Chancellor unveils new measures to kickstart rural economy

The measures aim to boost the rural economy, in which tourism plays a central and core role
The measures aim to boost the rural economy, in which tourism plays a central and core role

Rishi Sunak has announced a suite of measures designed to help sectors recover from Covid-19, including a drop in the VAT rate on rural tourism and hospitality firms.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer today (8 July) announced a £30 billion support package, with specific measures to help the countryside.

Businesses will be paid £1,000 for every worker who returns from furlough who is still employed at the end of January 2021.

Apprenticeships will also be supported by bonuses for companies. Firms will get £2,000 from the government for each apprentice they take on.



Companies taking on apprentices aged over 25 will be given £1,500, Mr Sunak said.

The stamp duty threshold will increase from £125,000 to between £300,000 and £500,000 for six months in a bid to boost the housing market.



In particular, rural groups have welcomed the government's move to cut VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% from next Wednesday (15 July).

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said the announcement would help diversified farm businesses and rural tourism firms 'fight back' from a 'devastating start of the year'.

CLA president, Mark Bridgeman said: “Until now VAT on tourism businesses has been much higher than in other comparable countries, putting domestic tourism businesses at a competitive disadvantage to holiday providers overseas.

"This welcome change from government means more people will be able to afford to enjoy a holiday in the Great British countryside whilst also helping to revive rural economies across the country."

The Countryside Alliance welcomed the chancellor's measures, saying the government had 'listened to the concerns of the countryside'.

Sarah Lee, the group's head of policy, said: "Measures announced today will help the rural economy, in which tourism plays a central and core role.

‘The chancellor has listened to calls from the Countryside Alliance that if the countryside is to open, it must be able to fully open.



"At a time when so many in rural areas have felt incredibly anxious about the future of their business, these announcements make it possible for businesses to open and welcome all."