The DWP has invested millions to help job seekers during the pandemic – and is already seeing a return
With the sun in the sky and jabs in our arms, many people are now looking to the future, especially those who sadly lost their jobs or never got onto the jobs ladder in the first place.
Today, Parliament’s public spending watchdog – the National Audit Office – reports on the scale of the challenge that DWP has been handed by the pandemic and reflects on the extraordinary response we have mounted.
We have boosted our investment in job support to £2.5bn a year, nearly ten times what was spent the year before, reflecting the scale of the challenge we faced.
In doing so we have secured targeted programmes for young people; the experienced looking to change sectors; job hunters who simply need pointing in the right direction; and those who need more of a helping hand after several months out of work.
Our investment is already making a return. We have agreed to fund more than 200,000 roles put forward by businesses and other employers through our Kickstart scheme for young jobseekers and over 64,000 people have been involved in our sector-based work academy programme (SWAPs), designed to help them move into new sectors.
While this large scale support is up and running, we are keeping the pedal to the metal, quickly steering our support to meet current challenges.
Just last week we responded to calls from hospitality to help boost their recruitment as the country re-opens. Working with UK Hospitality, our Work Coaches are helping match jobseekers to vacancies in the sector.
Furlough has kept millions connected to the jobs market and where jobs could not be saved, the welfare safety net has been there to catch those most in need – moving more than three million households onto Universal Credit in a matter of months.
There is still a way to go – including more action to restore our jobs market, help people back on their feet and support the country to build back better.
But with the investment we have made in the UK’s labour market and the British people, we have the foundations we need to secure a jobs success after our jabs success.
Thérèse Coffey is Work and Pensions Secretary