A £1.9bn scheme to help young people to work is helping far fewer than hoped, a committee of MPs has warned.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it supported the intention of targeted help for young workers during the pandemic but the £1.9bn “emergency intervention” Kickstart scheme has supported far fewer than predicted.
“Early delivery was chaotic,” the MPs said in their report on Friday.
The UK government said the policy had helped 130,000 young people to work.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) now forecasts that Kickstart will support 168,000 young people, fewer than the original prediction of 250,000, the report said.
The programme, which launched in September 2020, targets young people at risk of long-term unemployment.
The report said the DWP “neglected to put in place basic management information that would be expected for a multi-billion-pound grant programme”.
The economic hit of Covid on young people was not as bad as first predicted. However, the report found the DWP does not know why many young people who signed up for Universal Credit early in the pandemic have since come off the benefit and into Kickstart jobs.
The report recommended the government try to claw back the scheme’s £1,500 employment support costs where the employer has not used the money as it should have.