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Lone Parents

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many lone parents, under the New Deal for Lone Parents, have (a) been issued with an initial invitation letter (b) requested information on the scheme, (c) booked initial interviews with personal advisers, (d) attended initial interviews, (e) agreed to participate in the programme, (f) been referred to Employment Service programmes or other training, (g) obtained jobs following participation and (h) increased hours of work following participation. [157076]

Angela Eagle: We are giving lone parents more choices and more help than ever before to move off welfare and into work.

The latest information available about the New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) is in the table.

Prototype phases 1 and 2(92)National programme(93)
Initial invitation letters issued50,612761,290
Lone parents requesting information(94)--(94)--
Initial interviews booked30,826(95)254,853
Initial interviews attended23,300212,490
Number agreeing to participate20,191188,500
Number entering education/training2,94420,450
Jobs obtained (Number of these obtained by part-time workers increasing their hours)6,271 (842)77,140 (2,470)

(92) July 1997 to October 1998

(93) October 1998 to January 2001

(94) As lone parents may request further information about NDLP in a number of different ways it would be impossible to quantify this figure.

(95) The number of initial interviews booked is taken from internal management information and so has not been validated in the same way as other figures for the National Programme

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 489W

Benefits Agency (Performance Targets)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what performance targets he has set the Benefits Agency for 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. [158057]

Mr. Darling: The Benefits Agency in 2001-02 is continuing to improve performance on the ground while gearing up for the introduction of "Jobcentre Plus" and "The Pension Service".

Further information, including performance targets is set out in the Benefits Agency's Business Plan for

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 490W

2001-02, which has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.


High Sheriffs

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the President of the Council how many high sheriffs appointed since 1990 were members of political parties, broken down by party. [157717]

Mrs. Beckett: This information is not collected. Sheriffs are, however, asked to refrain from party political activity during their year of office.