Rishi Sunak will announce 4.3 billion pounds ($5.7 billion) of new funding to help the unemployed back into work as the UK government tries to repair some of the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer will lay out the plan in his spending review on Wednesday, the Treasury said. It includes a 2.9 billion-pound, three-year program to help one million unemployed people find new roles, and 1.4 billion pounds to increase the capacity of job centers, it said in a statement.
Sunak Sets Public Services at the Heart of UK Economic Revival
Measures to slow the spread of the virus have shuttered businesses and caused a spike in unemployment in the UK, where the jobless rate surged to 4.8% in September — the highest level in four years. The number of employees on payrolls in October was down 782,000 compared to March.
“My number one priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods,” Sunak said Tuesday in a statement. The spending review will “ensure that no one is left without hope or opportunity,” he said.
There will also be 138 million pounds of new funding for the lifetime skills guarantee announced in September by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That’s part of a wider package for skills totaling 375 million pounds and including previously announced funding.
The measures follow 13.7 billion pounds of job support announced in July, though Sunak later scrapped the biggest portion of that — a job retention bonus program planned for January costing as much as 9.4 billion pounds — after he instead extended the UK’s furlough program.
The July plan also included a 2.1 billion-pound “Kickstart Scheme” to create job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds. On Wednesday, Sunak will allocate 1.6 billion pounds of that promised expenditure.
The chancellor also plans to extend a program giving employers as much as 2,000 pounds for every new apprentice they hire. The program had been due to end on January 31, but will now run until March 31.