It was a spend, spend, spend Budget, and it came from a Conservative chancellor – but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
As Rishi Sunak splashed £30bn of government cash (read debt), it was good news for the property industry.
Raising the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 brought a smile to the faces of most estate agents, as did the announcement of a £1,000 cash payment for every furloughed member of staff brought back onto the books until at least the end of January.
There was also a £2bn green homes grant to improve energy efficiency in private homes, supporting 100,000 green jobs, while £1bn will be spent making public sector buildings more energy efficient. A Green Jobs Challenge Fund will create 5,000 jobs at environmental charities and public bodies.
Cash for jobs
But there was plenty of other good news from the Chancellor aimed at boosting the economy and getting people back into work – all of which will add impetus to what is looking like a very positive outlook for the property sector, and a far cry from the grim uncertainty of a few months ago.
Mr Sunak unveiled a new £2bn Kickstart scheme as part of his Plan for Jobs, creating jobs for unemployed young people under the age of 25, with the government paying the minimum wage for 25 hours a week for six months.
An additional £111m will be used to triple the number of traineeships. Firms will be offered £1,000 per trainee for up to 10 jobs.
There will also be an expansion of the apprenticeship scheme, with £2,000 on offer for each new apprentice under the age of 25, and £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 or over.
Help for hospitality and tourism
Finally there was a £4bn handout for the hard-hit hospitality and tourism sectors, with VAT on food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and tourist attractions slashed from 20% to 5%.
In addition, in a first for a UK government incentive, we are all being encouraged to ‘eat out to help out’ thanks to a 50% government-subsidised discount on meals up to £10 a head at restaurants taking part in the scheme.
The biggest hangover, however, will be reserved for the UK taxpayer for years to come. In June debt exceeded GDP for the first time since 1963, reaching £1.95 trillion – and that was before yesterday’s cash splurge.