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UK launches scheme to help new COVID jobless back into work

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government launched a new employment programme on Monday aimed at helping those left jobless due to the COVID-19 pandemic to get back into work.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) scheme would be backed by a 238 million pound investment.

The ministry said jobseekers put forward for the scheme would have access to tailored, flexible support to quickly get back into employment. This could involve specialist advice on how people could move into growing sectors, as well as coaching on CVs and interviews.

"JETS will give recently unemployed people the helping hand they need to get back into work, boosting the prospects of more than a quarter of a million people across Britain," said Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey.

A government subsidy scheme for workers on furlough is due to expire on Oct. 31 and be replaced with a less comprehensive job support scheme. Economists have warned that unemployment risks rising sharply, with the Bank of England penciling in a jump in the jobless rate to 7.5%.

The opposition Labour Party said the announcement on the JETS scheme was too little, too late.

"By the government's own admission at least 4 million people could lose their jobs during the crisis. All it can muster in response are piecemeal schemes and meaningless slogans," said Jonathan Reynolds, Labour's policy chief on work and welfare.

He said the new scheme relied on already overstretched work coaches on the ground.

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Daniel Wallis)