The Voucher Scheme
There should be wider measures introduced to boost retail spending.
The Chancellor’s announcement of a scheme to help the hospitality and leisure industry is a welcome measure aimed at supporting the sector that is been hardest hit by the pandemic.
Given that household spending on discretionary items has also declined with a net debt repayment by households of £4.6bn in May and footfall at shopping centres only growing at a slow pace, the Government should consider a wider package of measures to boost retail spending.
This immediate action for the hospitality sector shows that the Government will intervene to support the wider economy. A voucher scheme for the retail sector is needed to boost spending more widely. After all, the retail sector employs three million people, and this will give a boost to the economy generally.
Jobs Retention Bonus
The announcement by Rishi Sunak of a Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 for those businesses bringing people off furlough from October is welcome news for the retail sector as it adjusts after reopening. As the threshold for payments being eligible for the scheme are low, it will enable retailers to plan their staffing needs so that they can retain staff while adjusting to customer demand. This will be crucial to a lot of businesses that are not back to pre-COVID-19 trading levels, and cannot afford, or do not actually have the need, to bring back their employees on a full-time basis. This will enable them to keep staff employed in the run up to Christmas. However, the scheme may need to be extended into the new year should consumption not pick up as forecast.