Shabana Mahmood MP demands the Government gets a grip of the KickStart scheme to increase employment
Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has demanded the Government gets a grip of its rollout of the much-vaunted KickStart scheme as unemployment continues to rise in the constituency.
Figures released this week show that there were 14,490 actual claimants in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency in February 2021, which was 14% of the population aged 16-64. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 6.5%.
This was 575 higher than January 2021 and 6,035 higher than February 2020, before the UK lockdown began.
There were 2,645 claimants aged 18-24 in February 2021, 105 higher than in January 2021 and 1,125 higher than February 2020.
Anecdotal evidence from local businesses shows that the KickStart scheme, the Government’s policy designed to provide funding to employers to create job placements for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit, is not living up to expectations. Some businesses have even been waiting since October 2020 to receive a decision from the Department for Work and Pensions on funding. These businesses are eager to provide dozens of jobs but the Government is standing in their way.
Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, said:
“The unemployment crisis in Birmingham continues to worsen. I have long said that the Government needs to address the underlying weaknesses in our local economy but there has been an utter reluctance to do so. The latest unemployment figures show us just how bad things have got.
“The Government announced the KickStart scheme as a solution to all our problems last year. We were told it would get young people into work who are currently stuck on Universal Credit. This scheme has been running for months now and it is not delivering for either our young people or businesses. I have companies in the constituency who are awaiting decisions on their applications from October 2020. Every day lost is another day someone hasn’t got a job.
“The Government need to get its act together, fast. If we continue to see youth unemployment grow in the West Midlands, we will see a generation of talent wasted. The Work and Pensions Secretary and Chancellor must up their game to reboot KickStart so it actually employs some people.”