The extra support for universal credit claimants was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to provide additional support to those likely to be facing the most financial disruption caused by the public health emergency. Alongside the temporary increase to Universal Credit and Tax Credits, the Government invested over £352 billion in measures to create, support, and protect jobs and businesses, introduced mortgage holidays, and additional support for renters, and worked with energy suppliers to protect those struggling with energy bills.
Now with nearly all restrictions lifted and our recovery gathering pace, it’s right that the focus is switched to getting people back into work, and to improving their prospects. In order to support this the Government announced a multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs and the end to the temporary Universal Credit increase.
Thanks to the Government’s careful handling of the economy employment has been at record high levels in the 10 years prior to the pandemic. This has allowed the Government to provide an unprecedented response over the past eighteen months. Now with nearly all restrictions lifted and our recovery gathering pace, it’s right that the focus is switched to getting people back into work, and to improving their prospects. In order to support this the Government announced a multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs.
The Kickstart scheme, for example, has already seen over 263,000 approved roles created from a range of different sectors for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit. I am pleased that over 50,000 young people already are in Kickstart roles. This will give young people the practical experience that we know is so crucial in securing sustainable employment. Furthermore, I welcome the £2.9 billion Restart scheme which will provide intensive help to over a million jobseekers who have been out of work for more than a year.
In this recovery for the whole of the country, it is important we support the most vulnerable in society and return as many people as possible to work rather than simply support them on benefits.