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On Wednesday 2nd September, the Department for Work and Pensions launched a £2 billion fund for its Kickstart Scheme, designed to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds. The funding aims to encourage employers to take on young people on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment for six-month work placements. Elsewhere, a new round of funding for local authorities has been made available by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport in an effort to improve air quality across England. Local authorities can bid for a portion of at least £2 million for a wide range of projects to improve air quality and create cleaner and healthier environments, as part of the Air Quality Grant scheme.
On Thursday 3rd September, Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman MP (Con) spoke at 5G World and confirmed the completion of the final wave of the infrastructure project to clear the 700MHz spectrum band. He explained that new data capacity for mobile providers will be accessible on the newly-available spectrum, increasing the availability by nearly a fifth (18%). Warman commented: ‘We have overseen a quiet revolution in the airwaves which will lead to better mobile coverage for rural communities and unlock new ways for 5G to boost business productivity and improve people’s lives.’
Elsewhere on Thursday, the Department of Health and Social Care announced £500 million to increase COVID-19 testing capacity ahead of winter. The money will be used to launch a community testing pilot in Salford and extend existing pilots in Southampton and Hampshire.
On Friday 4th September, the Chancellor announced that more than 100 million meals were claimed across the UK as part of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme in August. Rishi Sunak MP (Con) said the scheme has helped protect 1.8 million jobs in the hospitality industry across the UK.
On Monday 7th, there will be an adjournment debate in the Commons on the effect of housing developments on local communities in West Sussex with Andrew Griffith MP (Con). Elsewhere, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will hear evidence on the progress of devolution in England. In the Lords, there will be oral questions on the review into the Post Office Horizon scandal with Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom (Con). Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con) will make a statement on the implementation of the Kickstart scheme.
On Tuesday 8th, the Education Committee will hear evidence on the Further Education White Paper. The Health and Social Care Committee will hear evidence from the Local Government Association and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP (Con) on social care funding and its workforce. In the Lords, there will be oral questions on the delivery of the Government’s levelling up agenda in the wake of COVID-19 with Lord Blencathra (Con), as well as oral questions on the number of new homes needed by 2025 and the delivery of target for 300,000 new homes per year with Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con). The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Post Offices will meet.
On Wednesday 9th, the Transport Committee will hear evidence on the implications of COVID-19 for transport systems. In the Lords, there will be oral questions on the future of Britain’s railways with Lord Bradshaw (Lib Dem). The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire will meet, as will the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Education technology.
On Thursday 10th, there will be a general debate on support for the tourism industry after COVID-19 in the Commons with Selaine Saxby MP (Con). The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Broadband Digital Communication will meet, as will the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Peak District.
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