Rishi Sunak unveils £500m funding package to get laid off workers back to work when scheme ends
- The £70 billion furlough scheme is credited with saving millions of jobs
- But about a million workers were still on the program when it closed last week
- New plan also offers tailor-made packages for others affected by the pandemic
Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a £500m financing package today to get laid-off workers back to work.
During the pandemic, the £70 billion furlough scheme is credited with saving millions of jobs.
But about a million workers were still on the schedule when it was finally closed last week, raising fears of a rise in unemployment.
In his keynote speech at today’s Conservative Party conference, the Chancellor will announce funding to “priority” support for workers on leave.
The £500m extension to the government’s job plan will also deliver tailor-made packages for others affected by the pandemic, including young people and workers over 50.
Rishi Sunak to unveil a £500m financing package today to get laid-off workers back to work
Last night, Mr Sunak said he is “ready to double down” on his promise to “do what it takes” to recover from Covid-19.
He said the furlough scheme protected 11 million jobs and that the UK is “going through one of the strongest and fastest recovery periods of any major economy in the world”.
He added: “But the work is not done yet and I want to make sure that our economy is future-ready, which means providing the people with the support and skills they need to get to work.” and move forward in life.’
The Chancellor will also use today’s speech to set out his vision of shaping the economy around “the forces of science, technology and imagination.”
He will pledge to ‘make the UK the most exciting place on earth’ through improved infrastructure, skills and science investments.
In today’s job package, those on leave will be given priority for job support for the next three months.
Measures include pilot interviews and assistance with resume writing and job applications.
During the pandemic, £70bn furlough scheme has been credited with saving millions of jobs
As part of the measures, the Kickstart scheme for young people with universal credit will be extended until March next year.
The scheme has found internships for 76,900 young people in the first five months.
The £3,000 bonus for new apprentices will also be extended until the end of January.
Treasury sources said the over-50s have seen the second-largest drop in employment during the pandemic and are “much less likely” to return to the workplace than younger colleagues.
They also receive tailor-made guidance in finding a new job.
The Treasury said more than £500m in new funding will be used for the package, coming from education plus the work and pension departments.
But about a million workers were still on the schedule when it was finally closed last week, raising fears of a rise in unemployment. In his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference today, the Chancellor will announce funding to “priority” job support for workers on leave
Last night, the Confederation of British Industry welcomed the package. Chief Policy Officer Matthew Fell said: “Companies are committed to playing their full part in educating and retraining the workforce of tomorrow as we move towards a new economy.”
The announcement of the investment comes after the chancellor pushed through with the end of the leave and the cut in universal credit.
A £20 a week increase in the benefit introduced during the Covid crisis will expire on Wednesday.
Since the start of the pandemic, furlough has helped pay the wages of 11.6 million workers at a cost of nearly £70 billion.
Mr Fell added: “Businesses will welcome the Chancellor’s plan for jobs moving from furlough to economic recovery.
“With record job openings and widespread labor shortages, the success of this package will be measured by its ability to get people back to work.”
Labor spokesman Jonathan Reynolds said last night: ‘The government’s struggling job plan has not met its original objectives; it is not creating the necessary number of jobs and has not addressed the supply chain crisis in Britain.
Giving itself an extended deadline will do nothing to offset the Chancellor’s tax hikes, the cost of living crisis and the cuts in universal credit that millions of working families are facing.
“Labour would create new jobs with our plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain to keep our economy running on all cylinders.”