This Conservative Government and I, as the employment Minister, are committed to providing support to help our young people to move into work and avoid the long-term scarring effects of unemployment, both during the pandemic and as we recover from its impact. Our plan for jobs includes an expanded DWP youth offer, kickstart and more than 100 new youth hubs to assist young people to move into meaningful, sustained employment.
Small and medium-sized enterprises in my constituency have raised concerns about the time it takes to apply for the kickstart scheme. What action is the Department taking to ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible?
The Department worked at pace to launch the kickstart scheme in September, with the first applications open in November. Our aim is to take forward applications within one month, but it can take longer if we require additional information. We expect the situation to improve as we adopt processes and embed learnings from the thousands of employers and hundreds of gateways that have joined the scheme early on. My hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that the application from Fotofabric Ltd in his constituency has now been approved.