Following the UK governments initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent actions to slow the spread of the virus, save lives, protect the NHS and support people and families, the second phase of its response is now underway as the Plan for Jobs scheme is launched.
What is the Plan for Jobs scheme?
The wider scope of the Plan for Jobs scheme is to support the UK’s economic recovery while continuing to prioritise people’s health, but through providing support directly to people in England, Scotland and Wales the government is working to help families and businesses through the pandemic, protecting jobs and livelihoods.
The Plan for Jobs scheme covers three main actions:
- Supporting jobs - with direct help for individuals to find work and gain the skills needed.
- Protecting jobs - in the hospitality and accommodation sectors and at attractions by supporting demand for these businesses.
- Creating jobs - with action to get the property market moving, to increase and bring forward infrastructure investment, and to make homes greener, warmer and cheaper to heat.
“The Plan for Jobs is the next step towards economic recovery and securing the UK’s long-term prosperity.”1
What has already been done?
The governments initial response to the pandemic saw businesses supported by tax cuts and deferrals, as well as cash grants and over a million loans through four government-backed schemes. Public services have been strengthened, with an extra £49 billion allocated to funding for the NHS, schools, public transport, local authorities, and tackling rough sleeping.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - The government has paid the wages for over 9.4 million jobs, enabling 1.1 million employers to keep employees on a period of temporary leave.
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) -The government has supported 2.7 million self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, whose businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19.
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) - COVID-19 related SSP has been made payable from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth, and extended to people self-isolating and shielding.
- Mortgage and credit payment holidays - As of 19 June, 1.9 million mortgage holidays and over 1.8 million payment holidays on consumer credit products have been granted.
- Support for housing and renters - The government introduced emergency measures in the Coronavirus Act 2020, which are in place until 30 September, to require landlords to give tenants at least three months’ notice before seeking repossession.
- Income Tax Self-Assessment - Deferring Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due in July 2020 to January 2021, helping up to 2.7 million taxpayers across the UK with their finances and cashflow.
What will the Plan for Jobs scheme begin to tackle?
The unprecedented events surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the subsequent effects it has had on all elements of our society may have been a surprise to many, but the concept of mass unemployment has never been far from our minds.
Back in 2017 Public Health Wales published a report2 detailing how they were working with experts across the world on approaches to prevent and prepare for potential mass unemployment events. The report provided an eight step framework to support public, voluntary and private sectors with prevention, planning and reaction strategies. The steps included:
- Identifying communities at risk and assessing the potential impact.
- Developing an early warning system.
- Early multi-sector responses for health and community perspectives.
- Addressing the needs of older and unskilled groups.
- Early implementation of re-employment and financial support for redundant workers.
The Plan for Jobs scheme follows a similar framework with a strong focus on strengthening existing employment and skills helping those who have lost their jobs back into the job market quickly:
- Support people in finding jobs.
- Enable them to gain the skills they need to get jobs.
- Provide targeted help for young people to get into work.
To address these challenges the government has set out this large-scale, ambitious plan supported with new funding to ensure more people will get tailored support to help them to find work.
The Plan for Jobs
- Job Retention Bonus
- Kickstart Scheme
- Boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships
- Reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attractions
- Eat Out to Help Out
- Infrastructure package
- Public sector and social housing decarbonisation
- Green Homes Grant
- Stamp Duty Land Tax temporary cut
To assist those both in and out of work in retaining their jobs, finding jobs and gaining the skills needed for accessing new types of work the Plan for Jobs scheme looks to provide four key provisions, mainly with a view to assist those in the 18 to 24 year age bracket:
Job Retention Bonus
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far supported over one million employers to protect over 9 million jobs3. The scheme has been open since March, and will wind down flexibly and gradually, supporting businesses until October.
Kickstart Scheme – A £2 billion fund has been earmarked to create hundreds of thousands 6-month work placements for those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
Boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships
New funding for National Careers Service – The government will provide an additional £32 million funding over the next 2 years for the National Careers Service so that 269,000 more people in England can receive personalised advice on training and work.
High quality traineeships for young people
An additional £111 million this year for traineeships in England, to fund high quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds.
In addition to supporting jobs, the Plan for Jobs scheme also contains provisions to assist individuals both in relation to their work and their personal finances:
Universal Credit and legacy benefits
To support families on low incomes changes to the UK’s welfare system increased the financial support for those in need.
The full scope of what changes have been made to the Universal Credit system and how you can access additional grants and discounts is discussed in our recent article.
- Access to Universal Credit – Claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the requirement to attend a jobcentre.
- Universal Credit Standard Allowance and Working Tax Credit Basic Element – Increases to both the Universal Credit Standard Allowance and the Working Tax Credit Basic Element.
- Housing support – Increased housing support for private renters through Local Housing Allowance rates.
- Minimum Income Floor – The requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor have been temporarily relaxed.
- Contributory Employment and Support Allowance – Employment and Support Allowance available from day 1 of sickness rather than day 8.
A new £500 million Hardship Fund is in place to help vulnerable people in England to meet their council tax payments over the coming year.
£63 million in funding has been allocated for local authorities in England to assist people struggling to afford food and other essentials.
Protecting and creating jobs
Key actions targeted to create jobs in some of the UK’s biggest sectors including housing, construction and hospitality:
Housing - Plans to support the housing market including cutting Stamp Duty Land Tax and improving energy efficiency of homes will increase job security and new job opportunities for the estimated 240,000 people directly employed by housebuilders and their contractors, and between 500,000 and 700,000 employees indirectly supported in the supply chain.
Construction - Through accelerating capital spending and public investment into new programmes of activity, the 2.3 million workers and over 900,000 self-employed workers within the construction industry will begin to see the benefits throughout the sector within the next year.
Hospitality - One of the highest employing sectors across the UK, with over 2.4 million workers in hospitality, accommodation and attractions, equivalent to 8% of the entire UK workforce. Supporting these sectors is crucial to the government’s objective of preventing labour market scarring and ensuring opportunities for all.The Eat Out to Help Out scheme and temporary Value Added Tax (VAT) cuts for food and non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and attractions have all been implemented in order to support businesses and protect jobs.
What happens next?
The third phase of the government’s plan is set to be announced in autumn. Expectations are that it will set out measures to support a longer-term recovery through a Budget and a Spending Review including plans to invest in public services, support innovation and growth-enhancing infrastructure with a National Infrastructure Strategy.
Here we have the latest jobs available across various sectors, browse and apply for opportunities here.
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2 National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU) Fact file 1 Mental Health &Employment 2010 [Internet]http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/888/Watermarked%20PHW%20Mass%
3 HM Revenue & Customs [Internet] 15 July 2020 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-july-2020/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-july-2020