In communities across the country, small and medium sized businesses are bouncing back, fuelling our local economies, sustaining workers in meaningful employment and providing vital services to residents.
Britain has a proud history of backing entrepreneurs and innovation, striving to become a nation of start-ups and successful scale-ups. Although the pandemic’s impact has shaken us, we have not shed our bulldog spirit and thriving SMEs remain the backbone of rebuilding our economy.
It’s the reason we’ve taken unprecedented steps to minimise the impact of the pandemic on business, providing billions in loans, grants and tax deferrals since the outbreak took hold as quickly as we could.
As we continue down the road of economic recovery, we must push to move forward in the same spirit of mutual support and strength that has defined us in these difficult times.
Launched last week, our new £2billion Kickstart scheme targets two vital areas at the heart of our renewal: young people and UK plc.
It will create thousands of new, fully-subsidised jobs for talented young people bursting with energy right across the country and businesses can reap the rewards regardless of size – and importantly, regardless of the number of Kickstarters they wish to recruit.
That’s why I want to encourage as many SMEs as possible to take advantage of the available funding.
It has been designed to meet your needs and is mutually beneficial, providing new access to an enormous pool of potential and enabling young recruits to gain experience and skills that boost their career credentials.
And there’s plenty of support to help guide you through the process because we want it to be as efficient as possible so we can quickly get young people started on their placements for November this year.
While larger employers who have more than 30 placements to offer are being asked to apply to directly to the scheme, if you have fewer placements our Employer Partnership managers will be able to link you with a local representative body who will bid on your behalf.
That could be another business, local authority, trade body, Chambers of Commerce or charity. Importantly, representatives are there to provide wrap around support and guide you through the bidding process. That includes making sure all of the administrative and labour intensive duties of the application process are taken care of for you.
It means you don’t have to worry about managing the bidding process while you’re running your business. You’ll be able to get on with your day-to-day while an established and reputable organisation does the leg work.
For each Kickstarter you take on, we will pay 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week – minimising the fiscal impact for you and your business.
So remember, even if you can offer just one place for a young recruit, I’m urging you to get in touch with your local Employer Partnership manager, either through your nearest jobcentre or on gov.uk.
And with as many SMEs on board as possible, together we’ll be able to rebuild local economies in every pocket of the UK – vital for our plan to build back stronger.