Rishi Sunak jobs plans for UK new

New jobs bonuses and incentives set out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his ‘mini-budget’ may prove valuable for mobility retailers and suppliers looking to retain furloughed staff or recruit new talent for the future. THIIS examines what the new measures mean for the mobility and access sector and the professionals within it.

has set out his plan to help ensure unemployment does not spiral as a result of the coronavirus, with new grants, bonuses and incentives to companies in the sector to fuel employment and trade.

In his address to MPs, Sunak confirmed that unemployment has been a significant concern amongst many in society but confirmed the government’s commitment to avoid unemployment spiralling during the pandemic.

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“We’re not just going to accept this,” said Sunak.

“People need to know we will do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work. People need to know that although hardship lies ahead, no one will be left without hope.”

The Chancellor’s plan will provide opportunities for mobility retailers and suppliers to be rewarded for bringing furloughed staff back into companies, alongside incentives for creating new jobs in the industry.

“It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire,” he continued.

“To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”

Outlining a three-point plan, the chancellor declared the government’s strategy will be to support, protect and create jobs.

Supporting jobs in the mobility sector

The first pillar of the government’s plan is supporting jobs as the government’s flexible coronavirus job retention scheme winds down before eventually ending in October 2020.

Job Retention Bonus

Rishi Sunak jobs plans for UK furlough retention

Arguably one of the most important measures for retailers and suppliers alike in the mobility sector is the government’s job retention bonus initiative, providing a cash incentive to bring staff back into employment after furlough.

The chancellor explained that all employers in the UK will receive a one-off £1000 bonus for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of the 31st January 2021.

“It is vital people aren’t just returning for the sake of it – they need to be doing decent work,” explained Sunak.

“So for businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January.”

Earlier in the month, THIIS reported that many mobility retailers’ teams remain on furlough despite the reopening of non-essential as the market finds it feet after months of trading inactivity.

The Kickstart Scheme

Rishi Sunak jobs plans for kickstart

Costing an estimated £2 billion, the new kickstart scheme will aim to create jobs for new, fully subsided jobs for young people aged 16 – 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The scheme will see companies that offer six-month job placements for this group have 100 per cent of the young person’s wages covered (up to the national minimum wage for 25 hours a week). Employers will also have the option to top this wage up.

The scheme will be open to companies that meet certain criteria, with employers able to apply from next month and the first employees set to come onboard in autumn, stated Sunak.

Notably, the Kickstart measure will cover England, Scotland and Wales, with supplementary funding to Northern Ireland to implement a comparative scheme.

Apprenticeship boost

Rishi Sunak jobs plans for UK apprentices

Alongside the new Kickstart initiative, the existing apprenticeship opportunities available for employers will also receive a boost, with mobility businesses given £2,000 for each new apprentice hired under the age of 25.

This amount will come in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Furthermore, mobility companies that employ apprentices 25 and over will be given £1,500.

Traineeship investment

As well as apprenticeships, the government is scaling up traineeships in 2021-21 to ensure young people have more access to high-quality training.

Under the new measure, the government will pay employers £1,000 to take on trainees in a bid to support 18-19-year-olds leaving school or college.

The chancellor confirmed the government will also invest an extra £100 million to create places on Level 2 and 3 courses.

Creating jobs in the mobility sector

The chancellor’s ambitious plan will also seek to create thousands of jobs with an extension £8.8 billion of planned infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.

Green package

At the heart of the measure is an investment in green projects, including a package for homeowners and landlords in England to apply for vouchers from a £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme. The vouchers will pay for green improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation that could save some households hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills while creating thousands of jobs for tradespeople.

In addition, £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building said the chancellor, including £1.5 billion for hospital maintenance and upgrades and over £1 billion to start to rebuild schools in the worst condition in England, plus £760 million this year for key maintenance work on schools and FE colleges.

Many in the mobility sector will hope this capital funding investment into hospitals, schools and other capital projects drives accessibility adaptations, helping to fuel demand.

Protecting jobs in the mobility sector

As well as supporting and creating jobs, the third pillar is protecting jobs in particular sectors, outlined the chancellor.

Focusing primarily on supporting the tourism and hospitality sectors with a VAT slash applied to most tourism and hospitality-related activities from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, the chancellor also confirmed a new Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme providing a 50 per cent reduction for sit-down meals across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.

Not directly impacting mobility companies, there is a hope that a return of trade in the tourism and hospitality sectors will trickle down to mobility retail as consumers feel more confident and incentivised to visit high streets and engage in more outdoor leisure pursuits.

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