Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a mini-budget to respond to the looming economic and employment crisis that has come about as a result of the government's lockdown policy. Among the measures announced are an "eat out to help out" package where the government will subsidise discounted meals, a £2 Billion Kickstarter fund to help young people into employment, cuts in stamp duty and a "furlough bonus" of £1,000 per employee kept on after the furlough scheme ends in October, kicking unemployment further down the road for those already in "zombie jobs".
I believe in times of crises the government must get involved to help people who have been left unemployed through no fault of their own. I am confident this will create more jobs for young people. However, questions will need to be answered such as; what kind of jobs will be available? Will they cover all fields of employment? Will young people have to move around to places where jobs exist? and will you have to be on Universal Credit to take advantage of the scheme?
While there are also welcome cuts to VAT and Stamp duty. These plans lack innovation. We are still focussing on traditional traineeship and apprenticeship options which, while an effective means of training, have in previous years become less and less available to young people. With rapid advancements in technology creating new ways to train young people to do jobs, this should be the focus of the government's strategy for moving forward.
Why not offer alternative routes to qualification into trades and professions through online training, learning and work experience. If you can do a job from home then surely you can be trained to do that job from home. It does not have to be a case of getting your desired apprenticeship or ending up in an unfulfilling job. We now have the technology to create jobs using the technology of the 21st century. We need to start viewing technological and particularly online jobs as being as real as a manual apprenticeship. If we do this then we can allow young people to use their digital skills to create jobs for themselves.
The opportunity of Brexit also seemed to be lacking in the chancellor's budget. Excessive regulations which often originate from the EU are making it too difficult or expensive for young people to create businesses. Such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) easily the most anti-business legislation passed by the EU, the costs of complying can run into Billions. This should be immediately scrapped to allow new businesses to face fewer costs. The EU also imposes a VAT of at least 5% on energy bills and other goods and services, when we leave we can scrap this entirely and make it much cheaper for businesses in areas such as retail and hospitality to function.
Regulations disproportionately affect small businesses who are often not in a financial position to comply with all of them. Simplifying or dismantling the regulatory state as well as updating routes to qualification will create far more opportunities for young people to build up new businesses in their chosen fields and create jobs for their fellow young people.