The success of our plan for jobs is playing a key role in growing the economy and spreading opportunity across the country. The Government protected 11.7 million jobs in the pandemic through schemes such as furlough, and of course we moved millions of jobseekers into work and supported young people through programmes such as kickstart and our apprenticeships offer.
Businesses in Ashfield are telling me that they are struggling to recruit young apprentices, even though they are offering top wages and education up to degree level. I am doing my bit by hosting an apprenticeships fair, but what more can the Government do to ensure that the young people in my area know that there are great, well-paid apprenticeship schemes available, so that they can have a fantastic career on their doorstep—and maybe a career in catering?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that it is an important message, which this whole House should send out, that apprenticeships really matter, that going to university is not the only way to succeed, and that people can earn and learn at the same time on our great apprenticeship courses. I believe my right hon. Friend the Chancellor visited Caunton Engineering in my hon. Friend’s constituency to promote apprenticeships, and of course I wish his apprenticeships fair every success.
The Chancellor mentioned that this plan for jobs is the long-term plan for restarting the economy. Do the Government accept that perhaps they need to do more immediately than simply having a long-term plan for jobs, in order to help people with the cost of living crisis?
We absolutely do accept that, which is why we brought forward a £22 billion package of support this year, with help ranging from reducing the burden of tax to providing support on things such as energy bills. That is absolutely in recognition of a very challenging economic landscape for people to be operating in, owing to the impact of the global pressures we are facing on inflation. We are clear that we have a plan for jobs and a plan for growth, and that we will get through the current crisis and deliver a much better future for the people of this country on the other side of what have been a remarkable couple of years and a very difficult one for the whole developed world.