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Sunak Promises that Jobs are ‘Number One Priority’


Rishi Sunak has pledged to help thousands of unemployed people get back to work with a £4.6bn package as part of his Spending Review.

The chancellor said that the package includes £1.4bn for an expansion of Jobcentre Plus, and £2.9bn for a new jobs scheme called ‘Restart’.

The "number one priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods,” said Sunak.

The review also outlines spending for the NHS, roads, and police, but is eclipsed by the measures taken to reduce the huge job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Official figures released earlier in the month showed that unemployment rose to 4.8% in the three months to September.

The Restart scheme will provide regular support to people who have been out of work for over 12 months.

The Plan for Jobs initiative includes £1.6bn in funding for a Kickstart work placement programme which could create up to 250,000 jobs for young people.

There is also a £375m skills package which includes £138m for Boris Johnson’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee scheme.

Ahead of announcing his plans in the Commons, Sunak said: "This Spending Review will ensure hundreds of thousands of jobs are supported and protected in the acute phase of this crisis and beyond with a multibillion package of investment to ensure that no-one is left without hope or opportunity.”

Policy director at the CBI employers' group, Matthew Fell, said: "Covid-19 has swept away many job opportunities, for young people in particular," he said. "The scarring effects of long-term unemployment are all too real, so the sooner more people can get back into work the better.”

British Chambers of Commerce co-executive director Claire Walker, said: "Investment in Kickstart, in which Chambers are playing a leading role, and the launch of the Restart scheme, will be critical in helping support the recovery.”

However, the Resolution Foundation’s economist Nye Cominetti warned that the government must evaluate the failures of previous schemes which underdelivered:

"The chancellor is right to put in place help for those out of work for long periods as they often struggle most in periods of high unemployment.

"The Restart Scheme is a big step up in terms of job support. The £2.9bn allocated for the coming three years exceeds that spent on the Work Programme over five years after the financial crisis.

"But for the new approach to be effective, ministers must learn lessons from the patchy record of that scheme, particularly the need for more intensive support for harder-to-help groups, who were too often side-lined.”

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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