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As the UK Government enters the second of three phases designed to provide an economic response to the coronavirus crisis, jobs and employment were the key focus of Mr Sunak’s statement to the House of Commons. 

Jobs Retention Bonus unveiled

The Chancellor confirmed that the UK Government wished to reward employers who successfully bring back employees from furlough in the coming months. 

The launch of the Jobs Retention Bonus is designed to achieve just that. The Government will pay a £1,000 cash bonus directly to business owners for every furloughed employee that remains continuously employed to January 2021.

Mr Sunak said that the policy would be worth around £9bn if all furloughed employees nationwide were brought back to work instead of being made redundant. 

Employees returning to work under the Jobs Retention Bonus will need to earn at least £1,560 for the period between 1st November 2020 and 31st January 2021, with at least one payment being reported through the payroll in each month. Payments will be made from February 2021. 

Kickstart Scheme to encourage the employment of more young workers

A new Kickstart Scheme worth £2 billion has also been established to create more jobs for young people. The plan targets those aged 16-24 years of age at risk of long-term unemployment. 

Mr Sunak said the scheme was necessary to prevent an entire generation from being “left behind”. 

New jobs for those aged 16-24 on Universal Credit will be subsidised for the first six months, providing they work for a minimum of 25 hours a week and are paid at least the minimum national living wage. Applications for the scheme will commence from August, with Sunak insisting there was no ceiling for the number of jobs subsidised.  

Cash incentives for all new apprenticeships (England Only)

There is also a “brand-new bonus” for small businesses hiring apprentices young and old. Between August and January, any business in England that hires a new apprentice aged 16-24 will receive an instant £2,000 cash bonus, while apprentices hired aged 25 and over will also be worth £1,500 to employers. 

Sunak said: “We know apprenticeships work. 90% stay in work or further training.” 

Chancellor promotes ‘green jobs recovery’

The Chancellor also reiterated that the Government is committed to a “green jobs recovery”, investing in an energy efficiency programme worth £3bn with “the environment at its heart”. 

The core of the programme is the Green Homes Grant, which will allow landlords and homeowners to obtain vouchers towards making homes more energy efficient. This should help create new green jobs in communities up and down the country, whilst cutting carbon emissions by up to half a megaton per year. 

Date published 8 Jul 2020 | Last updated 12 Oct 2020

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