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Thousands of applications have been stuck in the pipeline and not been approved by the DWP

The UK government is looking to increase take-up of its £2bn Kickstart jobs scheme, after criticism from small businesses forced to delay work placements for young people due to administrative logjams. The scheme is the flagship measure in chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plans to avert mass joblessness due to the coronavirus crisis. Scheduled to run currently to the end of 2021, it pays employers to create six-month work placements for those aged 16-24 at risk of long-term unemployment. The aim is to create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the young people hardest hit by the pandemic But four months after the scheme opened to applications, only 2,000 young people have started placements, according to figures provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. This is partly because the renewed national lockdown has forced some employers to put placements on hold, but also because thousands of applications have been stuck in the pipeline for weeks, say business groups.

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