Measures to boost the economy welcomed
Businesses across the county have welcomed the package of measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to stimulate the economy.
They include a stamp duty land tax holiday, meaning that buyers of homes valued at up to £500,000 will no longer pay any stamp duty on the purchase.
Simon Bell, of property specialist Belvoir Telford, said: “These measures will help revitalise and support a vibrant housing market.
"When property transactions nationally were down around 50 per cent across the UK in May, this will certainly encourage buyers and sellers at a time when they may well have been considering delaying a move.
"The stamp duty changes will end next March so we look forward to hearing what long term support the Chancellor has to offer the property sector with challenging economic times ahead.”
Other measures outlined to help businesses recover from the Covid-19 lockdown include a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme which will help employers create jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment.
Businesses will also be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 between August 2020 and January 2021.
Karen Whitehead, of KEW Accountants in Telford, said: "Any funding for the training of young people has to be welcomed, but as with many government announcements we will have to wait for the details of how this scheme will work.
"From our experience of working with small businesses it's difficult for them to offer job placements, often because of a lack of space or equipment.
"If you are employing someone full time then you invest in a new desk, chair and computer but if they are only going to be with you for six months, then firms may not want to go to that expense.
"However, it's been well-documented that the accountancy profession is one of many areas that faces a skills shortage, so if this helps give young people a foothold on their career ladder it will be very positive for the future."
Meanwhile, Telford-based heating specialist Viessmann has welcomed the announcement of a new Green Homes Grant.
The Government will issue vouchers of up to £5,000 per household and up to £10,000 for low income households, to cover two-thirds of the cost of home improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation, eco-friendly boilers, heat pumps, double or triple-glazed windows, low-energy lighting and energy-efficient doors.
Darren McMahon, Viessmann marketing director, said: “We know the Government wants UK homeowners to switch from fossil-fuelled boilers to renewable technologies such as heat pumps, to achieve carbon reduction targets.
“Yet many properties require significant investment in home improvements, such as insulation, before low temperature heating systems can provide expected levels of comfort while running in an energy-efficient way.
“The Green Homes Grant addresses both challenges and caters for all types of property. It promotes a ‘fabric first’ approach, acknowledging that the best way to save energy in the home is to reduce heat loss, and it also contributes to, or covers, the cost of the heat pump to ensure overall heating system efficiency. We believe that vouchers of up to £5,000 per household will positively impact consumer behaviour and stimulate heat pump sales that have not been forthcoming for financial reasons.
“We also welcome the initiatives designed to improve the energy efficiency of public sector buildings and the decarbonisation of social housing."
Wayne Gethings, group chief executive at The Wrekin Housing Group, added: "It was great to hear the Chancellor acknowledge the role of housing in promoting economic growth, and we are committed to playing our role in supporting the local economy.
"I welcome the announcements to remove stagnation in the property market as well as a plan to decarbonise social housing. This decarbonisation plan could have a real long term benefit for everyone. Boosting the green economy helps us in our commitment to reduce energy bills for our customers and deliver more much needed local affordable housing, while also enabling the country to meet its carbon reduction targets. I look forward to contributing to the detail of the plan.
"As a proud employer of trainees and apprentices it was also good to hear about the introduction of the Kickstart programme. The programme will prioritise high value sectors such as social care and construction which both vital to our organisation."
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