Labour Market Shortages: Employment Schemes

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 13th December 2021.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

What assessment she has made of the potential effect of her Department’s employment schemes on labour market shortages.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Our plan for jobs is working. Since April 2020, over 1.9 million people have moved into work from the universal credit intensive work search group. We have done that by supporting thousands of people through programmes such as kickstart, restart and sector-based work academy programmes—SWAPs—to get back into work, with over 110,000 young people being supported through kickstart alone. There are over 200,000 kickstart jobs still waiting to be filled in the final months of the programme.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

Earlier, the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mims Davies, referred to the shortage of HGV drivers, and retailers report fivefold delays in the delivery of products, including wine and spirits, so I am wondering whether the Secretary of State’s scheme is helping to address the shortage of drivers in the run-up to Christmas. How many lorry drivers have started work as a result of her Department’s employment schemes?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I think it is worth explaining to the hon. Gentleman that a couple of different schemes are ongoing. Our principal role is to help people who are not working to get into jobs. We partner with people such as the Mayor of West Midlands, but also with specific programmes in the east midlands. More significant work is being done by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education, where we have bootcamps working and people are actually getting into jobs. A really important part of what we can do through SWAPs is getting people into new careers that they had never thought about.