What is the high street voucher scheme and who will be entitled to £500?

8 July 2020, 13:56 | Updated: 8 July 2020, 14:05

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been encouraged to use the scheme to kick start the high street
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been encouraged to use the scheme to kick start the high street. Picture: PA/Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Earlier this week it was reported the Government was considering the 'high street voucher scheme', we take a look at what it is and how it would work.

This week, a think tank has encouraged Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to kick start the failing high street with a voucher scheme.

Resolution Foundation are encouraging the Chancellor to offer every adult and child a certain amount to spend in struggling high street stores to help those hit worst by the pandemic.

While it has been reported Rishi Sunak was considering the idea, on Wednesday July 8, in the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not mention the think tank's proposal.

Instead, he announced a different voucher scheme, in a bid to get the retail sector back up and running.

The government has put in place the new 'help out to eat out' scheme, which will give customers a 50% discount when they eat out.

For all businesses which sign up to the scheme, there will be a maximum discount of £10 a head on sit down meals, including children.

But what do we know about the high street voucher scheme, will it still go ahead and who would be entitled to what?

READ MORE: Government announces 'help out to eat out' scheme giving customers 50% off restaurant bills in August

Chancellor of the Exchequer is expected to give a speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday
Chancellor of the Exchequer addressed the House of Commons on Wednesday . Picture: PA

What is the 'high street voucher' scheme?

A think tank is proposing that Rishi Sunak bring in the 'high street voucher' scheme, which would see every child and adult in the UK given a certain amount to spend in high street stores.

Resolution Foundation is proposing £500 vouchers are given to adults, and £250 voucher given to children.

Research Director at the Resolution Foundation, James Smith, said that social distancing has had a huge impact on firms in sectors like retail, hospitality and tourism, that will "last into the forthcoming reopening phase".

He added that the Chancellor should "get Britain spending in places where it is need most".

He went on: “A universal ‘High Street Voucher’ scheme – worth £500 per adult and £250 per child – to be spent only in these sectors would kickstart demand in the right parts of our economy, boost living standards and deliver targeted support to the businesses that need help the most.

“Rishi Sunak has already shown that big, bold measures like the Job Retention Scheme are welcome and necessary in the current economic climate.

“He should take this same approach as we enter the crucial recovery phase of the crisis.”

READ MORE: Government urged to consider £500 voucher for every UK adult to help high streets

Adults would be given £500 to spend on the high street
Adults would be given £500 to spend on the high street. Picture: Getty

Who will be entitled to a high street voucher?

Rishi Sunak did not propose the high street voucher scheme in his announcement in the House of Commons on Wednesday, July 8.

Instead, he announced a £1,000 bonus for all businesses that bring back furloughed staff, a cut in VAT and a promise to give everyone in the UK vouchers for money off restaurant bills in August.

For now, it is unknown whether the Government will still consider the 'high street voucher' scheme people got excited about earlier in the week.

If the think tank's idea was to go ahead, every adult living in the UK would be given a £500 voucher, which children will be given £250.

READ MORE: Homeowners could get vouchers worth £5,000 to help with insulation costs