Government urged to ‘fix flaws’ in £2 billion Kickstart Scheme after delays in South Yorkshire

Business leaders in Doncaster have urged government to ‘fix the flaws’ in the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme after it failed to meet its own timeframe to create subsidised jobs for young people.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 12:30 pm

Doncaster Chamber says businesses across South Yorkshire have been left waiting for placements and young people have been left without work or opportunity.

The Kickstart Scheme aims to create hundreds of thousands of six-month placements, open to those aged 16-24 claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The first were on offer from November.

But businesses, including Humana in Doncaster, have experienced an ‘extensive wait for a response’ to their application.

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Andy Hibbit of Doncaster Chamber.

Andy Hibbitt, the chamber’s chief operating officer, said 23 per cent of people aged 16 to 64 in South Yorkshire were economically inactive - set to worsen because of the impact of the pandemic.

He added: “We have fostered a good relationship with DWP nationally and regionally which should quicken up the process moving forward. There is a light at end of tunnel as the first batch of placements have been approved, and we are working closely with those who have been unsuccessful.

“However, we urge a more rapid response and ask that the Government address the delays to provide young people across the region with work, skills and opportunities.”

Pete Lowes, managing director of Humana Ltd in Doncaster, said: “Our initial enthusiasm was dulled a little in light of the extensive wait for a response to our application, but support from Doncaster Chamber has been fantastic.

"It’s disappointing for businesses such as ours to have to wait several months to hear back on the scheme when we’re ready and waiting to improve the prospects of young people in our area, but hopefully we’ll finally be able to recruit in to the placements in the new year.”

The DWP aims to process applications within one month, which it says is set to reduce as the scheme rolls out.

A spokesman said: “We’ve created more than 19,000 jobs through the Kickstart scheme already, and are continually working with organisations to streamline the application process.

“Sheffield City Region were recently informed that their bids have been approved – we look forward to working with them on further bids in the future.”

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