Coronavirus Update

As a lover of the arts – and having formerly served as Culture Minister of this country – I have sought to support the arts and creative industries during the exceptionally difficult times brought about for them by this pandemic.

I am therefore delighted that we have announced a £1.57 billion support package for cultural and heritage organisations. I am also pleased that they will benefit from the subsequently announced massive VAT cut from 20% to 5% which runs until 12th January 2021.

I am pleased that gyms, swimming pools, nail salons, and other establishments are being allowed to reopen at various times in July.

In the latest announcements from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, a series of support packages worth £30 billion aimed at safeguarding and creating jobs have been outlined, which I wholeheartedly welcome.

Included in the Government’s £30 billion ‘Plan for Jobs’ will be the incentive of a one-off bonus to businesses of £1,000 for every returning employee who was furloughed and is retained until at least January.

Also included are:

  • The aforementioned temporary cut in VAT to 5% until 12th January 2021 for the tourism and hospitality sectors, to give a much-needed boost to some of the industries hardest hit by coronavirus;
  • A new ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme, giving people up to 50% off meals out at restaurants, pubs and cafes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the month of August;
  • the temporary removal of stamp duty on all homes under £500,000 until the end of March 2021;
  • and a new Kickstart Scheme, which will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully-subsidised jobs for young people aged 18-24.

As we carefully reopen our economy, it is right that the Chancellor is doing everything in his power to support, protect and create jobs. Our plan will be a lifeline for thousands of people and businesses across Northampton.

In Northampton North alone, 11,400 employees have been furloughed and therefore benefitted from the Job Retention Scheme, and a total of £13.3 million has been paid out by way of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to more than 4,400 people.

This is a massive package of support to help kick start our economy, including creative ways to support the sectors that have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Full details on all the measures can be found here: