SMALL and medium sized enterprises in Bury are being encouraged to support a new government drive to create employment for young people on Universal Credit.

Council bosses have backed the borough's participation in Kickstart, an initiative targeted at 16 to 24-year-olds on benefits.

Ventures would work with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to secure the roles.

Referrals for the post, which must be a minimum of 25 hours per week and last at least six months, would be taken from the DWP.

And at least 30 of those positions will be within the Bury Council workforce, it has been confirmed.

Councillors have been told that a grant will cover 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage, for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Each job placement attracts £1,500 for an employer in setup costs, support and training, which can be provided in-house or through an outside specialist body.

For those employers who can offer 30-plus jobs at a time, the opportunity is there to make a grant application direct to the DWP.

If a firm was only looking to take on less than 30, they are being asked to apply as a collective, with other smaller traders, and make an approach through a nominated representative. Support grants will be on offer for such a representative.

Council chiefs have signalled their own support for Kickstart by agreeing to employ 30-plus new starters on this basis.

In a report, borough council chief executive Geoff Little said: "This activity will support Bury Council’s recovery plan including the Bury Opportunity Guarantee.

"The roles will be deployed across business support and Covid emergency response across the hub network and potential town centre marshals."