Rishi Sunak has set out emergency plans to keep people in work as the coronavirus crisis hits the economy.
The Chancellor unveiled plans to abolish stamp duty on properties up to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland under a temporary measure lasting until March 31 2021.
He also announced an “eat out to help out” plan for dining out in August to boost the hospitality industry. People will be able to get a 50% discount per head from Monday to Wednesday, up to a maximum discount of £10 per diner.
Mr Sunak also cut VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% from July 15 until January 12, a tax cut worth up to £4 billion.
He unveiled the Jobs Retention Bonus, under which firms will be paid £1,000 for each employee they bring back from furlough and continuously employ through to January on an average of at least £520 a month. And he announced a plan for firms to be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 and a new bonus of £1,500 for apprentices over that age.
Mr Sunak said: “We have taken decisive action to protect our economy.
“But people are anxious about losing their jobs, about unemployment rising. We’re not just going to accept this.
“People need to know we will do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work.
“People need to know that although hardship lies ahead, no-one will be left without hope.”
We have been updating you throughout the Chancellor’s address and bringing you reaction from business groups around the country.