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Chancellor gives diners 50% off on eating out

Diners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August under government plans to bolster the embattled hospitality sector.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the “eat out to help out” discount as part of a series of measures to restart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The deal means people can get up to £10 off per head if they eat out between Monday and Wednesday.

Mr Sunak also said VAT on hospitality and tourism would drop to 5%.

The reduction, from 20%, will be in place for the next six months.

As he announced the discount, the chancellor said the UK was facing a “unique moment” because of Covid-19, adding: “We need to be creative.”

Pubs and restaurants reopened on Saturday after more than three months in lockdown, with safety measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr Sunak sought to reassure the public that it was safe to dine out. “I know people are cautious about going out. But we wouldn’t have lifted the restrictions if we didn’t think we could do so, safely,” he said.

The discount will not apply to alcohol, but to food and soft drinks up to £10 per person.

The Treasury said the 50% discount can be used unlimited times during August and applies to participating restaurants, cafés, and pubs across the UK.

Mr Sunak said the plan was aimed at getting “customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs” and protecting “the 1.8 million people who work in them”.

Businesses that want to take part in the scheme will have to register through a website that opens on Monday 13 July.

Mr Sunak said: “Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”

He added that the cut in VAT, from 20% to 5%, would apply to “eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs; accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites [and] attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos”.

The lower tax rate will be implemented next Wednesday, 15 July, and will remain in place until 12 January 2021.

Caroline Roylance, owner of The George pub at Fordingbridge, Hampshire, said she would be applying for the “eat out to help out” scheme.

The pub reopened on Wednesday after being closed since 23 March, when the coronavirus lockdown was implemented.

She said the discount and the VAT cut “will help us make it through the next few months, because trade is unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels for some time”.

“Saying that, it’s been surprisingly busy today, which is encouraging, but it’s still not July busy,” said Mrs Roylance. “It’s a start though.”

‘Challenges ahead’

UK Hospitality, the trade body which represents the industry, “warmly” welcomed the moves, as well as Mr Sunak’s plans to stem unemployment through schemes such as creating thousands of job placements for young people.

However, UK Hospitality’s chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “This doesn’t mean we are out of the woods and there are still significant challenges ahead.

“The biggest of these is the spectre of rent liabilities, which many businesses are still facing from their closure period. We are going to need government support on this before too long.”

Meanwhile, the exclusion of alcohol from the “eat out to help out” discount hit some pub groups’ share prices.

Mitchells & Butler’s share price jumped by 7.3% to 175p towards the end of Mr Sunak’s statement, when he revealed the VAT cut for the hospitality and leisure industries, as well as the dining out discount.

But once it became clear it did not include alcohol, Mitchell & Butler’s share price fell “just as quickly as it spiked up”, said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Marston’s share price also dropped 6.1% to 48.98p. JD Wetherspoon’s share price fell 2% to 986p.

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Coronavirus: What the chancellor’s summer statement means for you

Coronavirus has dealt a blow to incomes, job prospects and our future prosperity.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered a summer statement, outlining his ambitions for a recovery from the economic harm done by the virus.

This is how it might affect your finances.

Jobs and wages

Policies announced by the chancellor on homes, tax and insulation are, in many ways, dwarfed by the prospects for people’s jobs.

Wages remain key for the health of an individual’s finances.

Mr Sunak announced various schemes to give incentives to employers to bring furloughed employees back to work, to encourage them to employ young workers, and to improve skills training.

Eating out and going out

The sales tax – VAT – included in the cost of food, accommodation and attractions will be cut until mid-January from 20% to 5%

The temporary cut should see prices fall when eating out or going out, which should help those whose income has been affected by the virus.

However, it is not clear how much benefit consumers will see.

For example, lots of people are staying away from holidays and attractions at the moment, worried about the virus and their ability to spend money. There is also a question over whether there is the capacity to let them in, given social distancing.

Another point of debate is whether these businesses will pass on the VAT cut in the form of lower prices.

Many in the sector will consider this an opportunity to shore up the finances of their ailing businesses. This means they may, in effect, keep the extra money by not cutting their prices.

The chancellor said that there will be discounts of up to £10 per head for anyone eating out at participating restaurants from Mondays to Wednesdays in the month of August.

Diners who often make use of money off vouchers may find this mirrors their normal discount.

Upfront costs when buying a home

Until now, in England and Northern Ireland, stamp duty has been paid on land or property sold for £125,000 or more. There are different rates and systems in Scotland and Wales.

Buyers usually pay their duty based on the price on the day the sale is completed, and they have to give the money to HM Revenue and Customs within 14 days. Now, the chancellor has said this threshold in England and Northern Ireland will increase – with immediate effect – to £500,000 until 31 March.

He said that, on average, people buying a home would save £4,500. Current homeowners moving on could see a saving of up to £14,999.

The housing market, as with the rest of the economy, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown meant activity slowed sharply, with sales at half the levels of a year earlier.

The idea is that housing chains will get moving again, as people make the most of the stamp duty holiday. That would be good for everyone on that chain, and for the UK economy as a whole (of which the housing sector is a key part).

Yet, back in 2012, the then-chancellor George Osborne said a stamp duty holiday had been ineffective in helping people to buy a home when he cancelled a similar scheme.

There is also a limit on how much first-time buyers would benefit from this.

Some 16% of sales in England were not liable for stamp duty, even before now. Many would be first-time buyers.

Before the chancellor’s announcement, first-time buyers paid no tax on properties up to £300,000 and 5% on any portion between £300,000 and £500,000. So the new stamp duty holiday would not benefit many of those young, new buyers directly.

Those buying homes for more than £500,000, or second homes, will still have to pay stamp duty, but their total bill will be lower as a result of these changes.

Home improvements

Mr Sunak will not pay to paint the kitchen, but there will be help with the cost of insulating your home, including double glazing, in England.

In the scheme, which will start in September, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy. This will be paid as a voucher when the work is approved.

For example, a homeowner of a semi-detached or end-of-terrace house could install cavity wall and floor insulation for about £4,000 – the homeowner would pay £1,320 while the government would contribute £2,680.

Low-income households could receive a bigger contribution.

The move was announced in the build-up to the speech, and will allow landlords to benefit, which could eventually see tenants’ gas and electricity bills look better than they would otherwise have done.

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‘Rishi Sunak: Apprentices have been overlooked’

Young people across the UK have had their work, studies and lives upended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many are working from home, while others have been furloughed or even made redundant.

There could be more than one million young workers who are without a job, if the overall UK level of unemployment goes up from the current 4% of workers to 10%, according to the Resolution Foundation think-tank.

On top of that, under-30s have been hardest hit by a fall in their income during lockdown as more of their money goes on essentials.

So what did they think of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech on Wednesday?

‘Apprentices have been overlooked’

Emma-Jayne is an apprentice chef from Dorset, earning £5 per hour.

She is one of the many workers who were furloughed in the hospitality sector. The scheme was introduced by the government to minimise coronavirus-related job losses, and it pays 80% of staff salaries up to £2,500 a month.

Although restaurants in England have since been allowed to reopen, Emma-Jayne has only gone back to work part-time.

While the chancellor announced that firms in England will receive cash bonuses for hiring new apprentices from 1 August, Emma-Jayne feels she’s being “overlooked”.

“I’ve only just been able to pay my rent and bills on furlough payments,” she says. “As well as the business receiving that bonus, the apprentice should get something to support them.”

She also expressed concern about the government giving diners 50% off their food bills in August.

“The voucher is all well and good if the UK was clear of Covid-19, but it’s not.

“Hospitality desperately needs a boost. But in that same breath, the last thing any business needs is for their staff or customers to be put at risk of infection.”

‘Carers should be recognised’

Nairn McDonald, 24, is a full-time carer for his mum and 21-year-old brother. He says that during lockdown they’ve been shielding.

“Now they can’t get out, my role has changed. I’m also picking up prescriptions, doing more errands – so it’s a bit more labour intensive.”

Costs have also been adding up. Nairn relies on universal credit, the benefit for working-age people in the UK, which he says doesn’t “really go a long way”.

As part of his speech on Wednesday, the chancellor announced the “kickstart” plan, which will subsidise six-month work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on universal credit, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Nairn points out that it’s crucial that the scheme is “flexible” for carers. He also worries about the type of work to be subsidised.

“I was so happy to be the first in my family to go to university. I wanted to get a decent job with a decent wage, but it’s not clear what’s on offer with the scheme.

“There’s also no way that I could think of employment if the risk of bringing Covid-19 back to my household is quite high.”

‘No help for renters’

Razzia Gafur, 24, moved to London after finishing her university studies two years ago. But when lockdown started, she decided to isolate with her partner and his family just outside of Leeds.

“I only packed a weekend bag, and I’ve been here for three to four months now!”

Razzia has since asked her estate agent if she could exit the tenancy agreement, as she’s spending £700 per month on rent and bills on a property she hasn’t been living in.

“They would only let me out of my tenancy if I found a replacement tenant,” Razzia says, adding that it was difficult to find anyone to take on the flat during lockdown.

She wanted the chancellor to do more for tenants in the private rented sector.

“To be honest, I can’t say I’m disappointed because I didn’t expect any help from the government,” she says.

“It’s definitely solidified the thought that I should be looking to buy my own property, as renting has put me in a more difficult situation.”

She adds that that government should use lockdown as an opportunity to educate first-time buyers about the different types of schemes that exist to help them get on the housing ladder.

Although the chancellor announced a stamp duty holiday for property sales up to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland, first-time buyers pay no tax up to £300,000.

‘No furlough scheme extension for the arts’

Georgia Barks from Peterborough has also been furloughed. The theatre she works at has been closed since the pandemic took hold earlier this year.

While the government has announced a £1.57bn emergency support package to help protect the future of theatres, galleries and museums, “it should have been done sooner”, Georgia says.

“When we all looked for entertainment during lockdown, we turned to Netflix, we turned to TV, and to theatre live-streams – we all turned to the arts.”

Georgia believes that the chancellor should have extended the furlough scheme, which is due to finish at the end of October, covering costs for theatres which have no confirmed reopening date as of yet.

“There are no shows for people to come see and there is a drop in future bookings because people are waiting to see if dates get moved again.

“It’s ridiculous to say [theatres] must contribute when they have no income to do so,” she says.

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Key points as Sunak pledges £1k for each furloughed employee brought back to work

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a “plan for jobs” to stimulate Britain’s battered economy.

Here are the key points:

EATING OUT DISCOUNT

  • In August, everyone in the country will be given an “eat out to help out” discount – 50% off at participating restaurants, cafes and pubs. It applies for a maximum discount of £10 per head and can be used from Mondays to Wednesdays
  • Businesses can claim the money back, with funds in their bank account within five working days
  • The scheme, described as the first of its kind, is designed to help an industry employing 1.8 million people







Sunak explains ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme

VAT CUT

  • VAT on food, accommodation and attractions will be cut for the next six months from 20% to 5% – a “£4bn catalyst” for the sector designed to protect 2.4 million jobs
  • The cut – from next Wednesday until 12 January – covers food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, accommodation in hotels, B&Bs and caravan sites, and attractions such as cinemas, theme parks and zoos
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Pubs and restaurants will see VAT cut

STAMP DUTY HOLIDAY

  • The threshold for paying stamp duty will be raised temporarily from £125,000 to £500,000 until 31 March 2021, resulting in the average stamp duty bill falling by £4,500
  • The measure, designed to boost confidence in the housing market after a slump in transactions, is expected to mean nearly nine out of ten people buying a main home this year paying no duty at all
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A stamp duty holiday is designed to boost the housing market

WORK

  • A jobs retention bonus will reward employers who bring back workers from furlough with £1,000 per employee – it will cost £9bn if all nine million of those temporarily laid off come back to work
  • Government’s furlough scheme “cannot and should not go on for ever” and will wind down through to October
  • £1.2bn pledged to Department for Work and Pensions “to support millions of people back to work”
  • Firms will be paid £1,000 to take on trainees, with £100m pledged to fund places in high-demand sectors such as engineering, construction and social care
  • £2bn made available for “Kickstart” scheme for young people – and no cap on the number of places available
  • Kickstart scheme will pay employers to create new jobs for hundreds of thousands of 16-24 year olds at risk of long-term unemployment – a minimum of 25 hours per week paid at at least the national minimum wage







Chancellor unveils £1k ‘job retention bonus’

GREEN MEASURES

  • Green measures totalling £3bn aim to make 650,000 homes more energy efficient, save households £300 a year on bills and support 140,000 jobs
  • £1bn of funding to improve the energy efficiency of public sector buildings
  • A £2bn green homes grant will deliver vouchers to homeowners and landlords to make their homes more energy efficient

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Eating out discount, stamp duty cut and bonuses for firms – Sunak acts to kickstart economy

Britons eating out will get discounted food, house buyers will pay less stamp duty and companies will get bonuses for retaining workers under the chancellor’s plans to kickstart the UK economy.

In his summer economic update to the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak warned the UK is facing “profound economic challenges” as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The chancellor admitted Britons are anxious about losing their jobs and rising unemployment, with the UK economy having shrunk 25% in just two months – the same amount it grew in the previous 18 years.

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Britons will receive discounts on eating out under the chancellor’s plans

But Mr Sunak told MPs: “We’re not just going to accept this. People need to know we will do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work.

“People need to know that although hardship lies ahead, no one will be left without hope.”

He vowed to turn the UK’s national recovery “into millions of stories of personal renewal” as he unveiled a £30bn package of measures.

These include:

  • A £1,000 bonus for each worker that companies bring back from furlough and employ through to January next year;
  • A “kickstart scheme” to directly pay firms to create jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds;
  • Cash for businesses to take on trainees and apprentices;
  • An eight-month temporary cut in stamp duty, with no charge on property transactions below £500,000;
  • A cut in VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% until 12 January;
  • An “Eat Out to Help Out” discount of up to £10 per head to get Britons back to restaurants, cafes and pubs.

After announcing what he dubbed a “plan for jobs”, Mr Sunak told the Commons: “We will not be defined by this crisis, but by our response to it.

“It is an unambiguous choice to make this moment meaningful for our country in a way that transcends the frustration and loss of recent months.

“It is a plan to turn our national recovery into millions of stories of personal renewal.”

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House buyers have seen stamp duty cut until March next year

In his announcement of an immediate cut to stamp duty, which will last until 31 March next year, Mr Sunak revealed he was lifting the threshold on paying stamp duty from – currently – property transactions above £125,000 to transactions above £500,000.

He told MPs: “The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500. And nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year, will pay no stamp duty at all.”

And, saying he is ready to “act with a plan for jobs”, Mr Sunak also announced he will pay companies £1,000 for each employee they bring back from the government’s jobs retention scheme, which has supported more than nine million workers but is due to end in October.








Sunak explains ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme

He said the new bonus scheme could cost around £9bn if every furloughed employee was retained by their firms, telling company bosses: “If you stand by your workers, we will stand by you.”

The chancellor added: “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 bonus per employee.

“It’s vital people aren’t just returning for the sake of it – they need to be doing decent work.

“So for businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January – the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in national insurance.”

In what has been described as a “mini-Budget”, the chancellor also presented plans to get pubs, restaurants, cafes and B&Bs “bustling again”.

For the next six months, from 15 July to 12 January, Mr Sunak will cut VAT from 20% to 5% on food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, as well as accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, and attractions such as cinemas, theme parks and zoos.

The chancellor also hailed a “creative” scheme to give everyone in the country an “Eat Out to Help Out” discount during August.

“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,” he said.

Businesses will then be able to claim the money back, with Mr Sunak telling MPs that such a scheme “has never been tried in the UK before”.

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Having warned that younger people will be “hardest hit” by the COVID-19 crisis, the chancellor confirmed plans for a £2bn “Kickstart Scheme”.

Firms will be paid by the Treasury to employ people aged 16-24, for 25 hours of work a week for up to six months.

The chancellor will pay employers the entire cost of the minimum wage for those they give temporary jobs to under the scheme, which is open to people on Universal Credit being helped by a “work coach”.

The Treasury expects each young person employed to cost them around £6,000-£7,000 to pay this salary, which is currently £4.55 for those under 18, £6.45 for those aged 18-20 and £8.20 for those aged 21-24.

Image:
Theme parks and zoos are among the businesses that will benefit from the VAT cut

For the next six months, the government will also pay employers to create new apprenticeships, with a new payment of £2,000 per apprentice and a £1,500 bonus for businesses to hire apprentices aged 25 and over.

In addition, firms will be paid £1,000 to take on new trainees.

Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds urged the government to get its test, track and isolate programme for limiting coronavirus infections “working properly”, as she warned that “fear is hurting our economy”.

“The best the government can do to boost demand is to give consumers and workers the confidence and psychological security that they can go out to work, to shop, and to socialise in safety,” she said.

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Ms Dodds also called for Mr Sunak to abandon a “one size fits all approach” to withdrawing support schemes for furloughed and self-employed workers.

“We need a strategy for the scheme to become more flexible so it can support those businesses forced to close again because of additional localised lockdowns,” she said.

“There is still time to avoid additional floods of redundancy notices. It is the government’s duty to help Britain through this.”

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VAT cut and state-subsidised meals risk creating problems later

The single most welcome measure in the chancellor’s summer statement, so far as businesses will be concerned, was the VAT reduction on food, accommodation and attractions.

It is something the hospitality sector, which has been battered by COVID-19, had been seeking long before the pandemic.

The industry has, for many years, been begging to receive the favourable tax treatment received by its equivalent in continental Europe.

The danger for Rishi Sunak – as with other giveaways, such as the free school meals scheme unveiled in response to the footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign – is that once these policies are in place, it is difficult to withdraw them subsequently.

Stand by howls of anguish in six months’ time when Mr Sunak seeks to remove his temporary VAT cut.








Key points: All the chancellor’s measures

More intriguing was the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme unveiled by the chancellor.

As Mr Sunak accepted, this is something never tried before in this country, so no one can predict how it will turn out.

More from Business

One concern, though, is that it will merely bring forward spending on meals out that would have taken place anyway.

And it may even cancel them out: former chief executives of restaurant chains like Pizza Express will testify that, once punters are lured in by vouchers and money-off deals, it is very difficult to persuade them to come back and pay full price again.

The danger is that these schemes will merely tide over the many struggling restaurant businesses up and down the country for a few more months before they finally pull down the shutters in the autumn.

Other measures were well telegraphed.

Mr Sunak accepted that the Job Retention – or furlough – Scheme could not go on forever due to its cost.








Chancellor unveils £1k ‘job retention bonus’

Yet his solution, lobbing employers £1,000 bonuses for each employee retained after returning from furlough, resembles a slightly less costly alternative approach towards keeping down joblessness.

Employers, though, may be tempted to let go employees who have been on furlough and replace them with the 16-24 year-olds whose wages the government plans to subsidise through its ‘Kickstart’ Scheme.

The money doesn’t stop there: employers are also being offered cash to create new apprenticeships. Mr Sunak was too polite to say that this probably will be more effective than the Apprenticeship Levy introduced by his predecessor-but-two, George Osborne, a bureaucratic nightmare that was widely loathed by employers.

That was not the only policy initiative to bring back memories of policy initiatives of past chancellors aimed at solving seemingly-intractable solutions.

The £2bn Green Homes Grant was reminiscent of the loft insulation grants about which Gordon Brown used to regularly drone in his numerous interminable budget statements.

The temporary increase in stamp duty thresholds, heavily leaked, will have some benefits to stimulate growth through what economists call “multiplier effects”.

While being welcomed by homebuyers, it is not without risk, as it could stoke up demand for homes while not adding a single home to housing supply. Worse still, it could create bottlenecks higher up the housing market, where stamp duty kicks in at a brutal rate.








Everyone to get a ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ discount

And it will do nothing to tackle a more intractable problem faced by many trying to get on the housing ladder in the first place – scraping together a deposit when interest rates on savings accounts are negligible.

There were also some striking absences. The biggest was the lack of any action on employers’ national insurance contributions. This statement was supposed to be all about keeping people in employment. So it is odd that the biggest single deterrent to employment – employers’ NICs – was not touched.

A key question many will have, as public sector debt piles up, is how all this will be paid for. This was not addressed because this was not a formal budget statement with no forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

The chancellor observed that “over the medium term we must and will put the public finances on a sustainable footing”.

But, for now, that is a job for another day.

In the meantime, enjoy your state-subsidised pizzas, curries and burgers.

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Café Rouge and Bella Italia owner falls into administration

The owner of High Street restaurant chains Café Rouge and Bella Italia has gone into administration.

Ninety one Casual Dining Group outlets will close immediately, and 1,900 of the firm’s 6,000 staff will lose their jobs.

Administrators Alix Partners are seeking offers for all or parts of the remaining business.

There have been thousands of job losses announced this week as the coronavirus continues to batter the UK economy.

Casual Dining Group, which also owns the Las Iguanas chain, said it hoped a new owner could save the firm.

“We are acutely aware of our duty to all employees and recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for them,” chief executive James Spragg said.

“Working alongside the administrators we will do everything we can to support them through this process with a view to preserving as much employment as we are able to.”

Joint administrator Clare Kennedy, of Alix Partners, said: “Our immediate priorities are to assist those whose employment has been affected by today’s announcement and to secure a sale for the group to protect jobs.”

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The Rock ranks as Instagram’s ‘most valuable star’

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has topped Instagram’s rich list as the celebrity thought to be able to charge more than any one else for a sponsored post.

The wrestler-turned-actor could charge advertisers more than $1m (£790,000) per post last year, according to the social media marketing firm Hopper HQ.

The Fast and Furious star knocked make-up entrepreneur Kylie Jenner off the top spot.

She has 182 million Instagram followers, while he has 187 million.

UK-based company Hopper HQ, which runs social media accounts on behalf of companies and individuals, published its first Instagram rich list in 2017.

The rankings and cost per post were arrived at after speaking with so-called social media “influencers” themselves, along with brands and marketing companies, and using publicly available pricing information to estimate how much each account could charge.

However, marketers tend to be secretive about how much they pay, or the posts may be part of a wider deal – as is often the case with A-list celebrities or sports stars – so the exact amounts are not known.

Other high value personalities on its list for 2019 included footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who was worth $889,000 per post, and socialite Kim Kardashian West, who could charge $858,000.

Earlier this year, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was crowned by Forbes as the highest-paid actor in the world, having earned nearly $90m last year before tax.

Outside of his film work, the action star has a major commercial partnership with Under Armour, the US sports brand he signed with in 2016.

He has also been sponsored by tech giant Apple and the Norwegian bottled water brand Voss, in which he holds a stake.

However, his current list of endorsement deals on Instagram appears surprisingly short.

Scrolling through his feed, aside from selfies of the muscle-bound actor working out, most of The Rock’s recent posts promote his own Tequila brand, Teremana.

Other than that, his promotional posts are largely for new episodes of The Titans, an NBC TV series which he hosts, or films in which he stars, such as upcoming DC Comics feature Black Adam.

The 10 celebrities who can charge the most per Instagram post

1. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, 187m followers – just over $1m per post

2. Kylie Jenner, 182m followers – $986,000 per post

3. Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, 225m followers – $889,000 per post

4. Socialite Kim Kardashian, 176m followers – $858,000 per post

5. Pop star Ariana Grande, 191m followers – $853,000 per post

6. Actress and singer Selena Gomez, 180m followers – $848,000 per post

7. Pop star Beyoncé Knowles, 149m followers – $770,000 per post

8. Pop star Justin Bieber, 139m followers – $747,000 per post

9. Pop star Taylor Swift, 135m followers – $722,000 per post

10. Footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, 139m followers – $704,000 per post

Source: Hopper HQ

“Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has had an incredible year as he continues to dominate Hollywood with blockbuster hits, including Fast & Furious and the second Jumanji film,” said Mike Bandar, co-founder of Hopper HQ.

“It was particularly interesting to see the star rise in Instagram fame this year as he moved up six places in the list and overtook reigning champion Kylie Jenner.”

In May, Forbes magazine removed reality TV star and cosmetics entrepreneur Kylie Jenner from its list of billionaires, accusing her family of inflating the value of her makeup business.

This year was the first time in four years in which a Jenner or Kardashian wasn’t top of Hopper HQ’s Instagram celebrity rich list.

Influencers must make clear an Instagram post is an advert if they were paid to publish it or received gifts in return.

However, some have been criticised for a lack of transparency.

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US firms create record 4.8 million jobs in June

The US economy created jobs at a record pace in June as firms took on more staff after the coronavirus downturn.

Payrolls surged 4.8 million, the most since the Labor Department began keeping records in 1939, helped by the reopening of factories and restaurants.

It follows May’s jobs rebound, when 2.5 million joined the labour market, and comes after consumer spending data saw a jump in activity.

But a recent spike in Covid-19 cases has raised fears for continued growth.

June’s rise is far higher than the three million jobs that many economists forecast would be created last month.

However, separate Labor Department data also showed that in the week ending 27 June, initial claims for unemployment fell only slightly, to 1.43 million, on the previous week.

Oxford Economics called it a “worryingly small decline”.

Companies, including in populous states such as California, Florida and Texas, plan to scale back or delay reopening because of the fresh coronavirus outbreaks, which would hold back hiring.

This week, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged the rebound in activity, saying the economy had “entered an important new phase”. But he warned that continuing growth would depend on “our success in containing the virus”.

And despite two months in a row of jobs growth, employment is still about 15 million below its pre-pandemic level, with the jobless rate just above 11%.

‘Bumpier’ recovery

The US Labor Department said the leisure and hospitality sector added more than two million jobs, while retail added 740,000.

The resumption of routine medical appointments also helped, with healthcare employment rising 568,000. The reopening of factories meant manufacturing employment continued to rebound, rising by 356,000, driven mostly by a 195,000 gain in the car industry.

The surge in job creation in the past two months has been spurred by the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which gives businesses loans that can be partially forgiven if used for wages. But those funds are drying up.

Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics, said he expects “the recovery from here will be a lot bumpier and job gains far slower on average”.

According to a report by the Reuters news agency, analysts at investment Goldman Sachs have estimated that US states accounting for half the population have paused or partially reversed their reopening plans, with limits reimposed most often on bars, restaurants and the size of gatherings.

Moody’s Analytics economist Sophia Koropeckyj said the June jobs surge was “bittersweet”, as the rise in the number of cases was “diminishing the likelihood of a continued V-shaped recovery”.

She “expects that the rebound in employment will fizzle and payrolls will flatten out until a vaccine is widely available”.

Despite the caution, Wall Street share markets rose at the open, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq index jumping more than 1% to a record 10,268.7 points.

US President Donald Trump called the job numbers “spectacular” and said they proved the economy was “roaring back”.

“These are historic numbers in a time when a lot of people would have wilted, but we didn’t wilt,” Mr Trump said.

However, Mike Bell, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management in London, said the resurgence of coronavirus cases in some cities meant it was “too soon to say for certain that this recovery in employment sounds the all-clear for investors”.

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Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia owner cuts 1900 jobs

Casual Dining Group, owner of Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Las Iguanas, is to cut more than 1,900 jobs and close 91 restaurants after calling in administrators.

It blamed the “extreme operating environment” – which has seen restaurants closed since the start of the lockdown in March.

The closures represent more than a third of the company’s 250 UK sites around the UK. It leaves around 4,050 employees still in work.

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