Background to the report
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the labour market. In response to the pandemic, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has announced a range of measures to support people into work, including major new programmes, such as Restart and Kickstart, and it is significantly increasing the number of front-line work coaches in its jobcentres to support increased demand for Universal Credit.
It is currently too early to evaluate the success of the Department’s overall approach to delivering employment support during the pandemic, or to assess the success of its individual programmes. The Office for Budget Responsibility does not expect unemployment to peak until the end of 2021. Some schemes, such as the £2.9 billion Restart scheme to reduce the impact of long-term unemployment, are not yet fully operational.
This briefing presents information on how DWP supports people into work, and some of the challenges the Department may face in delivering employment support going forward.
Scope of the report
This briefing sets out:
- the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment;
- how the Department has responded to the pandemic, including its objectives, the main schemes on offer, and its planned expenditure; and
- how the Department provides employment support to individual benefit claimants through its front-line jobcentres and work coaches.