Whilst there is little directly relevant to the shipping sector in the Summer Statement, the following announcements may be of interest:
The furlough scheme will not be extended beyond 31 October. Instead, employers who continue to employ staff previously furloughed will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every furloughed employee who is continuously employed up to the end of January 2021, provided they earn more than £520 per month on average.
Additional funding will be available for traineeships for 16 to 24 year olds. Employers will receive £1,000 per trainee from the Government. The Government will improve provision and expand eligibility for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below.
New payments are being introduced for employers who hire apprentices, of £2,000 for each new apprentice under 25 and £1,000 for each new apprentice over 25, that is hired from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.
A new Kickstart Scheme has been introduced, being a £2 billion fund to create 6 month work placements aimed at individuals aged 16 to 24 on universal credit and at risk of long term unemployment. The funding will cover the cost of the minimum wage for 25 hours a week.
In addition, measures are being introduced to help sectors that have been badly affected by COVID-19. These include a temporary VAT cut to 5% for food and non-alcoholic drinks sold by restaurants, pubs etc., supplies of accommodation and attractions, “Eat Out to Help Out” vouchers providing discounts from Mondays to Wednesdays, and a temporary increase in the SDLT nil rate band to £500,000. Furthermore, there were more details provided on funding for certain infrastructure projects.
The aims of the Statement were to stimulate the economy and provide help for some of the hardest hit sectors. We will have to wait and see whether the Autumn Statement includes measures that may be more directly relevant for shipping.