Ministers “must do much more” to stop people losing their jobs, a trade union boss said, as the Government launches a job centre coaching scheme to help people back into work during the pandemic.
The £238 million job entry targeted support scheme – dubbed Jets – will employ 13,500 additional work coaches to help people who are on jobseeker’s allowance and have been unemployed for three months or more, Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce to the Conservative party conference today.
The scheme will kick off this week, just as the Government’s furlough system is winding down and set to end by the end of the month. It will be replaced by a job support scheme for staff who can work reduced hours – which campaigners warn will trigger an unprecedented UK unemployment crisis.
The Covid-19-driven recession has pushed the unemployment rate to a two-year high, with the number of people on company payrolls down nearly 700,000 between March and August and set to rise as firms are left without subsidies to cover staff wages.
This new scheme offers very little new support
Jets will begin operation in job centres around Wales and the north east, north west and southern parts of England, before being extended to the rest of England and Scotland next year. Work coaches will be trained in giving specialist advice on moving into secure jobs plus guidance on CVs and interviews.
Therese Coffey, secretary of state for work and pensions, said it will “boost the prospects of more than a quarter of a million people across Britain”.