Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:11 pm on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:11 pm, 9th September 2020

I can give a clear and direct answer to that because, together with UK Finance, my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury has discussed bounce back loans, CBILS and larger business interruption loans. Those were targeted at up to £200 million for that mid-tier category of businesses, and I know from discussions with colleagues that a lot of regional businesses in that mid-tier category have been particularly impacted. The point is that this is about the package of Government schemes. Where there are individual constituency cases, we are, of course, always happy to look at them and UK Finance does a very good job in terms of its response.

I have set out the first phase. The second phase of the extraordinary support given relates to our plan for jobs. As part of protecting jobs, we have temporarily applied a reduced rate to VAT for tourism and hospitality, supporting over 150,000 businesses and protecting 2.4 million jobs. I do not know whether you, Mr Speaker, had an opportunity to benefit, but you will be familiar with the popular eat out to help out scheme, which has been a real success. The latest figures—only the one course, clearly, Mr Speaker—show that 100 million covers have been claimed, helping to support 130,000 businesses and protect almost 2 million jobs in a sector which, very seriously, has been particularly acutely hit by the covid pandemic.

Our plans also create new jobs, injecting new certainty and confidence in the housing market by increasing the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 for first-time buyers. That will drive growth and support across housebuilding and property sectors. It also builds on other schemes, such as creating green jobs through a £2 billion green homes grant, saving households hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills, and through our £1 billion programme to make public buildings, including schools and hospitals, decarbonised. Together, they are all a part of the £640 billion capital investment in economic recovery, job creation and revitalising our national infrastructure over the next five years.