Spring budget 2021

Posted 15.03.2021

On 3rd March the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, published the 2021 budget in which he laid out the Government’s plan for managing the financial impact of COVID-19, and the implications going forward.

One of the most high-profile announcements was that of the extension of the Job Retention Scheme to September 2021.  Alongside this was the announcement of £20 uplift to Universal Credit will continue to September 2021.    The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has led an inspiring campaign in recent months urging the Government to keep the lifeline of a permanent uplift of Universal Credit rates, highlighting the impact that the existing uplift has had on the lives of working people who struggle to keep out of poverty.   It remains our hope that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and supportive organisations across the UK can help keep the pressure on the Government to make the uplift permanent.

No new meaningful labour market polices were announced, either in terms of helping people get back into work or around reskilling.  Arguably the most important development are the extension of the Apprenticeship Hiring Incentive to £3,000, and the extension of the scheme beyond young people.

More details were also announced on the introduction of the UK Community Renewal Fund, consisting of £220 million in additional funding to help places across the UK prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.  Six locations in the D2N2 area have been identified from areas across the UK to implement pilot projects facilitated by the UK Community Renewal Fund – Nottingham City, Bassetlaw, Mansfield, Newark & Sherwood, High Peak and Derbyshire Dales.

The Kickstart scheme is currently scheduled to end in December 2021, although the employment support sector has seen campaigning activity in recent months urging the Government to extend the scheme to the end of 2022.   The Youth Employment Group highlights five reasons to extend Kickstart, which is considered a light at the end of a gloomy tunnel by many young people.

Additional links
Full budget documents
Chancellor’s speech to the House of Commons

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