Rishi Sunak to spend billions on plan to help jobless in first Spending Review

The review will include £2.9 billion over three years for a new Restart scheme designed to tackle the job losses triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ahead of his statement the Chancellor said his “number one priority” is to protect jobs and livelihoods in the wake of the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the programme, the Treasury said people who have been out of work for more than 12 months will be provided with regular intensive support to suit their circumstances.

There will be a further £1.4bn of funding to increase capacity in Job Centre Plus to provide additional assistance to those looking for work.

Mr Sunak will also confirm funding for the next stage of his Plan for Jobs – including £1.6bn for the Kickstart programme, which the Treasury has said will create up to 250,000 state-subsidised jobs for young people.

The scheme, first launched in August, offering employers £2,000 for every new apprentice they take on, is to be extended to the end of March.

There will also be a £375 million skills package, including £138 million of new funding to deliver Boris Johnson’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

Speaking ahead of his statement in the Commons, Mr Sunak said: “My number one priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK.

“This Spending Review will ensure hundreds of thousands of jobs are supported and protected in the acute phase of this crisis and beyond with a multi-billion package of investment to ensure that no-one is left without hope or opportunity.”

CBI policy director Matthew Fell said the Chancellor was right to focus on job creation as the economy looked to recover in 2021.

“Covid-19 has swept away many job opportunities, for young people in particular,” he said.

“The scarring effects of long-term unemployment are all too real, so the sooner more people can get back into work the better.”