THE Government will subsidise the wages of young people hired under a major new scheme aimed at finding work for 350,000 jobless Brits.
Rishi Sunak today unveiled the £2billion Kickstart Scheme, which will see the Government pay towards six months of wage costs of every 16 to 24-year-old hired by employers.
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It will cover 100 per cent of the minimum wage for a maximum of 25 hours a week — with firms able to top up income.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme in his mini-budget today as part of efforts to help Britain bounce back from the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “We cannot lose this generation, so, today, I’m announcing the Kickstart Scheme.
“A new programme to give hundreds of thousands of young people, in every region and every nation of Britain, the best possible chance of getting on and getting a job.
“These 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 explained this meant the grant would be around £65,000 for a 24-year-old, with no cap on the number of places.
Other announcements included:
Apprenticeships were also given a huge boost as the Chancellor announced the Government would plough in more cash for on-job training.
The initiative to help boost young workers chances to getting a job after being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis will give firms £2000 for creating new apprenticeship roles.
The scheme will also pay for businesses to take on apprentices over the age of 15 with a bonus of £1,500.
Boris Johnson has put tackling youth unemployment at the top of the Government’s recovery plan.
It follows dire forecasts from experts predicting more than a million youngsters will be out of work this year.
The Kickstart Scheme will cost the state an average of £6,500 for each job. But Mr Sunak hopes it will trigger a mass hiring spree by firms when it opens next month.
An initial £2billion has been put aside for the scheme but the Treasury said it will increase the budget if there is high take-up.
Employers will be able to offer a six-month work placement for people aged between 16 and 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
Brits are also now on track for half-price restaurant meals and cut price day trips this summer as part of a bumper plan to rescue Britain’s coronavirus-ravaged economy.
Mr Sunak has announced a huge cut to VAT for the hospitality sector to try and get more Brits out and about to boost the nation after months in lockdown.
Today’s radical plans are designed to save 3.2million jobs in the hospitality industry – which is the 3rd biggest employer in the UK.
The Resolution Foundation last night forecast the scheme will help find jobs for around 350,000 youngsters in that age group.
Research shows 18 to 24-year-olds are twice as likely to have been furloughed while 250,000 more under-25s are claiming jobless benefits since March.
Economic growth plunged by 20 per cent in April alone, but the Bank of England now believes a quick “V-shaped” recovery is likely.
Unemployment is expected to soar to the highest level since the 1980s and by May the number claiming jobless benefits had already hit almost three million.
The Treasury said the jobs created by the scheme will give young people the opportunity to develop skills and experience that will improve their chances of going on to find long-term sustainable work. The scheme was widely welcomed last night.
Mike Cherry, boss of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “A focus on jobs is absolutely essential to lift the country out of the economic hardship caused by the Covid crisis.” He said the scheme could “prevent a generation lost to long-term unemployment”.
Jobs company Linkedin UK hailed the job measures.
Boss Josh Graff said: The Chancellor’s commitments today will come as very welcome news for job seekers, and younger people in particular.
“While the UK labour market is starting to show signs of improvement, our data shows there are three times as many people applying to every role compared to this time last year, and people in the hardest hit industries are already turning to other sectors to find jobs.”
Workers union the TUC insisted far more was needed.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Mass unemployment is now the biggest threat facing the UK, as shown by the thousands of job losses at British Airways, Airbus and elsewhere.
“The government must do far more to stem the rising tide of redundancies.”
Kathleen Henehan from the Resolution Foundation called it a “bold and ambitious scheme”.