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21 Nov 2005 : Column 1674W—continued

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the efficiency of the computer system dealing with the processing of claims for jobseeker's allowance. [24537]

Margaret Hodge: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lesley Strathie to Mr. David Laws, dated 21 November 2005:

Kvaerner Pension Fund

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Pension Regulator regarding the Kvaerner pension fund. [30796]

Mr. Timms: Ministers have had no discussions with the Pensions Regulator about this case.

Lone Parents

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents have had (a) work-focused interviews every six months, (b) their income support reduced as a sanction for failure to attend a compulsory work-focused interview and (c) their work-focused interview deferred or waived since the sanctioning regime was introduced. [25257]

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Margaret Hodge: Lone Parents are required to participate in a Work Focused Interview (WFI) when they make a new claim for income support (IS). They are also required to attend a WFI after six months and 12 months on IS and annually thereafter. WFIs for existing IS customers were rolled out from April 2001. Since October 2005, lone parents with a youngest child aged at least 14 have been required to attend a WFI at quarterly intervals.

There have been 1,981,000 Lone Parent WFIs attended by 1,064,600 lone parents since they were first introduced. The breakdown of these interviews is in the following table.
Customers attending lone parent work focused interviews

Initial interviews
New and repeat
IS claimants
Existing claimantsSix month review meetingsAnnual
review meetings

1. Customers making a new or repeat claim have been required to attend an initial WFI, six month WFI and then annual interviews since April 2002.
2. Figures are for individuals attending.
3. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.
4. During the same period, 57,000 lone parents have been sanctioned for failing to participate in a WFI. Sanctions are lifted immediately once the lone parent participates in the WFI.
5. 91,100 lone parents have had their WFI deferred at least once and 24,000 have had their WFI waived. Interviews can be deferred or waived if it is not helpful to hold them on the due date. Reasons for deferral can include a recent bereavement, illness, or caring responsibilities. A waiver can be applied in cases of severe disablement or terminal illness.
DWP Disability and Work Division, Jobcentre and New Deal for Lone Parents Evaluation Databases (August 2005)

New Deal

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the current performance of each New Deal programme in respect of (a) the number of job-placements and (b) the cost-effectiveness of each placement. [21272]

Margaret Hodge: A total of 1,429,000 people had gained a job through the New Deal programme up to March 2005. The average cost of helping a person into work was £2,047.

Information on expenditure and the average cost of helping a person into work through each New Deal programme is in the table.
New Deal—people into work and cost per person into work

(£ million)
Number of people gaining
a job
Average cost per person gaining
a job (£)
New Deal for Young People1,699620,0002,739
New Deal for 25 plus800237,0003,377
New Deal for 50 Plus254140,0001,813
New Deal for Disabled People13361,0002,180
New Deal for Lone Parents97397,000244
New Deal for Partners34,000939

1. Expenditure data exclude administrative costs.
2. Expenditure figures include programme costs and the costs of allowances paid to participants, apart from the 50 plus element of the working tax credit.
3. Information is provided to March 2005 as this is the latest available date for confirmed expenditure figures.
4. Figures for number of people gaining a job are rounded to the nearest thousand.
5. New Deal expenditure figures are rounded to the nearest million.
6. New Deal average cost figures are rounded to the nearest pound.
7. Figures for numbers of people into work on individual New Deal programmes will not sum to the total number of people into work through all the New Deals as some people will have gained a job through more than one New Deal programme.
Department for Work and Pensions Departmental Report
Department for Work and Pensions Information Directorate

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The cost of helping people into work varies across the New Deals as programmes have different client groups and components. People on the mandatory New Deal programmes have generally been claiming jobseeker's allowance for some time, and can require more intensive support to overcome employment barriers than those participating on some of the voluntary New Deals. Costs can also be higher if allowances are paid to participants and employers, and can also be influenced by payments to external providers.

An investment in helping people into work, including those claiming Incapacity benefit, not only makes an immediate difference to those individuals, but also results in savings to the economy in future benefit payments.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the total number of recorded job entries through the new deal for disabled people, excluding pathways to work pilot areas, (a) returned to incapacity benefits and (b) claimed jobseeker's allowance within (i) one month, (ii) two months, (iii) six months and (iv) 12 months in (A) 2003–04 and (B) 2004–05. [30678]

Margaret Hodge: The available information is in the table.

Jobs gained18,68032,590
Proportion claiming Jobseekers allowance within period stated
1 month12
2 months33
6 months7n/a
12 months11n/a
Proportion claiming incapacity benefits within period stated
1 month33
2 months66
6 months13n/a
12 months20n/a

1. The proportion of people claiming a benefit within six months and 12 months for 2004–05 is not yet available as benefits data is only available up to May 2005.
2. Incapacity benefits data includes: incapacity benefits including passported incapacity benefit; attendance allowance; severe disability allowance; disability living allowance and income support with a disability premium.
3. Figures are for jobs gained following registration with a new deal for disabled people job broker, and jobs gained through contact with Jobcentre Plus.
4. All figures exclude people registering with new deal for disabled people job brokers in the following pathways to work pilot areas: Bridgend, Rhondda, Cynon and Taff; Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Argyll and Bute; Derbyshire; Essex; Gateshead and South Tyneside; Lancashire East; and Somerset.
5. Years relate to April 2003 to March 2004, and April 2004 to March 2005.
6. Information is for jobs gained, not individuals into jobs.
7. The Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study links benefit and employment information held by the Department for Work and Pensions with employment records held by the Inland Revenue.
Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study, DWP

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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of young people (a) starting and (b) completing the New Deal for Young People have lacked basic skills. [25202]

Margaret Hodge: When New Deal for Young People (NDYP) participants attend their first NDYP interview, their personal adviser will consider whether it is appropriate to refer them for a formal basic skills assessment. If a basic skills need is identified during the assessment, NDYP participants can be referred to Basic Skills provision, which will aim to address their skills needs.

Between April 2001 and July 2005 there were 715,130 starts to New Deal for Young People, of which 86,430 (12 per cent.) subsequently started Basic Skills provision while on the programme 1 . Information is not available prior to April 2001. Information on the number of people lacking basic skills on completion of New Deal for Young People is not collected.

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