Every adult in the UK would receive £150 in vouchers in a bid to provide a welcome boost to the high street when lockdown ends, under a think tank’s plans.

As part of the plans, children would also receive £75 to spend in a £9bn scheme proposed by the Resolution Foundation.

UK retail sales plunged in January as vast swathes of high street stores kept their doors shut in the latest national lockdown, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said retail sales volumes dived 8.2% last month against December 2020 after non-essential retailers shut their doors to customers.

It was significantly worse than analyst expectations, with a consensus of economists predicting a 2.5% decline for the month.

According to reports, the foundation says the voucher scheme would be part of a £70bn economic recovery package which would include £27bn for retraining and job support and £18bn towards green investment.

Ludlow Advertiser: UK retail sales. (PA)UK retail sales. (PA)

However, according to The Mirror, Rishi Sunak will not be announcing such a scheme any time soon, not least in next week’s budget.

Officials see no sense in announcing such a scheme ahead of the reopening of high streets after lockdown, believing it would alter people’s spending habits.

The Chancellor looks set to introduce tax rise next week in order to pay for the financial impact of the pandemic, with the budget said to be focusing on four themes, “support, recovery, vision and honesty”.

Resolution Foundation’s report, ‘How to throw good money after good’, details how to help the British economy recover for the ongoing pandemic.

It says: "These vouchers could be spent in physical non-food retail, where there is more likelihood that consumption is likely to re-bound more slowly than in other services such as pubs and restaurants.

"This is likely to be the case, with more survey respondents reporting plans to increase their spending on restaurants and pubs after the pandemic than decrease spending.

"But roughly equal proportions of respondents suggesting they would increase or decrease their spending on clothes and other retail.

"This temporary voucher scheme would slow but not halt the longer-term trend towards online retail."

James Smith, Research Director at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The Chancellor is approaching his second Budget at a pivotal moment for the economy, with the country likely to emerge out of the biggest economic downturn in over three centuries in the coming months.

“But while in the US debate has focused on President Biden’s £1.9 trillion stimulus plan, the UK debate has got stuck on how to withdraw support.

“Instead, the Chancellor should combine extending existing support with fresh stimulus once restrictions are lifted to deliver a £100 billion plan to boost Britain’s recovery.

“That is the scale of ambition needed to increase the chances that Britain sees a strong recovery from its pandemic-induced slump, and to ensure the recovery reaches firms and families across the UK.”