Written by the MP for Folkestone and Hythe in Kent

This week I met with Maria Landers, the Customer Service Manager at Folkestone Employment Center, to discuss the government Kickstart program, which was created to support young people looking for work and to help employers hire new staff.

Kickstart provides funds to create new jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 who currently benefit from universal credit.

Employers of all sizes can apply for this funding to create new jobs for young people, rather than to replace existing roles within their organization.

Kickstart covers 100 percent of the national minimum wage or the national living wage for employers, depending on the age of the participant, for 25 hours per week for a total of six months.

The Kickstart scheme will also cover national insurance payments from associated employers and all relevant occupational pension contributions.

Employers can stagger employment start dates until December 31, 2021, and they will receive funding until June 30, 2022 if a young person begins employment on December 31, 2021.

Employers can also offer overtime to Kickstart employees at their own expense and are also free to supplement salary payments if they wish.

Plus, unlike previous programs, you no longer need a minimum of 30 internships to apply for Kickstart funding.

You can find out more about Kickstart here or by contacting the local employment center. Please also email me at [email protected] if you want more information on this.

Last Friday I joined Folkestone and Hythe District Council Chief David Monk to tour the construction site for Romney Marsh’s new employment center at Mountfield Road in New Romney.

This new development has been supported by £ 3.5million in government funding as well as support from our local councils, the East Kent Spatial Development Company and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

When completed later this year, the Employment Hub will provide space for up to 20 new businesses and support Romney Marsh’s economic development.

When we talk about rebuilding better after Covid, it’s great that projects like this are already being delivered to support growth in our region.

On Thursday May 6 there will be elections for Kent County Council, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, as well as numerous local council byelections.

Full details of the elections in our area are available on the Folkestone and Hythe District Council website here.

On May 6, the polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and you do not need to take your voting card with you to vote.

Many people now vote by mail and will have returned their ballot already. However, if you were unable to return your postal vote, you can still deliver it to your local polling station the same day.

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