Sunday 5 July 2020 1:08 pm

Rishi Sunak considers £500 hand out to every adult

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering plans to hand £500 to every adult and £250 to every child in the country to spend on sectors worst affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The plans, which have been drawn up by left-leaning think tank the Resolution Foundation, would see people handed vouchers to spend on sectors such as hospitality and bricks and mortar retail.

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The scheme could see money topped up on vouchers or travel cards and mobile phones used to pay.

The Observer reported today that the scheme could cost up to £30bn to administer, with the aim of boosting demand in the economy.

Similar schemes have already been used in countries such as China and Malta to aid their respective economic recoveries from the pandemic.

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Sunak will address parliament on Wednesday to deliver his summer economic statement, where he is expected to announce part of his vision for the UK’s post-Covid recovery.

Other potential measures that have been mooted as potential announcements from the chancellor are a temporary VAT cut or one-off cash payments.

Speaking to The Observer, Resolution Foundation research director James Smith said: “Social distancing has huge implications for firms in sectors like retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure that will last into the reopening phase.

“That is why the jobs of so many workers in these sectors are in the firing line. The chancellor’s recovery package on Wednesday should reflect this unique economic challenge.”

It comes as NHS chiefs have slammed Sunak for not providing £10bn of emergency funding, despite previously saying he would give the health service “whatever it needs”.

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NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens allegedly told the Treasury that it needed £10bn to effectively fight Covid-19.

However, negotiations are at a standstill on the funding, according to The Observer.

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