Wolverhampton businesses which have created dozens of new jobs during the last 12 months received a special visit from Rishi Sunak earlier this week.
The Chancellor visited four businesses in the city on Wednesday (July 7) to demonstrate the Government’s Plan for Jobs is working.
New figures released to mark the one-year anniversary of Plan for Jobs show that the scheme has helped to support more than 1.2 million jobs and individuals in the West Midlands since the pandemic began.
The programme – which aims to protect, support and create jobs across the country – includes the furlough and self-employment support schemes and initiatives to help people gain the skills they need to get into work such as the Kickstart scheme, apprenticeships and traineeships.
Among the companies Mr Sunak visited was Robinson’s Manufacturing which has taken on 30 new workers, GTG Training which has created seven new jobs and the Wolverhampton branch of PureGym, which put 2,700 workers on furlough to protect their jobs.
He also visited Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which received a £160,000 Capital Kickstart grant as part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recover Fund.
Rebecca Passmore, UK managing director of PureGym, said: “The last year has been devastating for PureGym but we are delighted to now be open so our members can work out and progress their health and wellbeing journey.
“The furlough scheme was a real lifeline for PureGym enabling us to effectively mothball the business so that we could preserve jobs and then ramp up operations as restrictions eased.
“Looking ahead, we are delighted to be trading in our 287 gyms across the UK, which includes 14 brand new facilities that opened since April, with more to come.
“We have seen incredible demand from existing and new members since re-opening underscoring the increasing importance the public place on their health and fitness.”
Pauline Marshall, GTG Group commercial operations manager said: “After a challenging year, we launched our Kickstart scheme because we wanted to use our facilities, experience and skills to help young unemployed adults improve their chances of finding long-term work.
“Our aim has always been to invest in the future workforce; to help people learn the skills they need to enjoy successful careers in the automotive, transport and health and safety industries. We’re always thinking of new and innovative ways to meet the needs of our apprentices, clients, delegates and staff, and we hope to continue this success in the future.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “This time last year we faced a potential tidal wave of job losses with the UK on the brink of a financial crisis like no other in history.
“But we made a Plan for Jobs, we stuck to that plan and it’s working – supporting more than 14.5 million jobs to date and helping people in Wolverhampton, the West Midlands and across the UK gain the skills they need to get back into work.
“We know the job is not yet done and our economy needs to recover – which is why we are continuing our support to give everyone the best chance of moving on from this crisis.”
Across the UK, 11.6 million jobs have been protected through the furlough scheme and 2.9 million self-employed workers have received £25.2 billion in government grants.
More than one million of those jobs were in the West Midlands, with 224,000 self-employed workers in the region receiving self-employment grants.