On Thursday 9 July 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a summer statement to help the UK economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Policy and Influencing Manager Theo Plowman outlines the Landscape Institute’s response.

2 Marsham Street, the headquarters of the UK Home Office. Image by Steve Cadman, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered the governmen’s summer statement on Thursday 9 July 2020.

The major headlines captured some of the more eye-catching measures. From stamp duty, green homes vouchers, ‘eat out to help out’ and the VAT cut for food and non-alcoholic drinks, the statement focused mostly on jobs – retaining and creating new ones, with a particular focus on young people.

There however, some further measures relevant to the landscape sector.

Jobs and support for young workers

Green Jobs Challenge Fund: The government will invest up to £40 million in a Green Jobs Challenge Fund for environmental charities and public authorities to create and protect 5,000 jobs in England. The jobs will involve improving the natural environment, including planting trees, restoring habitats, clearing waterways, and creating green space for people and wildlife.

Job Retention Bonus: The government will introduce a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further details about the scheme will be announced by the end of July.

Kickstart Scheme: The government will introduce a new Kickstart Scheme in Great Britain – a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements aimed at people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit.

Traineeships for young people: The government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.

Payments for employers who hire new apprentices: The government will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over.

Infrastructure and Investment

Local infrastructure projects: The government will provide £900 million for shovel-ready projects in England in 2020-21 and 2021-22 to drive local growth and jobs. This could include the development and regeneration of key local sites, investment to improve transport and digital connectivity, and innovation and technology centres. Funding will be provided to Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The LI policy team is currently consulting with members on a green recovery strategy, setting out the role of landscape in any ongoing response. For more details, contact policy@landscapeinstitute.org.

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