Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many contracts are let by his Department to voluntary sector organisations; how many of those are let on an annual basis; and how many of those had received finalised contracts for 200607 by 31 March. 
Margaret Hodge: Information is available in the format requested on contracts let after September 2005. Since then Jobcentre Plus has let 15 contracts to voluntary and community sector organisations. This does not include companies limited by guarantee. Of these 15 contracts, none are let on an annual basis. Further tenders are currently being considered for the new deal provision. None of these will be let on an annual basis.
The DWP Financial Inclusion Team let a number of contracts (around 41) in 200506 to voluntary and community sector organisations to assist customers with the opening of suitable accounts into which to have their benefits or pensions paid. None of these contracts are let on an annual basis.
Mr. Timms: The £200 payment to help with council tax bills was for 200506 only. We have no plans to make a payment for 200607. However, council tax benefit is available to pensioners on a low income. When pension credit was introduced in October 2003, we committed almost £½ billion a year to increasing the amounts on which housing benefit and council tax benefit are based: this meant that around two million pensioner households became either entitled to council tax benefit for the first time or qualified for more help.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff have been on sick leave suffering from stress in the Department in each of the last three years; and what percentage of the total staff number this represents. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions records sickness absence related to a range of mental health conditions under the category Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Health Issues". This classification includes stress-related absences but also other mental health problems such as, for example, schizophrenia and depression.
|Number of staff absent in year
For the years 2003 and 2004, it is possible to extract data on the number of employees who were absent due to illness attributed to stress. Data for 2005 was not recorded in a way that enables this information to be retrieved.
|Number of staff
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have participated in (a) new deal for 25 plus, (b) Project Work, (c) Jobsearch Provision and (d) Employment Zones employment schemes in (i) Surrey, (ii) Guildford and (iii) Waverley in each year since 1997. 
|Constituency of Guildford
|Waverley local authority
Jobsearch Provision is normally used to describe the services offered by Programme Centres. These provide individually tailored job search help, including CV preparation, interview skills, telephone techniques, and
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help with application forms. Information on starts to Programme Centres is not available at the level requested.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the impact on employment of the in-work credit; how many people are receiving the credit; what the cost of the credit was in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Eligible participants are paid £40 a week over and above their total income when they start work for 16 hours or more a week. The payment is tax-free and is paid for a maximum of 52 weeks. It is payable on top of any other in-work benefits which eligible parents may be entitled to, for example working tax credit and housing benefit. The in-work credit is primarily paid to lone parents but in April 2005, it was extended to other eligible parents in four London Jobcentre Plus districts.
A thorough evaluation is being undertaken to assess the impact of the pilot on eligible parents, including movements off benefit and into work. We expect to publish a quantitative report using the first 12 months of programme data at the end of the year. In addition, qualitative evaluation will explore the impact of the pilots on the attitudes, motivations and actions of participants, and will also examine the effectiveness of delivery. We expect to publish this report in spring 2007.
In November 2005, the latest date for which information is available, more than 11,000 eligible parents were in receipt of the in-work credit. Spend on the in-work credit between April 2004 and October 2005 was approximately £13 million.
Margaret Hodge: The new deal aims to help people into sustainable work as quickly as possible, and, where appropriate, personal advisers can refer people to relevant training if this will increase the likelihood of an individual gaining employment.
The mandatory new deal programmes new deal for young people (NDYP) and new deal 25 plus (ND25 plus) contain a formal training element. People aged 18 to 24 who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) for six months can access training, including basic skills training, through the NDYP full time education and training option. This can lead to a recognised qualification up to S/NVQ Level 2 or equivalent.
People aged 25 and over who have been claiming JSA for 18 out of the last 21 months can undertake training through the ND25 plus education and training opportunities. This can lead to a recognised qualification up to S/NVQ Level 3 or equivalent.
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Participants can also access basic employability training to address basic skills needs, and work-focused training if they lack the specific work related skills needed by local employers. Training in the mandatory new deal programmes is delivered across employment sectors for varying lengths of time, and is tailored to the needs of individuals and local employers. In exceptional circumstances one-off or specialist provision approved by Jobcentre Plus may be available where resources allow.
The voluntary new deal programmes do not contain a formal training element. However, people on new deal for lone parents (NDLP) and new deal for partners (NDP) can take up the training opportunities that are available through NDYP and ND25 plus. They can also access training available through the Learning and Skills Council, or through other local agreements. They can also be referred to other training such as basic skills or English for Speakers of Other Languages and, as with the mandatory new deals, one-off or specialist provision approved by Jobcentre Plus may be available where resources allow.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of those entering new deal in 2003 were (a) still claiming job seeker's allowance and(b) still on the new deal at the end of December 2005. 
Margaret Hodge: People joining the new deal will not necessarily be claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA). Some, particularly those joining the voluntary new deals, could be claiming income support or other benefits.
Of those who entered the new deal in 2003, who were claiming JSA, only 2 per cent. were still on the same JSA claim at the end of November 2005, the latest date for which benefit information is available. An additional 26 per cent. of those who started new deal in 2003, who were claiming JSA, ceased to claim JSA but were recorded as starting a new claim before November 2005.
6 per cent. of those who started the new deal in 2003, including those on a range or different benefits, were still on new deal at the end of August 2005, the latest date for which information is available.
It is the case 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.