Tory conference

Chancellor to offer £500m jobs support extension

Rishi Sunak: we will make UK the most exciting place on the planet

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a £500m extension to his “plan for jobs” on Monday in an attempt to stem any surge in unemployment following the end of furlough support.

He will tell Conservative party delegates in Manchester there will be extra help for the over-50s and about one million workers coming off the jobs support scheme.

Measures included in the new package will include a four-month extension of the £3,000 incentive for employers to take on apprentices.

There will be an extension to the Kickstart scheme – which provides funding to create jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment – until the end of March.

Mr Sunak is providing a one-year extension to a Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) scheme for those who have been unemployed for more than three months. He is extending a Youth Offer of guaranteed support for all young people on Universal Credit until the end of 2025.

There will be no change to plans for ending the £20 uplift in Universal Credit, a decision which has prompted widespread criticism. A £500m hardship scheme announced last week to be administered by local councils to ease the impact of the cost-of-living crisis was branded a “sticking plaster” by charities and the Labour party.

Mr Sunak is expected to focus the government’s plans on investing in infrastructure and skills.

“We are going to make this country not just a scientific superpower, not just the best place in the world to do business, I believe we’re going to make the UK the most exciting place on the planet,” he will say.

Matthew Fell, chief policy director at the CBI, welcomed the Chancellor’s plans for “pivoting from furlough to economic recovery”.

But he warned the success of Mr Sunak’s new package would be “measured by its ability to get people back into work”.

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, said: “The government’s struggling ‘plan for jobs’ has failed to hit its original targets; it is not creating the number of jobs needed and has failed to address the supply chain crisis Britain is experiencing.

“Giving himself an extended deadline will do nothing to compensate for the Chancellor’s tax rises, cost of living crisis and cuts to Universal Credit which are set to hammer millions of working families. 

“Labour would create new jobs with our plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain to get our economy firing on all cylinders.”

The SNP’s Alison Thewliss renewed the party’s calls for Mr Sunak to bring forward a meaningful package of support and investment to secure a fair and equal recovery from the pandemic.

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