Chancellor’s Statement – A Plan for Jobs
Yesterday I welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak's plan to support our economy during the next stage of our recovery from COVID-19.
The plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs.
The launch of the brand new ‘Kickstarter’ programme, which will see hundreds of thousands of jobs created for young people across the UK, and the package of measures to support existing jobs, grow the green economy and provide support for the hospitality and tourism sectors were particularly welcomed.
During the acute phase of the pandemic, when large sections of our economy were shut-down, the Chancellor’s Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support schemes protected millions of jobs across the UK, including over 13,000 in the Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency.
These schemes, alongside business support grants and government backed loans, have been a lifeline for many. But as we emerge from lockdown we must recognise that some jobs that existed before the pandemic may not return. So we need a plan that supports existing jobs but also helps to create new ones.
Young people have been disproportionately affected by the economic costs of the pandemic; under 25s are more likely to be furloughed and they are more likely to work in the sectors that have been hit hardest such as retail, leisure and hospitality.
The Kickstarter programme will enable employers – of any size and from any sector – to take on a 16 to 24 year old at risk of unemployment, and the Government will pay the young person’s salary for 6 months, based on 25 hours a week at National Minimum Wage. The Chancellor has initially made £2bn available for this scheme but has made clear that there will not be a cap if even more jobs can be created.
During the election campaign I listened to so many local residents who spoke about the lack of opportunities for young people across Penistone and Stocksbridge, and of their sadness that their children and grandchildren had to leave our area to find jobs and opportunities. Kickstarter, alongside the massive investment in apprenticeship, traineeship and careers services, offers an opportunity to grow good jobs locally, and I would love to hear from local employers who are interested in creating Kickstarter jobs and apprenticeships.
COVID-19 has affected us all, but as the Chancellor said yesterday, it is how we respond to the crisis that will define our communities and our nation:
“We will not be defined by this crisis, but by our response to it. It is an unambiguous choice to make this moment meaningful for our country in a way that transcends the frustration and loss of recent months. It is a plan to turn our national recovery into millions of stories of personal renewal.”
Other important announcements:
- £1,000 bonus for employers for every staff member brought back from furlough
- £111m to triple the scale of traineeships
- £32m to recruit careers advisers and provide guidanc
- £2,000 for employers for every apprentice hired over 25 – with a new bonus of £1,500 for over 25s
- Doubling the number of work coaches who will help people find jobs
- £2bn of green home grants to make homes more efficient, while creating local jobs. (Each household can receive up to £5,000 in grants for improvements and low income households up to £10,000)
- No Stamp Duty on the first £500,000 of a main home purchase price
- VAT reduced to 5% for certain goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sectors, benefitting over 700 businesses across Penistone and Stocksbridge
- New ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, offering half price discounts (up to £10 per person per meal) at participating restaurants on Mondays to Wednesdays in August
Governments, much less people, rarely get to choose the moments that define them. What choice there is comes in how we respond.