Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £2bn ‘kickstart scheme’ for jobs to prevent an entire generation of young people being ‘left behind’.
In his summer statement today to MPs, he said the fund will subsidise work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24 at risk of long-term unemployment due to the impact of coronavirus on the economy.
He set out details of his package to support younger people into employment as one element of a ‘three-point plan for jobs’.
The chancellor said the kickstart scheme ‘would give hundreds of thousands of young people in every region and nation of Britain the best possible chance of getting on and getting a job’.
He said the programme will directly pay employers to create new jobs ‘for any 16-24 year old at risk of long-term unemployment.’
These will be ‘new jobs with the funding conditional on the firm proving these jobs are additional’, said the chancellor’.
They will be ‘decent jobs with a minimum of 25 hours per week paid at least the national minimum wage, and they will be good quality jobs, with employers providing kickstarters with training and support to find a permanent job’, Mr Sunak added.
If employers meet these conditions the Government will pay young people’s wages for six months plus an amount to cover overheads, meaning that for a 24 year-old the grant will be around £6,500, according to the chancellor.
Employers can apply to be part of the scheme from this month, with the first ‘kickstarters’ in jobs this autumn, he added.
Other job retention and creation initiatives announced by Mr Sunak included a ‘jobs retention bonus’ of £1,000 per employee for firms who bring back staff conditional on those earning at least £525 a month until January. Businesses can also apply for a £2,000 bonus for hiring apprentices, with an additional £1,500 for over-25s.
Responding, Solace's deputy spokesperson for local government finance said: 'Announcements in relation to tackling youth unemployment, increasing apprenticeships and getting people back to work are welcome, but the role of councils will be critical if we are to create jobs at the speed and scale required to help our communities recover.'