LOCAL MP Dr Andrew Murrison is seeking clarity on the government’s Kickstart programme for growing skills and getting young people into work.

He has written to Department for Work and Pensions Minister Thérèse Coffey after being contacted by local businesses keen to get involved.

The scheme was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in July as part of the government’s overall £30 billion Plan for Jobs.

Its aim is to provide new opportunities to those who have lost jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic or are new to the job market and in danger of sustained unemployment.

Kickstart facilitates work placements by paying 100 per cent of the national minimum wage/living wage for 25 hours per week for up to six months, National Insurance contributions, and grants to businesses for set-up purposes.

Dr Murrison said: “I support DWP’s efforts to develop skills and employability through schemes such as Kickstart. The demand for jobs is high, particularly amongst the young in South West Wiltshire during these uncertain times.

“However, I have had constituents who are business owners write to me to inform me of some issues with the scheme, particularly the feedback process.

“Because I strongly believe the scheme will be hugely beneficial in the current climate, I have written to Minister Coffey to seek clarity on the process and to support my constituents’ applications.”

The Federation of Small Businesses has announced a new partnership with Adecco Working Ventures to tackle increasing numbers of young people aged 16-24 struggling to find work and on Universal Credit. Together, they will form a new national gateway and intermediary partner for the UK Government’s new Kickstart Scheme, which covers England, Scotland and Wales.

FSB will also be delivering a regional programme of webinars and other resources to encourage, inspire and help small businesses to get involved and make the most of the new scheme.

Alongside local authorities, business organisations and the voluntary sector, FSB is calling for a diversity of intermediary providers.

The FSB said: “This way, any small business wishing to create one or two roles will have a choice of good-quality providers to deliver the important wrap-around support services these young people are going to need.”