Shoppers across the country could receive a ?150 voucher to spend on the High Street after lockdown, according to reports. Adults would each get the Government handout with children also getting ?75, The Mirror reports. The money would be designed to boost the UK economy after a year of lockdowns.
It would be free to spend in retailers, set to open in the second stage of England's lockdown lifting roadmap from April 12. The cash could also be available across the UK when similar easing happens. It could be announced in The Budget by Chancellor Rishi Sunak next week.
The Sun has dubbed the scheme Shop Out To Help Out, while The Mail says it is under consideration. Similar schemes have already been rolled out elsewhere - including Northern Ireland and Jersey. The ?9bn scheme has been proposed to the Treasury by the Resolution Foundation think-tank.
The think tank's report, 'How to throw good money after good', reads: "These vouchers could be spent in physical non-food retail, where there is more likelihood that consumption is likely to re-bound more slowly than in other services such as pubs and restaurants. "This is likely to be the case, with more survey respondents reporting plans to increase their spending on restaurants and pubs after the pandemic than decrease spending. "But roughly equal proportions of respondents suggesting they would increase or decrease their spending on clothes and other retail.
"This temporary voucher scheme would slow but not halt the longer-term trend towards online retail." James Smith, Research Director at the Resolution Foundation, said: "The Chancellor is approaching his second Budget at a pivotal moment for the economy, with the country likely to emerge out of the biggest economic downturn in over three centuries in the coming months. "But while in the US debate has focused on President Biden's ?1.9 trillion stimulus plan, the UK debate has got stuck on how to withdraw support.
"Instead, the Chancellor should combine extending existing support with fresh stimulus once restrictions are lifted to deliver a ?100 billion plan to boost Britain's recovery. "That is the scale of ambition needed to increase the chances that Britain sees a strong recovery from its pandemic-induced slump, and to ensure the recovery reaches firms and families across the UK." The Chancellor is also reported to be looking at bringing back the Eat Out To Help Out scheme where people get up to ?10 towards a meal in a pub or restaurant.
The Budget could also see the cost of alcohol in pubs slashed, the 5p rise in petrol prices scrapped and the ?20 a week Universal Credit bonus kept.
The cut in the price of VAT for hospitality businesses looks set to stay, as does furlough and other business support packages.