New kickstart scheme needs to be extended to include SMEs

Today, the Government has launched the landmark Kickstart scheme to help young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit into six-month-long placements. 

Under the scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Plan for Jobs, employers can offer youngsters aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement.

The government will fully fund each “Kickstart” job - paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

While small businesses can apply for the scheme from a local authority, there is a minimum requirement of 30 placements. The authority will then compile separate applications and bid for pools of 30 at once. 

Employers that create jobs for those “at risk of long term unemployment” will be subsidised 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week. In the Summer Statement, Sunak said these grants will be around £6,500.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will choose the applicants for the jobs and youngsters will be referred into the roles through their JobCentre Plus work coach. The government expects the first Kickstarter to begin at the start of November.

Luke Davis, CEO and Founder of SME investment firm, IW Capital, commented on the scheme and why it needs to be simplified for small businesses: 

"Schemes like this are fantastic to help young people get into work and out of the long term unemployment trap but to really get the economy going again in the short and medium-term, access to these kinds of schemes need to be simplified for SMEs. Small and medium-sized businesses make up 99% of businesses in the private sector, employ over 16 million people and are a vital part of the economy. They should be considered as important in economic recovery. 

Cutting red tape and getting young people into small business teams will help them grow and offer the support they need to kick-on post-COVID. I hope that this scheme helps the businesses that really could do with this support now more than ever and protect a vital source of income for over 16 million Brits employed by SMEs." 

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