East of England misses out on 9,898 jobs for young people under failed Tory job scheme 

Kickstart, the government’s flagship employment support scheme for young people, has failed to support as many job seekers in the East of England as was promised. 

The latest figures on the performance of the programme show that by December 2021, only 8,010 had been started in the East of England, 9,898 fewer than should have been started in the east had the scheme been successful.  

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey MP, set a target of 250,00 jobs created through Kickstart, with around 17,908 new jobs in the East of England. 

However, as the scheme closes to new applicants, the Tories are set to miss their national 250,000 target by 55 per cent. Across the regions and nations of Britain, an average of over 12,500 more jobs would have been created had the government met its target. 

Meanwhile, the number of young people on Universal Credit has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, up from 450,000 in January 2020 to nearly 840,000.  

Responding to the alarming figures, Rachel Hopkins MP said:   

“We need well-paid, skilled jobs for young people in Luton and across the east. The government’s Kickstart scheme has been a huge failure, leaving many young people without vital job support and wasting taxpayers’ money in the process. 

“Labour’s jobs promise and plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain would make a difference to young people. Everyone deserves the opportunities that a good job and fair pay provide.” 



Notes to Editors: 

  • Employer applications to Kickstart opened on 2 September 2020 and are set to close at midday on 17 December 2021. 

                      DWP guidance, Kickstart, accessed December 2021,  


  • In a Facebook post about Kickstart in January, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: 

“We’ve set a target of at least 250,000 roles created and Therese Coffey, Department for Work and Pensions – DWP and I will be working tirelessly to help provide opportunities to as many young people as possible.” 

Rishi Sunak, 25 January 2021, 


  • However, when asked about missing the target by the National Audit Office, the Government ducked responsibility and said it wasn’t a “formal target”. 

“The Department told us that it did not consider achieving 250,000 starts a formal target for the Kickstart Scheme” 

National Audit Office, ‘”Employment Support: The Kickstart Scheme’, 26 November 2021,  


  • At DWP Questions on Monday 13 December, Employment Minister Mims Davies confirmed that only 112,000 Kickstart jobs have been started out of the original 250,000 target by this point. 

“I am pleased to announce that more than 112,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people across the UK. 

Mims Davies, ‘Help for Jobseekers: Local Employers and Skills Providers’, Hansard, 13 December 2021,  


  • Labour analysis of where jobs have been created shows the number of additional new jobs that could have been created by region had the Tories hit their target for Kickstart. 
Location  Cumulative Jobs Started  Estimated number of jobs started if Tories had hit their target  Number of “missing” jobs  
Scotland  9,730  21,754  12,024 
Wales  5,330  11,916  6,586 
East Midlands  6,860  15,337  8,477 
East of England  8,010  17,908  9,898 
London  23,920  53,479  29,559 
North East  5,310  11,872  6,562 
North West  14,180  31,703  17,523 
South East  12,030  26,896  14,866 
South West  6,940  15,516  8,576 
West Midlands  10,490  23,453  12,963 
Yorkshire and The Humber  9,020  20,166  11,146 
Total   111,820  250,000  138,180 

Labour analysis based on PQ Response from Mims Davies,9 December 2021 


  • In some constituencies, the scheme had only found work for 20 young people as recently as November this year. Despite applications being open for 14 months. In over 300 parliamentary constituencies, 100 jobs or fewer had been created over the same period.  

Mims Davies, ‘Kickstart Scheme’ 5 November 2021, 


  • The number of young people on Universal Credit has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic.  

Labour analysis of DWP Statistics on Universal Credit, 14 December 2021,  



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