Constituency matters… a weekly column by the Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins 28 April 2021

This week I met with Maria Landers, the Customer Service Manager at Folkestone job centre, to discuss the government’s Kickstart programme, which has been created to support young people looking for work, and to help employers to take on new staff.

Kickstart provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year olds who are currently on Universal Credit. Employers of all sizes can apply for this funding to create new jobs for young people, rather than to replace existing roles within their organisation. Kickstart covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage for employers, depending on the age of the participant, for 25 hours per week for a total of six months.

The Kickstart scheme will also cover associated employer national insurance payments and any relevant workplace pension contributions. Employers can spread the job start dates up until 31 December 2021, and they’ll get funding until 30 June 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 December 2021. Employers can also offer additional hours to Kickstart employees at their own cost and are also free to top-up the salary payments should they wish to do so.

Also, unlike previous schemes you no longer need a minimum of thirty job placements to apply for Kickstart funding. You can find out more about Kickstart online at or by contacting the local job centre. Please also contact me by email at if you would like more information about this.

Last Friday I joined Folkestone and Hythe District Council leader David Monk, to visit the construction site of the new Romney Marsh Employment Hub, at Mountfield Road, New Romney. This new development has been supported with £3.5million of government finance along with support from our local councils, the East Kent Spatial Development Company and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Once completed later this year, the Employment Hub will provide space for up to twenty new businesses and will support further economic development on Romney Marsh. When we talk about building back better after COVID, it is great to have projects like this already being delivered to support growth in our area.

On Thursday 6th May there will be elections for Kent County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, as well as numerous local council by-elections. The full details for elections in our area are available at the website for Folkestone and Hythe District Council.

On 6th May polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm, and you do not need to take your polling card with you in order to vote.

Many people now vote by post and will have already returned their ballot paper. However, if you’ve not been able to send back your postal vote, you can still deliver it to your local polling station on the day.

By Ed

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