Coronavirus: Chancellor to unveil Kickstart Jobs package for youngsters

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Picture: PA Media)

A £2bn Government subsidy will pay toward the wages of young people hired by companies hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, of an average of £6,500 per job.

In what will be regarded as one of the biggest jobs support packages in decades, the Kickstart Jobs Scheme will see the government pay toward half a year of employers' wage costs for any 16-24 year old hired, who is currently on universal credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

It will pay 100 per cent of the minimum wage for a maximum of 25 hours a week, but companies will also be able to top up wages themselves.

Government forecasts have put the number of potential young people out of work at potentially up to half a million, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes tackling youth unemployment must be a top priority in recovery during and after the pandemic.

It is therefore hoped that the move will trigger a hiring spree when applications begin in August, with companies already beginning to announce job losses and redundancies in many different sectors across the UK. 

The economy plunged by a fifth in April and it is hoped this will now be reversed into a 'v-shape' recovery

Mr Sunak, who will make the announcement at around 12.30pm, is also expected to impose a temporary stamp duty "holiday" to stimulate property purchasing, which would exempt the first £500,000 of all property sales from the tax.

Other moves that have been introduced in the run-up to today include a £3bn plan to cut emissions, a doubling of staff numbers at job centres, and a £1.6bn package of financial help for the arts and heritage sector.

Boris Johnson recently said gyms would be able to reopen in a “couple of weeks”, and vowed to try to get theatres going “as fast as we possibly can”.

The Prime Minister told LBC: “The best way forward for the country is to get the economy moving again … We want to get every part of our industry, including theatres, that are so vital.”

On gyms, he added: “We are going to reopen gyms as soon as we can do it in a Covid-secure way and I think that the date for reopening gyms at the moment, if we can do it, is in just a couple of weeks’ time.”