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4 October 2021

This information was updated following the publication of government guidance on 5 October 2021.

Chancellor expected to announce extension of the Kickstart Scheme until March 2022

The Chancellor, Mr Sunak is due to give his speech at the Conservative party conference today, setting out his plans to boost the UK’s economic recovery following the pandemic.

Mr Sunak is expected to announce that the Kickstart scheme will be extended by three months to March 2022.

The Kickstart scheme, which was introduced in September 2020, allows employers of all sizes to apply for funding to create jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit.

The funding covers:

100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months;

Associated employer National Insurance contributions; and

Minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions.

Employers can apply online or through a Kickstart gateway for a Kickstart Scheme grant.

The scheme was allocated £2billion in funding to achieve the government’s target of creating 250,000 jobs by the end of 2021.

However, figures released by the MP Mims Davies reveal that as of the 22 September, only 76,900 young people have started a Kickstart job. Over 196,300 roles have been made available for young people to apply to through the scheme and over 295,000 jobs have been approved for funding.

The scheme was due to end in December 2021. However, there have been calls for some months for the scheme to be extended into 2022.

CBI President Lord Bilimoria called for the scheme to be extended in a speech to the Association of School and College Leaders on 15 March this year. Lord Bilimoria said “employers simply don’t have enough time to make the most of it. Extending the deadline by six months would account for any delays as our economy re-opens, guarantee time to process the huge demand for placements, and ensure as many young people benefit from the scheme as possible.”

Federation of Small Businesses national chair Mike Cherry said Kickstart is a “great initiative” but there “remains work to be done”. He called for the scheme to be extended into 2022 and eligibility broadened to all ages who are long-term unemployed.

It is hoped that extending the scheme until March 2022 will allow more businesses and young people to benefit from the scheme and create more opportunities for young people following the end of furlough last month.

Update 8 October 2021

Employers have until 17 December to apply for a Kickstarter grant, or add more jobs to an existing grant agreement. 

The funding has been extended to all jobs started under the scheme up to 31 March 2022, with funding to 30 September 2022.