Rishi Sunak to announce £500m ‘plan for jobs’ extension

The chancellor will lay out a package of measures designed to stem rise in unemployment as furlough ends

Rishi Sunak will announce a £500m extension to his “plan for jobs” on Monday as the government tries to avoid a surge in unemployment after the furlough scheme came to an end.

The chancellor will use his speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester to promise extra support in finding a job for the over-50s and workers coming off furlough. Sunak is expected to claim he is “doubling down” on his 2020 promise to do “whatever it takes” to support people through the crisis.

However, the government is pressing ahead with its decision to remove the £20-a-week uplift to universal credit despite warnings from charities and campaigners that it will increase poverty.

Measures included in the new package will include prioritising those coming off furlough for one-to-one support from jobcentres and extending until 31 January the £3,000 incentive for employers to take on apprentices.

The furlough scheme, which supported a cumulative 11.6m jobs during the crisis, came to an end on 30 September. Unions and business groups urged the chancellor not to scrap it, and the jobs package appears to be an attempt to cushion the impact.

A £500m hardship scheme announced last week to be administered by local councils to ease the impact of the cost-of-living crisis was branded a “sticking plaster” by charities and the Labour party.

With a tough spending review coming up on 27 October, Sunak is expected to highlight the government’s plans for investing in infrastructure and skills.

“We are going to make this country not just a scientific superpower, not just the best place in the world to do business, I believe we’re going to make the UK the most exciting place on the planet,” he will say.

The chancellor used his conference speech last year, when the event was held virtually, to say the Tories have a “sacred duty” to repair the public finances.

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, said: “The government’s struggling plan for jobs has failed to hit its original targets; it is not creating the number of jobs needed and has failed to address the supply chain crisis Britain is experiencing.”

Meanwhile the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, suggested the UK could pursue a more interventionist foreign policy, during her first conference speech on Sunday. She cited a desire to sign more deals akin to the Aukus defence pact with Australia and the US, referencing Japan as an ally where the UK was seeking more military access and operational support.

Truss said the UK should be an active member of the “network of liberty” pursuing global democratic values. “The democratic world order faces a stark choice. Either we retreat and retrench in the face of malign actors or we club together and advance the cause of freedom,” she said.

She said the west must “win this battle for economic influence” in developing nations from a “position of strength”.

In a nod to Conservative backbenchers who have rebelled against the government in order to promote a hardline approach towards China, Truss said trade with the superpower was important but added that the UK would be “tough on those who don’t share our values and don’t play by the rules”.

She said the UK would “reach out to more countries who haven’t historically been aligned to Britain and encourage a freer, more prosperous world”.


Heather Stewart and Jessica Elgot

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New jobs coaches will help people back to work, says Rishi Sunak
Jets scheme will help those laid off during pandemic, chancellor to tell Tory conference

Graeme Wearden

04, Oct, 2020 @11:01 PM

Article image
For Rishi Sunak, ending furlough scheme will be harder than starting it
Government support during lockdown has been a big success – but some workers may still lose their jobs in autumn

Larry Elliott

12, May, 2020 @2:02 PM

Article image
UK recession fears and rivalries take the shine off Rishi Sunak
The chancellor’s star rose quickly, but now ‘the richest man in the Commons’ is attracting new kinds of attention

Rupert Neate Wealth correspondent

06, Nov, 2020 @1:39 PM

Article image
Sunak insists he will not trash Tories’ reputation for ‘fiscal responsibility’
Amid backbench discord, chancellor tells conference tax cuts can only come once public finances on surer footing

Aubrey Allegretti and Peter Walker

04, Oct, 2021 @6:30 PM

Article image
Summer statement: Rishi Sunak plans temporary job creation scheme for under-25s
Six-month placements are intended to help those hardest hit by the Covid-19 lockdown

Larry Elliott, Phillip Inman and Heather Stewart

08, Jul, 2020 @6:16 AM

Article image
Tory conference roundup: Gove gets down, Sunak gets up
The levelling up secretary relives his big night out, while the chancellor plays it safe

Jessica Elgot

04, Oct, 2021 @4:45 PM

Article image
Millions will not benefit from Sunak’s ‘tax cut for low paid’, say activists
Campaigners say plan provides no extra support for people who are unemployed or unable to work

Patrick Butler Social policy editor

27, Oct, 2021 @4:21 PM

Article image
Rishi Sunak extends Covid furlough scheme until March 2021
Latest U-turn follows growing pressure for more support to protect jobs and the economy as second wave hits

Richard Partington and Heather Stewart

05, Nov, 2020 @12:25 PM

Article image
Rishi Sunak weighs up German-style wage subsidies to replace furlough scheme
Exclusive: option part of wider emergency package to help firms through second wave of Covid-19

Richard Partington Economics correspondent

22, Sep, 2020 @7:48 PM

Article image
UK’s new £500m winter hardship fund branded as ‘sticking plaster’
Charities and Labour call grants for struggling families an ‘11th-hour bid to save face’ as furlough and benefit cuts loom

Patrick Butler and Jasper Jolly

30, Sep, 2021 @10:53 AM