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5 February, 2021 Open access

Government says that its claim that its new Kickstart scheme had ‘moved up a gear’ used an incorrect figure for the number of jobs created

Secretary of State issues letter of correction in respect of her answers in the Commons, and Work and Pensions Minister corrects series of written parliamentary answers

The government's recent claim that its new Kickstart scheme had 'moved up a gear' used an incorrect figure for the number of jobs that have been created, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey has said.

Last week, the government announced that -

'More than 120,000 jobs for 16 to 24 year olds have now been created through the government’s flagship Kickstart Scheme ...'

- and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that -

'Since opening for applications last Autumn, we’ve worked with some of the most exciting companies to create more than 120,000 Kickstart jobs – which is a huge vote of confidence in our young people at a challenging time.'

In addition, in the Commons on 25 January 2021, the Work and Pensions Secretary said -

'Kickstart has got off to a flying start and I am delighted to inform the House that to date 120,000 kickstart jobs have been approved ...'

However, when questioned about the scheme in evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee earlier this week, the Work and Pensions Secretary said -

'I think this is a useful opportunity for me to say that I was made aware very recently that I made an error last week and I am trying to work out the best way to communicate it. As 120,000 has been mentioned continuously, there was, I’m afraid, a keying error and what I should have said is that over 110,000, rather than 120,000, jobs had been created at that point ...

There will be a more formal way that I will share that information with the House, but I thought it was worthwhile to bring it up now.'

As a result, the Work and Pensions Secretary yesterday issued a letter of correction in respect of her answers in the Commons on 25 January 2021, and a series of Written Parliamentary answers given by Mims Davies on 25 and 27 January 2021 have also now been corrected. For example, the Minister's corrected answer to a question from Alison McGovern MP now says that 'over 110,000' new job placements had been approved for funding under the scheme as of 22 January 2021.  

NB - as at 12 January 2021, fewer than 10,000 Kickstart job placements had been made available for Jobcentre Plus work coaches to refer eligible young people to.