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18 Dec 2003 : Column 1095Wcontinued
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is the policy of his Department to use fair trade products, as a matter of course, in (a) sales on Departmental premises and (b) receptions and meetings involving staff and visitors. 
Maria Eagle: The Government are committed to supporting the Fairtrade Foundation's efforts in promoting the supply and marketing of Fairtrade products. Where practicable, the Department aims to purchase sustainable goods for sale on departmental premises and for receptions and meetings.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with representatives of the UK financial services industry regarding the transfer of jobs abroad; and if he will make a statement. 
I am in regular contact with the financial services industry, as with many other sectors. In relation to the transfer of jobs abroad, we need to understand better what is happening, and to this end we have launched a consultation document inviting views from businessesincluding those from the financial services industry, employees and their unions, and consumer groups. We will also be holding a round-table seminar in the New Year, to help inform the debate on the impacts of offshoring. The Government are also an observer on the Scottish Financial Services Strategy Group, recently set up by the Scottish Executive, which has a remit to boost financial services in Scotland and is also considering the impacts of outsourcing.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans the Government have to re-instate the full guaranteed minimum pension for members of final salary schemes where the assets of the scheme are insufficient to buy the full amount of guaranteed minimum pension when the scheme is wound-up. 
Malcolm Wicks: Members of contracted-out occupational pension schemes can already, in certain circumstances, have some or all of their state scheme rights restored for the period they were contracted-out.
Deemed buybackthe mechanism for restoring members' guaranteed minimum pensionswas introduced as part of the Pensions Act 1995. Deemed buyback can be applied when the date the scheme started to wind up is on or after 6 April 1997. It is dependant on the scheme meeting certain conditions.
Where deemed buyback applies, the Inland Revenue can accept a lower amount from underfunded schemes than it would normally cost to restore the individual's rights in the state scheme. The actual transfer value held for each scheme member for whom deemed buyback applies is paid to the Inland Revenue, with the result of either the remainder being "deemed", or the member's rights being partially instead of fully restored, thereby extinguishing the scheme's liability to provide the member with contracted-out benefits.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate the Government have made of the (a) proportion and (b) number of people who are entitled to a guaranteed minimum pension from their contracted-out final salary pension
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schemes who will not receive their full entitlement due to the winding up of their employer's final salary pension scheme; 
Malcolm Wicks: It is not possible to provide accurate estimates of the number of people entitled to a guaranteed minimum pension or those who might not receive their full entitlement in these circumstances. In order to produce such estimates, data on individual schemes' funding positions would be required. However, detailed information on this area is not available from existing data sources. Funding position information is particularly hard to obtain, given that it is highly sensitive to investment decisions and conditions in financial markets.
The Pensions Schemes Registry (PSR), administered by the Occupational Pension Schemes Regulatory Authority (OPRA), holds information on the number of final salary schemes which are currently in the winding-up process and the number of schemes which have entered and completed winding-up. The registry database is, however, limited in a number of ways as described in the following footnote. Consequently, it does not provide a continuous record of the status of schemes, though it nevertheless remains the most comprehensive source of information available on the aggregate number of pension schemes in the UK.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend, of 1 December, Official Report, column 14W], what plans he has to invite (a) private companies and (b) voluntary organisations to pilot incapacity benefit programmes. 
Maria Eagle: Plans for the Incapacity Benefit Reforms pilots have already been put in place and the first three began operations on 27 October; planning for the next four pilot areas is well-advanced and operations will commence in April 2004. The pilots are managed and run by Jobcentre Plus. From January 2004 one key element of the reforms, the condition management programmes, will be delivered in collaboration with NHS Primary Care Trusts (local health boards, in Wales). In some pilot areas the NHS may decide to contract with local providers from the private/voluntary sector in order to meet service demands.
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The New Deal for Disabled People continues to support people on incapacity benefits into employment with a national network of Job Brokers. Organisations offering Job Broker services come from the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish the recommendations of the National Employment Panel for helping those on inactivity benefits back to work. 
Mr. Browne: The National Employment Panel published their recommendations for increasing the numbers of lone parent who get, stay and progress in work in April this year in the report "Work Works". A copy has been placed in the Library.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for how long participants of the New Deal programme are tracked following completion of the programmes; and what independent assessment of the effectiveness of the timescale for tracking participants has been undertaken. 
Mr. Browne: The tracking period for recording information on the destinations of leavers from New Deal programmes is 13 weeks. An independent assessment of the effectiveness of this tracking period has not been conducted, although research on the New Deal programme has been conducted by independent organisations, including that undertaken by the Policy Studies Institute and British Market Research Bureau (ESR67, March 2001), which is available in the Library.
On the 16 December 2003, we announced the launch of the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study which will link benefit and programme information held by this Department with employment records from the Inland Revenue. This work will improve our understanding of what happens in the longer term to people who leave our programmes, including the New Deal. We are also conducting a study to provide further information on New Deal unknown destinations and expect to publish the report on this survey next year.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average cost per place was in the last 12 months of participants on (a) the New Deal for Young People, (b) the New Deal for Lone Parents and (c) the New Deal for Disabled People. 
Mr. Browne: The New Deals are designed to ensure that individuals get the help they need by offering a tailored package of provision. There is, therefore, no such thing as an average participant, thus data is not collected on the average cost per place.
However, as part of our evaluation of the New Deal programmes, average cost per additional job figures are available for New Deal for Young People participants; in 2000, we estimated that the average cost of a young person moving into work through the New Deal for Young People was around £4,000 per additional job.
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In addition, cost benefit analysis published in June 2003 found that running the New Deal for Lone Parents in 200001 resulted in a net exchequer saving of £1,600 for each Lone Parent moving into work.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the merits of reducing the time a person must be unemployed before being given New Deal 50 plus support. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make the help and advice offered by New Deal 50 plus available immediately rather than after a period of six months unemployment. 
Mr. Browne: Currently around 75 per cent. of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance aged 50 and over leave the benefit within the first six months. Therefore, New Deal 50 plus eligibility is set at six months to target help on those people who are in need of extra support to move into work.
Mr. Browne: Between April 2000 and March 2003 5,520 people applied for and received the in-work training grant offered by the New Deal 50 plus. Jobcentre plus Personal Advisers discuss and agree training plans with eligible clients before the training is undertaken, therefore all those making an application will receive a grant.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 325W, on New Deal for Young People, how many New Deal for Young People leavers moved into employment in each month between January 1998 and January 2003; and what his assessment is of the trend in the percentage of New Deal leavers moving into employment during that period. 
New Deal for Young People has been successful in helping more than 460,000 young people into work. It has helped reduce youth unemployment to around its lowest level since the mid 1970s, and, together with our other welfare to work policies, has been instrumental in virtually eradicating long-term youth unemployment.
The percentage of people leaving New Deal for Young People for sustained employment may be distorted by the trend in leavers to unknown destinations, which has been steadily increasing since 1998. However, research undertaken on the destination of people leaving New Deal suggests that leavers to unknown destinations are just as likely to move into jobs as people leaving to known destinations i.e. 57 per cent.
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On 16 December, we announced the launch of the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study which will link benefit and programme information held by this Department with employment records from the Inland Revenue. This work will improve our understanding of what happens in the longer term to people who leave our programmes, including the New Deal. We are also conducting a study to provide further information on New Deal unknown destinations and expect to publish the report on this survey next year.
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