuously through the end of January. Businesses will receive a 1,000-pound ($1,256) bonus per employee who returns from furlough in a policy potentially worth 9 billion ($11.3 billion) pounds.

“Where problems emerge, we will confront them. Where support is justified, we will provide it. Where challenges arise, we will overcome them,” he said. “We entered this crisis unencumbered by dogma and we continue in this spirit, driven always by the simple desire to do what is right.”

Sunak faces a gargantuan task in pulling the world’s fifth-biggest economy out of what may be its worst recession in three centuries. Unemployment is expected to spike upwards as he unwinds unprecedented government programs that are funding the wages of more than 12 million workers.

On Wednesday, the Treasury unveiled a 2 billion-pound ($2.5 billion) program to pay the wages of more than 200,000 young workers, bringing to more than 6 billion pounds the value of measures to support jobs and environmental programs announced by Sunak in the run-up to his statement.

That’s in addition to 5 billion pounds of infrastructure spending on schools, hospitals and roads, announced last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who pledged the U.K. will “build, build, build” to emerge from the crisis.

Below is a list of stimulus spending announced by the Treasury in the past week:


Program to pay wages of young workers on 6-month placements


Grants to help homeowners insulate their properties


Funding to make schools and hospitals greener


Earmarked to scope out new ways of retrofitting social housing with heat pumps, insulation and double glazing


Green Jobs Challenge Fund, which will help environmental charities and local government plant trees, clean up rivers and improve green spaces


Funding to double the number of work coaches in U.K. job centers to 27,000 and help job-seekers get the support and skills they need to find work.


Promise to triple the number of traineeships for 16-24 year-olds. Businesses will get 1,000 pounds per trainee taken on for work experience


Funding for 30,000 new placements in work academies to provide those on benefits with skills needed for local jobs


Investment in the National Careers Service to offer careers advice to young people

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