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Cuts to SDLT and VAT to support COVID recovery

8 July: No SDLT on houses up to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland, VAT cut to 5% to support hospitality and a £1,000 bonus for retaining furloughed employees were the headline tax changes in the Chancellor’s Summer Statement.

In an unprecedented Summer Statement, Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures aimed at supporting the UK’s economic recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chancellor set out a three point plan to ‘protect’, ‘support’ and ‘create’ jobs, which included significant, if temporary, changes to VAT and stamp duty land tax (SDLT), as well as the creation of a Job Retention Bonus Scheme.

The bonus scheme will see the government pay employers £1,000 for each furloughed staff member who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021.

As part of the government’s plans to create jobs, the Chancellor confirms that from today (8 July 2020) no SDLT will be paid on houses up to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland. The change, which aims to stimulate the ailing housing market, will remain in effect until 31 March 2021.

To protect jobs in the hospitality sector, the Chancellor announced a six-month cut in VAT rates to 5% on supplies of on supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés, as well as to supplies of accommodation and admission to tourist attractions. The rate reduction will come into force on 15 July and run until 12 January 2021.

The Chancellor flagged that he still intends to deliver a Budget and Spending Review in the Autumn and said: “Our Plan for Jobs will not be the last action – it is merely the next – in our fight to recover and rebuild after coronavirus.”

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