Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a swathe of measures to boost the flailing British economy some of which will provide support to businesses and returns for investors.
Stock pickers could be paid back handsomely for moving quickly and picking up shares in companies that will benefit from the Government's announcements on VAT, stamp duty, energy efficiency grants and food vouchers.
Slashing stamp duty on the first £500,000 of property transaction with immediate effect will provide a much-needed boost to the property market. The holiday will run until May 31 2021. Mr Sunak said nine in 10 buyers would no longer pay any stamp duty.
Nicolas Hyett, of fund shop Hargreaves Lansdown, said most first-time buyers have already been removed from having to pay stamp duty, so the biggest impact will be on higher-priced properties for families.
“This is very much the sweet spot for Britain’s housebuilders and would also be good news for the struggling estate agency industry.
“We think Berkeley Group could be a particular beneficiary given its high average selling price of £677,000 attracts a higher stamp duty bill. Increased new house sales would also be good news for suppliers into the sector – like brick manufacturer Ibstock – which essentially shut down during lockdown,” he said.
Russ Mould, of stock broker AJ Bell, added that estate agents such as Foxtons, Savills and Countrywide would expect a step up in business thanks to the tax cut, especially after May’s disastrous new mortgage applications figure of just 9,273.
"However, the danger is that demand is all crammed into the next few months and business levels then plunge again come April 2021 when the levy returns. Savills' share price was up 2.5pc after the speech, putting it in the top ten performers in the FTSE 250," he said.
Pubs, restaurants and tourism
The Chancellor announced that everyone in the country will get an "eat out to help out" discount throughout August.
Meals will be half price at any participating pub or restaurant, Monday to Wednesday, with a maximum discount of £10 per head.
This should provide support for businesses in the pub and restaurant sector. Mr Hyett said the government’s voucher scheme should give consumer spending a bit of a boost in early August. However, it’s ultimate effects are difficult to judge at this stage as it is the first scheme of its kind.
Hospitality and tourism businesses will also be able to charge less VAT, with the Government reducing the rate from 20pc to 5pc from July 15 to Jan 12 2021. This should boost sales with businesses either able to cut prices to increase demand or keep more of their revenue.
My Hyett said: "We suspect business owners will be more focused on the VAT cut in the short term. This is certainly good news for the struggling casual dining sector, and it’s no surprise to see shares in Restaurant Group, Whitbread and other leisure companies react positively to the statement," he said.
Richard Hunter, of fund shop Interactive Investor, said the voucher programme could prove to be a vital lifeline for restaurants struggling to stay financially afloat amid the Covid-19 disruption.
“The likes of Whitbread, which owns restaurant chains Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, and Mitchells & Butlers, which owns bars O’Neill’s and All Bar One, are set to benefit. Both saw a rise in share price of 1-2pc shortly after the announcement,” he said.
Last week Boris Johnson announced an extra £5bn of infrastructure spending to be directed at schools, roads, hospitals and high streets. Increased infrastructure is good news for the likes of Balfour Beatty, which will likely be involved in delivery the projects, according to Mr Hyett.
“We would sound a note of caution, however, as construction projects are notoriously low margin and 1pc or 2pc is pretty good going. There are already hundreds of billions of pounds worth of projects in the pipeline so even an infrastructure spending plan in the billions will do little to the bottom lines of individual companies,” said Mr Hyett.
Mr Suank also announced a £2bn green home grant. From September, landlords and home owners can apply for vouchers to make houses more energy efficient. Grants will cover at least two-thirds of cost, up to £5,000 per house and up to £10,000 for lower-income households.