Labour pledges to extend job guarantee scheme until 2020

Flagship jobs pledge aims to tackle youth unemployment and bring an end to a 'benefits for life'

LAST UPDATED AT 12:06 ON Mon 10 Mar 2014

LABOUR'S Compulsory Jobs Guarantee scheme, expected to form a central plank of its 2015 manifesto, is to be extended until 2020. The programme was originally set to run for one year, but the party now says it will continue throughout the next parliament if it wins the election.

Labour has pledged to guarantee a "paid starter job" for under-25s who have been claiming Job Seekers Allowance for over a year. Jobs will also be provided for adults who have been claiming benefits for over two years.

According to shadow chancellor Ed Balls, the policy will help get 50,000 young and long-term unemployed people off benefits and into work. "A life on benefits will no longer be an option", he is expected to say later today.

"It's shocking that the number of young people stuck on the dole for more than a year has doubled under David Cameron. For tens of thousands of young people who cannot find work this is no recovery at all."

The policy is estimated to cost £1.9bn in the first year and £900m a year in subsequent years.

The package will be funded by a tax on bankers' bonuses and a restriction on pension tax relief for high-earners, the BBC reports.

The jobs provided will be for 25 hours a week at minimum wage. The government will cover the employee's wages as well as their national insurance contributions over a period of six months, with an extra £500 per job seeker allocated for further training.

The conservatives have criticised the package, calling it a "short-term political gimmick" and arguing that Labour's "sums don't add up".  · 

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