Chancellor set to launch Restart scheme to help jobless

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to pledge billions of funding in today’s Spending Review to help the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic back into work.

The package of investment will include £2.9bn for a new ‘Restart’ scheme to help millions of workers find employment through training courses and local partnerships.

The scheme will be open to people who have been out of work for more than 12 months, and will provide them with regular intensive support in finding work. It will be aimed at older workers in particular.

On top of Restart, the Treasury will provide a further £1.4bn to increase the capacity of Jobcentre Plus, which is already undergoing a recruitment drive.

Sunak will also announce an expansion to the Kickstart job placement scheme for the under-25s, providing an additional £1.6bn on top of the original £2bn investment. This would provide up to 250,000 jobs in 2021-22.

The apprenticeship hiring incentive, which offers employers up to £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire, will also be expanded, and the Treasury will invest a further £375m in a package to support skills.

Speaking ahead of his statement in the House of Commons, Sunak said: “My number one priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK.

“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 multi-billion package of investment to ensure that no-one is left without hope or opportunity.”

He is also expected to tell MPs that tens of billions of government spending on infrastructure projects will create and protect hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK.

Matthew Fell, the CBI’s UK chief policy director, said: “The scarring effects of long-term unemployment are all too real, so the sooner more people can get back into work the better.”

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