“It was expensive, badly targeted and did not work.” Former UK prime minister David Cameron did not mince his words about the most recent youth employment scheme set up in a recession. That has not deterred the current Conservative government from the same gambit, only three times bigger. The success of the “kick-start” job scheme is far from assured. Business, which taxpayers have supported through the pandemic, will share the blame if it fails.

The £2bn initiative announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday will create six-month work placements paying the minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of people aged 16-24. Without this, youth unemployment is expected to reach record levels. Being out of work or education for six months or longer is debilitating. That is bad for the jobless — and for businesses that might otherwise employ them...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now