Dust down your bucket and spade and search out your cheeky father and son matching Vilebrequin's, there is going to be a holiday this year after all. For those of you who have not joined the alleged 20 million folk who have booked to go to Greece with TUI in the same week in June of this year, you can organise a much-enjoyed 'Staycation' in another house (ie one that is not your current one), as the next James Bond is all set to extend the stamp duty holiday until the end of June.
Don't sniff at this, as it can save you up to £15,000 in tax, which would buy you a bathroom cabinet and some luxuriously piled bath sheets from Harrods. It is thought that this will save many from what is said to be a "cliff edge" which could have put hundreds of thousands of house sales in jeopardy. "Thank the Lord", shouted estate agents; "Saved by Rishi and his magic wand", winked the IKEA spokesperson, whilst standing unnecessarily next to a dolphin and holding a colander (no, we don't understand their ads, either).
Stand down people of London, this announcement is not for you, as it only applies to the purchase of properties up to a value of £500,000 (aka a lean-to and a garden rake in Kensington), but you can still buy both a launderette and the two flats above it in Bolton and have change for a night out at the dogs for the thin end of half a million. The measure is thought to be costing us all £1 billion, but I don't recall being asked about it first.
More expensive is the extension of furlough payments which was due to end on 30 April, but is now to continue until the end of time. That costs £4 billion a month. Then there is the the continued Business Rates holiday (£1 billion a month) and the VAT cut for hospitality (a snip at a mere £200 million a month, even though there is no hospitality right now to be exempt from). I guess once you have bought eight pints and a curry, you may as well go all out and cough up for a Ford Granada and a leather coat from someone called 'GK' in the pub car-park.
The bosses of London Heathrow are all over the Business Rates argument, as the airport needs to turn round the £2 billion of losses it racked up in 2020 and they cannot wait until June to shuttle all of Britain over to Greece.
Meanwhile big news from HSBC, who have announced the vacation of 40 per cent or more of its office space in London and other key cities around the world (and Birmingham) as it predicts a changing workplace for its staff from June (well, July, once we have all sobered up and stopped hugging everyone's Grans). Maybe they will let it to H&M, Europe's second biggest fashion retailer, who have plans to turn its stores into 'online windows' and 'party clothes rental hire' as it looks to not cry Boohoo over spilt profits.