Rishi Sunak urged to give £500 voucher to every UK adult to spend in coronavirus-hit high street shops


HOUSEHOLDS must be given vouchers worth hundreds of pounds to kick-start the ailing High Street, the Chancellor has been urged.

Adults should be given £500 each and children £250 to support firms hit the most by the coronavirus outbreak.

 The proposal which would deliver £30 billion stimulus for retail and hospitality comes days ahead of Rishi Sunak economic statement next week.

The scheme can target the parts of the economy that have been hardest hit – rather than online sales, they claim.

The High Street Voucher is “tailor-made” for the current crisis as some sectors struggle to recover, the think tank says.

Simple cash transfers risk being saved by higher income households who may have already saved cash on travel and leisure in the past three months.

Other proposals from the Resolution Foundation include extending the furlough system in the hardest hit sectors.

They say it should then be flipped into a Job Protection Scheme after October where the government provides a ten per cent wage subsidy in certain sectors, costing £5 billion a year.

James Smith, Research Director at the Resolution Foundation, said: “While every part of the economy has been affected by the current crisis, the stand out feature of this recession is that some areas are far more affected than others.

“Social distancing has huge implications for firms in sectors like retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure that will last into the forthcoming reopening phase.

“That is why the jobs of so many workers in these sectors are in the firing line. The Chancellor’s recovery package on Wednesday should reflect this unique economic challenge.

“As well as setting out the biggest ever peacetime job support programme, the Chancellor should get Britain spending in places where it’s needed most.

“A universal ‘High Street Voucher’ scheme – worth £500 per adult and £250 per child – to be spent only in these sectors would kickstart demand in the right parts of our economy, boost living standards and deliver targeted support to the businesses that need help the most.

“The Chancellor has already shown that big, bold measures like the Job Retention Scheme are welcome and necessary in the current economic climate.

“He should take this same approach as we enter the crucial recovery phase of the crisis.”



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