Speaking today (8 July), the Chancellor outlined steps to revitalise the UK’s economy by getting as many people back into work as possible.
Part one of the scheme, support, focused heavily on younger people and expanding their opportunities to find meaningful and fulfilling jobs, with a focus on the areas most in need of new talent.
To this end, the Chancellor announced the Kick Start scheme, a new programme to directly pay employers to create new jobs for any 16- to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding for these new jobs would be conditional on the business proving these were additional, at least 25 hours a week and paid at least the national minimum wage.
Wages paid for
Should these conditions be met, the Government has pledged to pay the young people’s wages for six months, plus an amount to cover overheads – estimated at about £6,500 for a 24-year-old. Employers can apply for the scheme from next month.
While the second part of Sunak’s scheme looked towards creating green jobs by making homes greener with no mention on plans to help businesses become greener, part three of the plan would have a far greater influence on food and drink manufacturers.
In a bid to protect jobs, the Chancellor looked to the hospitality sector, which has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. Through measures such as a reduction in value-added tax on food to 5% and meal vouchers for the public, Sunak hoped to reinvigorate the hospitality industry.
As a large number of food and drink manufacturers lost much of their business following the mass shutdown of the hospitality and foodservice sectors, plans to get bars, restaurants and hotels open again could help extend that lifeline to the rest of the industry.
Enduring the worst of it
“I believe in the British people’s fortitude and endurance and it is that value – endurance – that we need to embody now,” said Sunak. “A patience to live with the uncertainty of the moment, to find that new balance between safety and normality. We will not be defined by this crisis, but by our response to it.”
Sunak also confirmed that the Government’s furlough scheme would come to an end in October and announced measures to help employers bring staff back to work.
The jobs retention bonus – worth up to £9bn – would reward and incentivise employers that successfully brought furloughed staff back by offering a £1,000 bonus per employee, so long as they remained in employment until January 2021.
“Our message to businesses is clear – if you stand by your workers, we will stand by you,” Sunak added.