Rishi Sunak has announced today the economic schemes for post-coronavirus, and they include some pretty big changes.
Mr Sunak announced a £2bn kickstart scheme designed to create jobs, incentives for businesses to bring people off furlough, VAT cuts, a stamp duty holiday plus more.
Details of how this package will be paid for – by tax increases and borrowing – are expected to be unveiled in the chancellor’s Autumn budget.
Here’s a breakdown of his main points:
Members of the public who have been placed on furlough as part of the government’s Job Retention Scheme are aware that this is coming to end in October, but many people have been concerned for the future of their jobs.
Mr Sunak today announced an incentive for businesses to bring back those employees that are on furlough, with a £1,000 bonus for every person they bring back into the workplace.
He said: “So for businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January – the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in National Insurance.”
The chancellor has also announced a £2 billion kickstart scheme that will pay employers to create jobs for people aged between 18 and 24. The government emphasised that they need to be ‘good jobs’, and the government will pay six months of wages plus an amount to cover overheads. The grant for a 24-year-old will be around £6,500.
There will also be a new £2,000 payment to firms who take on apprentices. This is alongside an unspecified amount of funding for career advisors.
On top of that, there’ll be traineeships to get young people ready for work, including work experience placements and work preparation for 16-24-year olds.
Tourism & Hospitality
The chancellor has cut VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors on food, accommodation and attractions from the usual 20% to 5%, which will come into effect from next Wednesday and last until January 2021.
Mr Sunak has also announced that everyone in the country will be given 50% off meal and drinks for the whole of August through a ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.
This scheme sees a 50% reduction up to a value of £10 per head on sit down meals and non-alcoholic drinks Monday to Wednesday.
The chancellor hopes this will get 1.8 million people who work in the hospitality industry back in jobs and ‘customers back in restaurants, cafes and pubs’.
Businesses can claim the money back from the government and the funds will appear in their bank account within five working days.
More details on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme are yet to be confirmed.
It is currently being debated as to whether the reduced VAT will be passed onto the consumer in lower prices as many in the sector will consider this as an opportunity to shore up their finances and ail their business.
Buying a Home
If you’re in the market for house-buying, the chancellor announced a stamp duty holiday which could save you thousands.
The rate at which stamp duty will be placed on a home has been increased from the usual £125,000 to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland, with immediate effect until March 31st.
The stamp duty holiday hopes to get people buying houses again, a sector which suffered a big drought throughout coronavirus.
The chancellor explained that on average people buying a home could save £4,500, and current homeowners moving on could see savings as big as £14,999.
Many people have expressed concerns regarding how this will help first-time buyers. Around 16% of housing sales in England are not liable for stamp duty as is the case with first-time buyers.
Currently, first-time buyers only pay a 5% stamp duty on houses between £300,000 and £500,000 which means this scheme will not affect new buyers directly.
Those buying a new home or second home will reap the benefits of this scheme.
Green Home Grant
Mr Sunak has announced a budget for home improvements that will help your home become ‘greener’, for instance, double glazing, eco-friendly boilers, low-energy lighting, energy-efficient doors and loft, floor or wall insulation.
The scheme will start in September and will see the government pay for at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy, up to a value of £5,000.
Low-income households are expected to receive a larger contribution of up to £10,000.
This is expected to create new jobs and enable the UK to achieve its 2050 goal of net-zero carbon emissions. More information can be found here.
Take a look inside the creepy abandoned Belle Vue Showcase cinema
Who else has great memories of this place?
The Belle Vue Showcase cinema was somewhat of an iconic venue in Manchester, however, it is set to be demolished and replaced.
The news came late last year that the cinema would be demolished to make way for a new secondary school.
The school, ran by the Co-op, is planning on having its first year sevens students in by September, although they’ll be placed in temporary buildings.
The new Co-Op Academy Belle Vue school is set to be finished in 2023, and a first glimpse of what it will look like has now been released.
Newly released documents show a modern L-shaped building, which will be split into three different ‘zones’, including a two-storey sports block – complete with a sports hall, auditorium, and drama studio.
The iconic cinema first opened its doors in 1989 boasting a huge 14 screens in the entertainment complex.
Closing its doors back in March 2020, the cinema had been left abandoned all last year and started to look seriously creepy.
The timeline for demolition hasn’t been given yet, and parents had to have applied for their child’s place in the new school by November 2nd last year – in case you were wanting to.
Once the grounds of Belle Vue zoo and amusement park, the area will definitely have some stories to tell.
The Belle Vue Showcase cinema was one of the first multi-screen complexes to open up, bringing American films, no queues and car parks to fit a 1,000 cars – it was unlike anything that had ever been seen before when it first opened back in 1989.
Back in February last year when rumours began to circulate the cinema would be closing, Mark Barlow, general manager at Showcase Cinemas UK, said: “As the leader in UK cinema innovation, Showcase Cinemas remains committed to operating a cinema in Manchester and as such are in active discussions about future opportunities for a new, state-of-art cinema in the city.”
If you’re going to miss this iconic venue, the company are said to be looking into a new unnamed location for another cinema. They added that they ‘remain fully committed to the city’.
The 12 retro chocolate bars that need to be brought back immediately
Sadly many of the chocolate bars we were once delighted to see in our lunchbox no longer exist, snatched from us way before their time.
And I’m not the only one upset. Hundreds of petitions have been set up to bring back some retro classics and a handful have even been successful.
Last year, Cadbury announced it’s bringing back the Marble bar (only in Australia, unfortunately), proving that nagging works.
We’re still upset about a few other discontinued chocolate treats though…
These delicious honeycomb and white chocolate balls were last tasted in 2014 and Mars have confirmed they have no intention of bringing them back. It’s a crime against humanity.
Poundland does its own version if you can’t go another minute with eating one. Sure, it’s not the original but they are almost as good.
This white chocolate revelation from Cadbury was taken from us too soon. It first graced the shelves back in 2002 and fizzled away just a few short years after.
You can still get the original in Australia and New Zealand and import it over if you’re that dedicated to the cause. Personally, I’d like to see this in corner shops all around the UK.
There was nothing quite like the feeling of dunking your hand in a box of Celebrations and pulling out a Galaxy Truffle.
That feeling was pure happiness and frankly, we all need it back. They’ve released some sort of knock-off Nigel version but I’m not buying it. We want the originals.
It wasn’t until I started researching this that I discovered Time Out bars had sneakily been taken off our shelves and replaced with a single wafer version called Time Out Wafer.
Clever but you’re not fooling me with this smaller alternative.
Two words we didn’t know we needed putting together; chocolate and crisps. Essentially these bad boys were chocolate Pringles and how iconic were they?
We lost these to the discontinued pile back in 2010 and things haven’t been the same since.
The Mars Delight led a short life, just 4 small years. In part due to the fact that it was one of the most calorific bars ever made and it was released just when we were all getting fit – unfortunate timing.
6,423 signed a petition to bring these back in 2016 but there was no luck.
She is beauty, she is grace! Another bad decision from Cadbury was to remove the Flake Snow from our lives.
Nothing beats the promo of this either, a sponsored photoshoot at Anthea Turner’s wedding?! ICONIC.
Fox’s Echo bars were classic lunch box biscuits. They were discontinued and replaced with an inferior bar that we won’t even give any limelight.
Absolutely partial to a mint one but nothing could beat that mix of white and milk chocolate that would just melt in your mouth.
Cadbury Marble is only back in Australia so it is definitely going in the list of things we need back in the UK.
Marble is quite possibly one of the most missed creations of Cadbury, complete with swirls of milk chocolate, white chocolate and hazelnut praline. Dribbling already.
These rivalled Aero Mint (easily) but unfortunately never proved popular enough, being taken from our shelves back in 2003. Something about that velvety chocolate though…
The best thing you could get with the spare change you’d find down the sofa was a Cadbury Taz or a Freddo. The Taz has been replaced with a caramel Freddo instead, and I’m sorry but it’s just not the same.
This is like an ’80s version of a Twirl. Because I was born in 1996 I can’t comment on this bad boy, but I’ve heard good things and there is a petition to bring it back so they must’ve been popular enough to create an army of fans.
Have we missed any? Let us know in the Facebook comments…
There’s an abandoned bar hidden underneath Manchester’s Victoria Station
Would you dare explore underneath Victoria Station?
The Urban Collective search cities and urban landscapes for hidden, unexplored derelict sites, filming the process so we get to see.
Recently, The Urban Collective headed underneath Manchester’s Victoria Station to see the inner workings beneath the station.
Manchester’s Victoria Train Station opened all the way back in 1844, and was designed to help connect Leeds with the port city of Liverpool via train.
The initial building was designed by the ‘Father of Railways’, George Stephenson, who was heavily involved in the UK’s early rail networks.
The original building was a long, single-storey structure that you can still see just next to the large Arena steps.
By the early 1900s, the station had 17 platforms and a huge façade, designed by William Dawes, which still exists today.
The Urban Collective headed underneath the station via the old station offices in the main building, and descended into the now derelict B.R.S.A club.
The club was an underground bar owned by the British Railway Staff Association, and operated as a typical working men’s club during the ’70s and ’80s.
It’s tucked away below the station and the street itself, with punters heading down for a pint near the top station entrance.
You could also get in via the glass building over the road, which later became a barbers.
The bar, topped with glass, as well as wooden floors and other original features are still intact. There’s even a creepy cellar full of crates and thousands of discarded lager bottles.
Old posters are still on the walls, plus there’s even electricity still supplied which makes the fan above the dance floor occasionally spin.
Members nicknamed their fave spot ‘The Vic Bars’, and train staff regularly attended day and night to see organists and cabaret acts throughout the week.
The club was eventually closed in 1992 and has remained derelict and forgotten ever since.
However, the club unit is now under offer as a potential new club, pub or retail unit, despite the considerable amount of work that needs to be undertaken.
You can check out The Urban Collective on YouTube here.