Rishi Sunak will tomorrow commit to an extra £500m in spending to boost the government’s post-Covid jobs and skills programmes.
Sunak will say in his Conservative party conference speech that he will “double down” on his promise to “do whatever it takes” to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic.
It comes as the UK is gripped by a cost of living crisis that has been spurred on by above expected inflation, soaring energy prices and a coming cut to the £1,000-a-year uplift to Universal Credit.
Boris Johnson said today that petrol and food shortages, caused by a large shortage in lorry drivers, would likely last until Christmas.
Sunak’s £500m package will be spent through extending two post-Covid jobs schemes beyond this year and providing more assistance for jobseekers.
Jobseekers over the age of 50 will also get “intensive, tailored support” to help them get back into work.
How the funding is distributed is to be confirmed at the next spending review.
The chancellor will say: “The first phase of our Plan for Jobs has worked, protecting 11 million jobs through the furlough scheme and now we are experiencing one of the strongest and fastest recoveries of any major economy in the world.
“But the job is not done yet and I want to make sure our economy is fit for the future and that means providing the support and skills people need to get into work and get on in life.”
Matthew Fell, chief policy director of the CBI business advocacy group, said “this package’s success will be measured by its ability to get people back into work”.
“Businesses are committed to playing their full part in training and re-skilling the workforce of tomorrow as we move towards a new economy,” he said.
It comes as the government’s furlough scheme ended this week, which is expected to result in hundreds of thousands people losing their jobs or having their hours cut.
The squeeze will hit people amid a cost of living crisis and shortages of petrol and some goods.
Speaking on the BBC, Johnson said the shortages were a part of a “period of adjustment” post-Brexit.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Office minister Lord David Frost will tell the Tory conference tomorrow that the country is on the cusp of a “British renaissance” now the “long bad dream of our EU membership is over”.
Responding to Sunak’s plan’s, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “The Government’s struggling Plan for Jobs has failed to hit its original targets; it is not creating the number of jobs needed and has failed to address the supply chain crisis Britain is experiencing.
“Giving himself an extended deadline will do nothing to compensate for the Chancellor’s tax rises, cost of living crisis and cuts to Universal Credit which are set to hammer millions of working families.”