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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the annual cost of income support for single parents who are not required to work due to the age of their children; and if he will make a statement. 
A person's status as a lone parent entitles them to claim income support until their youngest child reaches 16. Lone parents in receipt of
7 Feb 2006 : Column 1166W
income support are not required to seek work but do have to attend work focused interviews. The expenditure on income support for lone parents reduced from £4,937 million 1 in 199798 to £4,602 million 1 in 200405.
Since 1997 the number of lone parents getting income support has reduced by 22 per cent. The success of new deal for lone parents has been a major contributing factor to the increase in lone parent employment in every region, the reduction in the number of children in workless households and the reduction in child poverty.
Mr. McFall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applicants there have been for a crisis loan in the last six months in the JobcentrePlus offices in West Dunbartonshire; and how many calls from people applying for crisis loans have gone unanswered. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many applicants there have been for a crisis loan and how many calls from people applying for crisis loans have gone unanswered in the last six months in the Jobcentre Plus offices in West Dunbartonshire. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Crisis Loans in West Dunbartonshire were processed by both Clydebank social security office and Helensburgh Jobcentre Plus office. From 22 November, Crisis Loans continue to be processed by Helensburgh but the processing formerly undertaken in Clydebank moved to Inverness social security office. Inverness is not part of West Dunbartonshire.
Helensburgh handled 730 Crisis Loan applications in the six months from July to December 2005. From July 2005, until the processing of Crisis Loans ceased there on 21 November 2005, Clydebank handled 5071 applications.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what system is in place to monitor the numbers of people with a learning disability who are on benefit and using Jobcentre Plus employment programmes; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what system is in place to monitor the numbers of people with a learning disability who are on benefit and using Jobcentre Plus employment programmes. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as chief executive of Jobcentre Plus.
In doing this, we do not specifically monitor information on learning disabilities. However, when our advisers are identifying and addressing a customer's needs they record the individual's own definition of their disability on our labour market system. This cannot be extracted as monitoring information, but is used by advisers in subsequent discussions with the customer.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on the rate of movement of lone parents into jobs of the outsourcing of new deal for lone parent provision; 
(2) what the rate of movement was of lone parents into jobs (a) in London areas where provision for lone parents is outsourced and (b) other areas in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what the rate was in those London areas prior to outsourcing. 
Margaret Hodge: Multiple provider employment zones have been providing employment support to lone parents since April 2004. Single provider zones have been providing lone parent support since October 2003. In London employment zone areas, employment support is provided to lone parents through the zones rather than through NDLP. Outside London, lone parents in employment zone areas can choose whether to receive help through employment zones or NDLP.
Information on lone parent employment rates for employment zone areas is not available, either before or after the outsourcing of lone parent provision. This information is not available below Government Office regional level.
More than 423,000 lone parents have already been helped into work through NDLP and more than 4,200 jobs have been secured by lone parents through employment zones. Information on lone parent jobs secured through employment zones in the last 12 months, broken down by zone, is in the table.
|Brent and Haringey||637|
|Liverpool and Sefton||380|
|Tower Hamlets and Newham||282|
|Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland||100|
|North West Wales||25|
|Heads of the Valleys, Caerphilly and Torfaen||71|
An evaluation of employment zones is currently ongoing and analysis of data will examine the performance of employment zones in relation to selected Jobcentre Plus comparison sites. This analysis will examine performance by client groups including lone parents and we expect to complete this by the autumn and publish results by the end of the year.
Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to publish evaluations of the impact on numbers of lone parents entering employment of (a) the work search premium, (b) discovery weeks, (c) in work credit, (d) extended schools child care pilots, (e) the in work emergency fund and (f) employment zones. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 2 February 2006]: Evaluation of the impact on the numbers of lone parents entering employment through a range of initiatives including the work search premium, the in-work credit and the extended schools child care pilots is ongoing and we expect to publish results in the autumn.
The in-work emergency fund (IWEF) is being evaluated as part of the evaluation of new deal plus for lone parents and we expect to publish this report in December. Early qualitative evidence on the IWEF will be available in the forthcoming report: 'Work Focused Interviews and Lone Parent Initiatives: Further analysis of policies and pilots' which will be published on the 16 February and will be placed in the Library. There are no plans to publish any assessment of discovery weeks.
Evaluation of employment zones is currently ongoing and analysis of data will examine the performance of employment zones in relation to selected Jobcentre Plus comparison sites. This analysis will examine performance by client group including lone parents. We expect to complete this by the autumn and publish results by the end of the year.
Three recent publications include qualitative analysis of lone parents' experience of employment zones and relevant information can be found in the following reports: Evaluation of the Single Provider Employment Zone Extension, DWP Research Report No.312, 2006, Chapter 6; Evaluation of Multiple Provider Employment Zones: Early Implementation Issues, DWP Research Report No.310, 2006, Chapter 7; Evaluation of Single Provider Employment Zone Extensions to Young People, Lone Parents and Early Entrants: Interim Report, DWP Research Report no. 228, 2005, Chapter 7, all of which are available in Library.
Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the forecast cost is of introducing work-focused interviews every three months for lone parents whose youngest child is 14 and who have been on benefit for more than a year; 
(2) how many personal advisers will be needed for work focused interviews (a) every three months for lone parents on benefit more than a year whose youngest child is 14 years and (b) every six months to all lone parents on benefit for more than a year. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 2 February 2006]: Quarterly work focused interviews were introduced in October 2005 for lone parents claiming income support (IS) with a youngest child aged at least 14. For lone parents who remain on IS until their youngest child reaches 16, this will involve a series of up to eight work focused interviews over a two year period, which is six more than under previous arrangements. The interviews aim to help as many lone parents as possible move into work, or closer to the labour market, before their child reaches 16 by providing information, advice and guidance on work opportunities and the range of help on offer.
We estimate a total expenditure of approximately £4.3 million on this initiative during 200506, £0.7 million of which represents the cost of an anticipated increased participation in new deal for lone parents resulting from the work focused interviews. It is too early to confirm allocations for 200607.
Potentially all Jobcentre Plus lone parent advisers could be involved in delivering these quarterly work focused interviews, but funding for the initiative is based on a planning assumption of the equivalent of an additional 65 full time staff for the period October 2005 to March 2006 or 130 for a full year.
Currently, lone parents who have been on income support for more than a year receive an annual work focused interview which provides information, advice and guidance on work opportunities and the range of help and support on offer. Results from these have shown that such interviews help lone parents think about work and many go on to prepare for it by joining new deal for lone parents.
In our Welfare Reform Green Paper: 'A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work', we set out our proposals to increase the frequency of interviews for lone parents on income support for more than a year to six monthly. This will build on the above success by providing additional opportunities for lone parents to meet with a lone parent adviser.
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