CENTRAL DEVON MP Mel Stride has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of £30billion of emergency spending to stave off mass unemployment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Announced last week, the package includes bringing forward £8.8billion of infrastructure investment, raising the Stamp Duty threshold to £500,000 until March 31st to get the housing market moving and supporting the hospitality sector by cutting VAT from 20% to 5% on food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and attractions until Jan 12th.

An ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme will also encourage people to go out to eat by offering 50% off meals out, up to £10 per person per meal, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August. Not only will this help participating pubs, cafes and restaurants but it will also help the supply chain, right back to our food producers. The National Farmers’ Union has welcomed the scheme.

Mr Stride, who serves as Chair of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, said:

“This is an important and bold package and I broadly welcome it. It will sadly not prevent a rise in unemployment but it will help, and its focus on younger people and the leisure and hospitality sector, so vital to Devon, is especially important. My committee will be scrutinising the package and looking for areas for improvement.”