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The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what Internet sites operated by Jobcentre Plus are available to jobseekers and how their existence is publicised. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The Jobcentre Plus website (www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk) is our Internet service for jobseekers. The site allows users to search our extensive database of some 400,000 vacancies. In addition, the site provides job hunting advice and information on programmes such as New Deal to help people back into work. The site currently receives around 1.5 million visitors each week.
The website is publicised to customers in a variety of ways. Every piece of correspondence to customers on pre-printed letter headed paper shows the Jobcentre Plus website address and many of our computer generated letterswhich are usually about specific benefit issuesalso give the web address. All of our centrally produced customer information leaflets feature the website address predominantly across the centre of the back cover, and often they also show the website address in the main text. These leaflets are available in all Jobcentre Plus offices and in a variety of our partners' premises, such as Citizens' Advice Bureaux and GPs' surgeries.
As far as specific promotional campaigns are concerned, in January 2004 Jobcentre Plus ran a series of national television advertisements aimed at people looking for work. These were primarily to promote our telephone job finding service, Jobseeker Direct, but also publicised our website as an alternative method for accessing our job search facilities. During 2004 we also distributed a leaflet to over 6.7 million residential households to promote Jobcentre Plus services, including our website.
Margaret Hodge: Of those who entered the new deal in 2003, 39 per cent. were recorded as being in employment on the 31 August 2005, the latest date for which information is available. This percentage is a snapshot of those who joined the programme in 2003 who were in employment on that particular day. A total of 70 per cent. of those entering new deal in 2003 are recorded as gaining employment at some point between joining the programme and the end of August 2005.
Many of those who did not enter employment will have undertaken education and training, or participated in other new deal options like the Environmental Task Force or voluntary sector options, all of which will have improved their job readiness and employability. Only 6 per cent. of those who started the new deal in 2003 were still on the programme at the end of August 2005.
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It is inevitable in a dynamic labour market that some people will move into and out of employment after leaving new deal. However, new deal helps people stay in work longer than those in the general labour market and people on the programme have still added to their skills and experience, making it easier for them to find a job in the future.
The new deal has been successful in helping more than 1.5 million people into work and independent research has shown that the economy as a whole is richer by £500 million a year as a result of new deal for young people alone. Research has also demonstrated that long-term youth unemployment would have been twice as high without new deal for young people.
|New deal for young people||New deal 25 plus||New deal 50 plus||New deal for disabled people||New deal for lone parents||New deal for partners||Total|
Margaret Hodge: Between January and November 2005, 62 per cent. of participants had not been on the new deal programme before and 38 per cent. had. In a dynamic labour market it is inevitable that some individuals who find work through the new deal will become unemployed again at some point in the future and at some stage qualify for the new deal again. It is also the case that some individuals have complex barriers to work and will find it difficult to maintain employment over a long period. However, those people who have participated in the new deal will have added to their skills and experience, making it easier for them to find a job in the future.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many benefit claimants have been subject to sanctions for not attending a work-focused interview under the new deal for lone parents (a) once, (b) twice and (c) three times or more in each year since the introduction of the scheme; what the average loss of benefits was in each year; and how many claimants sanctioned subsequently had their benefit reinstated. 
Margaret Hodge: New deal for lone parents is a voluntary programme that aims to help and encourage lone parents to improve their job readiness and employment opportunities, and to gain independence through working. Failure to attend a mandatory work focused interview without good cause can result in a reduction of benefit. However, if the person subsequently participates in the interview then the sanction is lifted.
|Work focused interviews booked||Sanction applied once||Proportion applied once (percentage)||Sanction applied twice|
|April 2001 to March 2002||155,500||2,500||1.6||100|
|April 2002 to March 2003||337,300||5,900||1.8||300|
|April 2003 to March 2004||601,700||13,400||2.2||1,200|
|April 2004 to March 2005||763,900||28,500||3.7||2,200|
|April 2005 to December 2005||631,300||22,800||3.6||200|
|Proportion applied twice (percentage)||Sanction applied three times or more||Proportion applied three times or more||Average weekly loss of benefit|
|April 2001 to March 2002||0.06||0||0.003||10.49|
|April 2002 to March 2003||0.10||100||0.018||10.63|
|April 2003 to March 2004||0.21||100||0.022||10.58|
|April 2004 to March 2005||0.28||100||0.015||10.91|
|April 2005 to December 2005||0.03||0||0.001||11.18|
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