Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams, has today called on the UK Government to change the requirement under the new Kickstart Scheme for small businesses to find intermediaries in order to qualify.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds. Under current requirements, applications to the Department for Work and Pension scheme must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. Smaller businesses are required to partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.

Mr Williams pointed out that businesses employing fewer than 9 people make up 95% of all businesses in Wales and will therefore be unable to directly access the scheme.

Hywel Williams MP said:

“Small businesses employing fewer than 9 people make up 95% of all businesses in Wales and are the backbone of our economy. After having disproportionately suffered during the pandemic, they will yet again lose out while the Tories give a leg up to their friends in big business.

“If the UK Government are serious about kickstarting the economy, it must direct its support to those entrepreneurial small businesses that sustain our communities.

“I urge the UK Government to scrap the requirement for small businesses to pour their scarce resources into complicated joint applications and to allow all employers to have a direct link with the DWP for this scheme.”

The deficiencies in the Kickstart Scheme have already been highlighted by one business in Arfon, with Richard Huws of Pant Du Vineyard in Penygroes saying:

“As a small business we were very interested by the possibility of employing a local young person through this scheme. But it quickly became apparent that the scheme has been designed for the likes of Amazon and Tesco, not small businesses like ours.

“The UK Government have dangled a carrot in front of our noses and snatched it away. I urge them to reconsider and ensure the scheme does what it says on the tin, by giving all businesses the chance to kickstart.”