LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak warned of hardship ahead on Wednesday as he set out plans to protect jobs and limit the economic impact of the coronavirus.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak reacts as he leaves Downing Street, in London, Britain July 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
Below are highlights of Sunak’s speech to parliament.
Job retention bonus
“We’re introducing a new policy to reward and incentivise employers who successfully bring furloughed staff back – a new Jobs Retention Bonus.”
“If you’re an employer and you bring back someone who was furloughed – and continuously employ them through to January – we’ll pay you a 1,000 pound bonus per employee.”
“For businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least 520 pounds on average, in each month from November to the end of January.”
“If employers bring back all nine million people who have been on furlough, this would be a 9 billion pound policy to retain people in work. Our message to business is clear: if you stand by your workers, we will stand by you
“The Kickstart Scheme will directly pay employers to create new jobs for any 16 to 24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment.”
“I’m making available an initial 2 billion pounds; enough to fund hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“And I commit today: there will be no cap on the number of places available.”
Eat out discount
“For the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an Eat Out to Help Out discount. Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children.”
“Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within 5 working days.”
Stamp duty property tax
“I have decided today to cut stamp duty.
Right now, there is no stamp duty on transactions below £125,000. Today, I am increasing the threshold to half a million pounds.”
“This will be a temporary cut running until 31st March 2021. And, as is always the case, these changes to stamp duty will take effect immediately.”
Sales tax VAT
“At the moment, VAT on hospitality and tourism is charged at 20%. So I’ve decided, for the next six months, to cut VAT on food, accommodation and attractions.”
“Eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs; Accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites; Attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos; All these and more will see VAT reduced, from next Wednesday until January 12th, from 20% to 5%.”
Green homes grant
“I’m announcing today a new, 2 billion pound Green Homes Grant. From September, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient and create local jobs”
“Leaving the furlough scheme open forever gives people false hope that it will always be possible to return to the jobs they had before. And the longer people are on furlough, the more likely it is their skills could fade, and they will find it harder to get new opportunities.
“It is in no-one’s long term interests for the scheme to continue forever.”
Department of work and pensions
“I’m investing an extra 1.2 billion pounds in DWP, to support millions of people back to work”
Goal of plan
“Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”
“I can tell the House we will produce a Budget and Spending Review in the autumn. And we will deal, too, with the challenges facing our public finances. Over the medium-term, we must, and we will, put our public finances back on a sustainable footing.”
Reporting and photo: Reuters
A night of celestial wonders, luxury, and cosmic inspiration at Anantara Kihavah SKY Observatory by British astronaut Tim Peake
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas celebrated a historic milestone with the exclusive visit of the renowned British astronaut, Tim Peake. On the evening of November 2, Astronaut Peake hosted an exclusive space talk at SKY Observatory, the finest overwater observatory in the Indian Ocean, housing the most powerful telescope in the Maldives.
Perched gracefully over the pristine Maldivian waters, SKY Observatory provided an idyllic setting for this extraordinary event, complemented by a stunning sunset. The exclusive gathering attracted a full house of eager guests to a delightful evening that seamlessly blended science, luxury, and natural beauty.
The evening commenced with a lovely cocktail reception, where guests were serenaded by the soulful tunes of a live saxophone band. Attendees savoured exquisite cocktails and canapés as they eagerly awaited Tim Peake’s presentation.
Tim Peake’s talk unveiled his personal journey, where he shared his path to becoming an astronaut and narrated the rigorous training that astronauts undergo. He provided insights into life in space, the daily challenges faced by astronauts, and the awe-inspiring experiences he encountered during his
historic mission. He also offered a glimpse into his exciting future projects, leaving the audience both inspired and spellbound.
Following Tim’s presentation, an interactive Q&A session allowed guests to engage directly with the British astronaut. The audience posed thoughtful questions, deepening their understanding of astronauts’ unique experiences and the intricacies of space exploration.
The event was further enriched by the presence of the resort’s three SKY gurus, Hammadh Rasheed, Zunnoon Ahmed, and Ali Arushal, who conducted a stargazing session for the guests afterward.
The success of the event was evident in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, who left with a deeper appreciation for space exploration and a memorable evening to cherish.
The evening marked a significant moment in Anantara Kihavah’s history, showcasing the resort’s commitment to offering unique and memorable experiences for its guests. The presence of Tim Peake, a celebrated astronaut and highly accomplished author, added an extraordinary dimension to the resort’s already spectacular offerings.
Tim Peake is a renowned British astronaut who made history as the first official British astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and conduct a spacewalk during his six-month mission. He also achieved the remarkable feat of running the London Marathon from space. Beyond his extraordinary space endeavours, Tim is also a bestselling author with his most recent book Space: A thrilling human history published earlier this month.
An astronomer’s paradise, Baa Atoll in the Maldives, is one of the best places on earth to enjoy stargazing due to its proximity to the equator. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas promises a voyage of discovery on a private Indian Ocean Island, with Sky—an overwater observatory and luxury cocktail bar—providing guests a chance to sip champagne under the stars and explore the Universe.
Visit Maldives website adds atolls segment to showcase diverse regions
Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) has added a new segment to the official Visit Maldives Website specified for atolls showcasing the diversity of the Maldives.
The segment, now live at atolls.visitmaldives.com provides in depth information regarding the different regions of the Maldives, divided by atolls, to refine the traveller’s experience, commencing with an in-depth exploration of Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Atoll.
With 26 atolls, the Maldives offers a wide array of unique accommodations and awe-inspiring travel experiences, and this informative section of our website will serve as a gateway to discover the hidden treasures unique to each area. This falls under MMPRC’s initiatives to encourage tourism growth in all regions of the Maldives, broadening exposure to the diverse tourism products available in the Maldives.
The goal is to elevate Visit Maldives’ digital marketing landscape by showcasing the Maldives as more than just a honeymoon destination with various accommodation options. This initiative is driven by a desire to increase awareness about the distinctive offerings within each of the Maldives’ atolls. It aims to positively shape their perception of the Sunny Side of Life brand by curating engaging content that highlights the unique features of the atolls and diverse experiences available in the islands.
Additionally, the initiative will target the affordable luxury market to promote the Maldives as the most appealing option for short holidays and weekend getaways under a unified Maldives brand umbrella.
MMPRC aims to continue exploring other atolls in the Maldives as well, encouraging growth and tourism development in all regions of the Maldives, building on the foundation we have created to promote the destination beyond the traditional paradigms of sun, sand, and sea.
Delco Mart opens at Crossroads Maldives
Crossroads Maldives, the leading integrated leisure destination in the Maldives, has announced the opening of Delco Mini Mart, a mini supermarket that will transform the visitor experience by offering a one-stop shop for their shopping needs.
Crossroads Maldives has always been dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience, and Delco Mini Mart is the latest addition to their commitment to convenience and customer satisfaction. Delco Mart will be open daily from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, providing visitors with a convenient and hassle-free shopping experience.
Crossroads Maldives is already known for its diverse range of leisure and dining options, including an eloquent beach club at SAii Lagoon Maldives, the iconic Hard Rock Cafe, the signature Lén Be Well Spa, and the star studded line up of restaurants ranging from the Ministry of Crab, Carne Diem Grill, Nihonbashi Blue, Kebab & Curry, Jiao Wu, Kinkao, Kalhu Odi to One Waan. Well-known international brands such as Rip Curl are popular crowd choices and the destination is also complete with, jewelry stores, a photography studio, indoor and outdoor event spaces, a fully-fledged yacht marina and ATM facilities. In addition, visitors can enjoy the services of Best Dives Maldives for diving and watersports excursions and the Maldives Discovery Center for interactive cultural immersion.
Delco Mart’s introduction at Crossroads Maldives underscores the commitment to providing a seamless and enjoyable experience for all guests. Whether you need groceries, snacks, beverages, or any other convenience items, Delco Mini Mart is here to cater to your needs, making sure you have everything you require.
“We are thrilled to introduce Delco Mini Mart to Crossroads Maldives, adding a touch of convenience and variety to our visitors. Our aim is to ensure that every guest’s stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, and Delco Mini Mart is another step toward achieving that goal,” said Yashfa Hassaan — Director of Retail – The Marina at Crossroads Maldives.
Crossroads Maldives continues to bring luxury and leisure experiences closer to the local guests as well as the guests staying at SAii Lagoon Maldives, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. Delco Mart is the latest milestone in the ongoing journey to exceed the expectations of their guests. The doors of Delco Mart are now open, so come and experience the convenience and ease it brings to your stay at Crossroads Maldives.
One of the key advantages of Crossroads Maldives is its daily scheduled ferry services from Male and Hulhumale, which operate several times a day. This makes it easy for visitors to access this remarkable destination, with ferry bookings available online or through the concierge service.
For more information on Crossroads Maldives, please visit the website at crossroadsmaldives.com.
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