Kemi Badenoch MP: SMEs can still seek support in Essex

Kemi Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden.

Kemi Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden. - Credit: Archant

As we approach July 19 and reach the final phase of easing domestic restrictions, I would like to reiterate my thanks to all those involved in our vaccination programme and the outstanding efforts of our local NHS teams across the constituency.

Progressing to Step 4 of the easing roadmap would simply not have been possible without them. 

Of course, the pandemic is not yet over.

It is only right that we continue to be cautious and responsible in exercising our freedoms.

The easing of restrictions has coincided with the easing of financial support schemes as hospitality and leisure venues, retail offices, personal care and other sectors begin to re-open.

I am pleased that over 13,600 residents jobs in our constituency were supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme over the last year.  

I spoke with the Department of Work and Pensions Essex service lead recently to discuss local job centres, the impact of the pandemic on Universal Credit claimants and how the Kickstart scheme is benefitting our constituency.  

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As MP and a Treasury and Equalities Minister, I know that youth unemployment has risen over the last year as a result of the crisis, but it was very reassuring to hear about the success of the Kickstart scheme.  

The Kickstart scheme was introduced by the government last year as part of our ‘Plan for Jobs' and provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit.

Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers: 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage, employer National Insurance contributions, and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions.

I would encourage employers to consider signing up to this initiative which ends in December. 

I am really pleased that small and medium-sized enterprises across the constituency feel confident enough to invest in expanding their workforce despite the toughest year and that most of the employers who have taken part in the Kickstart programme have decided to keep their new employees for the long run.

To hear more about more work in Parliament and across the constituency, please sign up to my monthly e-newsletter at www.kemibadenoch.org.uk   

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