Guarantee ‘only funded for a year’

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Labour’s flagship jobs guarantee is assured of funding only for the first year of the next parliament, the party has confirmed.

The scheme would offer anyone on Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than two years – or one year for under-25s – the guarantee of a job paying at least the minimum wage for 25 hours a week and training of at least 10 hours a week.

It was described by shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves as “the centrepiece and foundation stone of Labour’s economic plan” last month.

The party says the initiative would be funded by repeating the tax on bankers’ bonuses, and a restriction on pension tax relief for those on the highest incomes.

But a spokesman confirmed reports on BBC Radio 4’s The World At One that the funding is in place so far only for the first year after the May 2015 general election, if Labour wins.

Ms Reeves, MP for Leeds West in Leeds, told the programme that the scheme could achieve substantial progress within a year.

“In the first year, it would help 55,000 young people and 170,000 people over the age of 25,” she said.

“That is a huge number of people – almost a quarter of a million – who would be benefiting from this policy.

“So that would make a huge difference to them and their lives and also to taxpayers.”