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South East misses out on nearly 15,000 jobs for young people under Tory job scheme

Stephen Morgan MP has said the government’s flagship employment support scheme, Kickstart, is lacking ambition for young people, after its failure to support as many jobseekers in the South East as was previously promised.

The latest figures on performance of the programme show that by December 2021, only 12,030 had been started in the South East, 14,866 fewer than should had been started in the region had the scheme been successful.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, set a target of 250,00 jobs created through Kickstart, which would have meant around 26,896 new jobs in the South East. This would have made a big difference to young local job seekers.

However, as the scheme closes to new applicants, the Tories are set to miss their national 250,000 target by 55 per cent. Across the regions and nations of Britain, an average of over 12,500 more jobs would have been created had the Government met its target.

Meanwhile, the number of young people on Universal Credit has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, up from 450,000 in January 2020 to nearly 840,000.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, commented: 

“I am eager to see good local jobs created for talented young people in Portsmouth providing a boost for our local economy.

I have seen and heard first-hand some of the positive successes from the Kickstart scheme in our city, but the Government’s plan for jobs does not go far enough and young people in Portsmouth are losing out as a result.

“Labour’s jobs promise and plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain would make a difference to young people in Portsmouth who deserve the opportunities that a good job and fair pay provides.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

“The government’s employment policies are failing to rebalance the economy, tackle economic insecurity and their Kickstart work programme has created nowhere near the 250,000 opportunities promised even though employers are desperate to get help finding staff. The Tories are doing nothing for young people in need of urgent jobs support.

“Eleven years of Tory economic failure has led to an explosion of in-work poverty and now families face a punishing triple-whammy of rising heating bills, rising prices in the shops and higher taxes. Yet again, it’s working people being hammered under the Tories.

“Labour would help ease the burden by scrapping VAT on household heating bills over winter. And with our jobs promise and plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain, we will boost jobs and growth across all parts of our country.”