THE leader of Swindon Borough Council has welcomed the government’s plan to save and create jobs.

Coun David Renard hailed the apprentice-hiring incentives, meals discounts and eco-friendly job creation and home improvement schemes that made up most of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget that was announced in the House of Commons.

Coun Renard said: “It’s an ambitious scheme. We need to keep as many people in work as possible. This town has a very large amount of jobs based in the private sector so this plan is very welcome.

“This is a very difficult time for young people setting out on their careers and making sure they have the right skills and education while finding employers willing to recruit them.

“Any measures that ensure they can get their first food on the jobs ladder is a good thing and I hope it works well in practice.

The meals discount is a great idea and hopefully encourages people to return to some sort of normality.

“We need to get people moving and spending money again to keep others in work because jobs are important to the economy and to people’s wellbeing, knowing you have a regular supply of income gives peace of mind."

A £2 billion green homes grant will allow homeowners and landlords to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient. The grants will cover two-thirds of the cost up to £5,000, or the full cost up to £10,000 for low-income homes.

Coun Renard added: “I’m really pleased to hear about that. Swindon has a good green economy and it’s certainly a future growth area for the town. We want to encourage businesses to do more in that line of work.

“Domestic properties are on of the largest causes of greenhouse gases and making sure new homes are eco-friendly isn’t enough to combat that, so encouraging people to improve their existing homes is good for the environment and the economy.”

Until next April, property buyers will not have to pay stamp duty on houses costing less than £500,000 - a big step up from the previous £150,000 threshold.

Coun Renard added: “Our work in Wichelstowe has shown there is an appetite for people buying new properties. The key thing is to get first-time buyers on the property ladder. There are not many properties under the old threshold so I’m hopeful that raising it will stimulate the property market.”