"In a bid to avoid a huge surge in unemployment following the closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) the Chancellor has today pledged a £500 million expansion of the government's Plan for Jobs. With a focus on skills and opportunities, the Chancellor has promised to "double down" on help for the jobs market post-Covid. Workers leaving the furlough scheme and unemployed people over the age of 50 will be helped back into work. In addition, those on the lowest wages will be helped to progress in their careers and existing schemes targeting young people will be extended into next year.
"With the most recent figures at the end of July showing 1.6 million people were still on furlough, it is unsurprising that the government has had to renew its focus on the Plan for Jobs to avoid the cliff edge many had feared following the withdrawal of the CJRS. Notwithstanding the challenges of the past 18 months, the latest ONS employment figures show a relatively robust labour market, with the unemployment rate at a steady 4.6%, a reassuring 0.3% lower than the previous quarter. If the latest targeted government support can mitigate the impact of the end of furlough, the labour market on the whole can continue to recover and in turn help with the UK's economic recovery. The pledge marks a clear step on the road to recovery, however the targeted support may prove to be too little, too late for some of the hardest hit sectors such as the travel industry. The details will be confirmed at the Spending Review, which will take place later this month."