Treasury may hand UK adults £500 to spend in Covid-hit sectors

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Rishi Sunak Resolution Foundation covid-19
Rishi Sunak is poised to deliver a “summer update” on the state of the UK economy on Wednesday
// Chancellor Rishi Sunak could hand every adult £500 in vouchers to help sectors affected by the Covid-19 crisis
// Plan was drawn up by independent think tank Resolution Foundation to boost UK economy

Plans to give all UK adults £500 and children £250 in vouchers to spend in sectors of the economy worst hit by the Covid-19 crisis are reportedly being considered by the Treasury.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak could hand every adult £500 in vouchers under proposals to help sectors such as retail and hospitality that have been worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort to boost the UK economy, The Guardian reported.

The plan has been drawn up by independent British think tank Resolution Foundation, which has already held talks with the Treasury about its ideas.


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The move would be designed to kickstart a financial recovery by initiating a targeted surge in consumer spending.

As a result, the vouchers could not be spent online, but in physical retail stores and hospitality operators such as cafes, restaurants and bars.

Sunak is poised to deliver a “summer update” on the state of the UK economy on Wednesday and the Treasury has refused to rule out the introduction of a voucher scheme ahead of that address.

The Resolution Foundation said the idea would cost the government around £30bn, but insisted it would prove more effective than a VAT cut or cash gifts to households, both of which are also understood to be under consideration.

The vouchers would expire after one year and the scheme could also be closed down if there was a second wave of Covid-19.

The pandemic has majorly affected the retail sector, with 24,348 jobs already lost across insolvent UK retailers in the first half of 2020, the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) recently revealed.

At least 31,628 retail jobs are currently at risk of being scrapped, with many retailers expected to shutter stores later in the year.

High street retailers including as Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Monsoon Accessorize, Cath Kidston, Quiz and Victoria’s Secret’s UK arm have all entered insolvency after being forced to shut their doors in March due to lockdown.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. the only problem with the vouchers will be that they will end up on ebay and the like within 24 hours being sold for cash for half the face value ! if they are going to issue vouchers they should be to individuals who have id to support that they are theirs legally to spend.

    Otherwise all it will do is create profit for lots of people who had no intension of visiting the high street anyway.

  2. Undoubtedly retail sector affected the most by this pandemic, however, there are many other sectors that are shutting down too. Jobs are lost and no one is showing concern what will happen in future… worries, concern, anxiety all around

  3. @Fred Bloggs – I take your point about vouchers ending up on ebay, but they will still be spent by the person buying them. However, I would question the logic of giving people vouchers (which might result in people who would not have spent in bars, cafes and restaurants in normal circumstances, all going out to spend during the same time frame) at a time when we should still be social distancing. I’ve already noticed an increased level of carelessness when it comes to keeping distance from others. This would make it less likely for me to go out and spend in these places, irrespective of free vouchers.

  4. “High street retailers including as Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Monsoon Accessorize, Cath Kidston, Quiz and Victoria’s Secret’s UK arm have all entered insolvency after being forced to shut their doors in March due to lockdown.”
    – Most of these were having serious problems before Coronavirus was even known about, and likely would have gone under regardless.

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