Rishi Sunak’s new challenge as £1.75bn grant plea made to save High Street stores: The Yorkshire Post says
There will be no one more conscious than the Richmond MP of the eventual need to balance the nation’s books in the wake of unprecedented financial commitments but with the end of the furlough scheme less than two months away, further targeted interventions by the Treasury are likely to be required to prevent mass unemployment in the autumn.
One such suggestion from five trade bodies representing retail, leisure and hospitality businesses is the introduction of what they are terming a ‘Property Bounceback Grant’ which would see the Government cover 50 per cent of unpaid rents across the sectors for six months.
According to their calculations, such a move could cost in the region of £1.75bn - but would save 375,000 jobs and generate £7bn in tax revenue that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
In light of more bleak figures for the High Street and warnings many shops are struggling to survive as lockdown is gradually eased and lower sales are combined with rising costs, the idea deserves serious consideration. While industry bodies will always fight the corner of those they represent, Mr Sunak and the Treasury would do well to conduct their own analysis to see whether the potential medium and long-term benefits of such a grant would outweigh the obvious short-term costs.
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