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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of vacancies in the UK economy that will be filled by British workers in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how the flexible New Deal process outlined in In work, better off: next steps to full employment will accommodate the adult careers service recommended by Lord Leitch in his report, Prosperity for all in the global economyworld class skills. 
Caroline Flint: The Governments approach to improving adults skills is set out in both the recent DWP/DIUS publication Opportunity, Employment and progression: making skills work and the Green Paper In-work, better off: next steps to full employment.
Opportunity, Employment and progression sets out how Jobcentre Plus will work collaboratively with the adult advancement and careers service in England and with the equivalent skills services in Scotland and Wales. Skills screening, assessment and development will form an integral part of the activity related to getting a jobseeker into work and progressing where they can. We will combine support for skills development alongside job-search activity to ensure individuals can access the help they need early, taking into account local labour market requirements and the customers needs and aspirations.
Our Green Paper proposed measures to tackle an individuals basic skills needs early in a jobseekers allowance (JSA) claim. Throughout their claim, including any period spent on the flexible new deal, JSA customers will be reminded of the importance of continuing to develop their skills to help them secure longer-term employment. We have recently concluded the consultation on In-work, better off: next steps to full employment and will publish a full response soon.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library the evidential sources for his statement that there are 600,000 vacancies in the economy in each month. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Housing benefit expenditure figures are not available on a monthly basis. The Department receives annual expenditure figures from local authorities via housing and council tax benefit subsidy claim forms.
|Housing benefit expenditure for Peterborough local authority district|
1. Information sourced from local authority claims for housing revenue account subsidy and housing benefit subsidy.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest £100,000.
3. Figures prior to 2006-07 are audited, but may change in future if local authorities audited accounts are amended after a decision or appeal. Figures for recent years are more likely to be amended than older data.
4. 2006-07 figures are initial final (pre-audited) and are subject to change.
5. From 1999-2000 onwards, housing benefit expenditure on asylum seekers was funded by the National Asylum Support Service, and is therefore excluded from the figures presented at Great Britain. However, local authority level information includes all expenditure on these benefits relating to asylum seekers, as it is not possible to isolate at this level that part which applies to asylum seekers.
6. Figures relate to what local authorities spend on claimants, and include discretionary expenditure (mainly disregards of War Pensions), and overpayments except where benefit has been granted in advance (where the benefit is paid in the form of a rebate).
DWP Benefit expenditure tables.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about what assessments his Department has made of the ease of access to Jobcentre Plus in rural areas. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus services are provided not only through the Jobcentre network but also by telephone through the Contact Centre and Benefit Delivery Centre network as well as the internet. This allows all customers to access services regardless of where they live. Where there are issues about customer access to a Jobcentre provision can be made for additional more flexible support arrangements. These include the installation of Jobpoints in libraries, surgeries in third party premises, partnering in Local Authority outlets and, where practical, some mobile services.
At the inception of Jobcentre Plus in 2002 District Managers developed local service delivery plans in consultation with key stakeholders from the community. This exercise led to the identification of where best to locate our Jobcentre network and where to introduce the additional flexible arrangements referred to above. In developing service delivery plans District Managers had full regard for a range of factors including where people live, the needs of those people, ease and cost of accessing Jobcentres by those communities and the viability of maintaining an outlet or introducing a flexible support arrangement.
Since the development of those original plans our service provision has been continuously improving, because of advances in telephony and e-channels. These improvements mean that District Managers can review the original plans to ensure that we achieve our aim of providing work for those who can and support for those who cannot in the most efficient and effective manner.
Devon & Cornwall Jobcentre Plus District, for example, is in the process of reviewing its Service Delivery Plan. This review is being carried out once again in consultation with key stakeholders and their views will be fully considered before decisions are finalised. Access to services for all customers will be a key consideration of that review regardless of where they live.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the effect on his Departments expenditure on benefits which would arise from an increase in the national minimum wage to £6.75 per hour. 
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance numbers have been issued to non-EU foreign nationals in each quarter since 1 January 2004; and what the percentage change was between each (a) year and (b) quarter. 
|National insurance numbers allocated to non-EU nationals entering the UK|
|Year of registration||Number||Percentage change from previous year|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Some additional disclosure control has been applied.
2. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
3. Years referred to are financial years. Reliable quarterly estimates from National Statistics are not currently available.
4. Figures exclude cases where nationality is unknown.
5. Figures are produced from section four of the 2007 NINO allocations to Overseas Nationals Entering the UK report
100 per cent. extract from national insurance recording system at 14 May 2007
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance numbers have been issued to (a) Romanian and (b) Bulgarian citizens in each quarter since 5 April 2002. 
|National insurance numbers allocated to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals entering the UK|
|Year of registration||Bulgaria||Romania|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest ten. Some additional disclosure control has been applied.
2. Years referred to are financial years. Reliable quarterly estimates from National Statistics are not currently available.
100 percent. extract from national insurance recording system at 14 May 2007
|Starts to new deal for young people in Suffolk|
|Number of starts|
1. The county of Suffolk comprises the local authorities of: Babergh; Forest Heath; Ipswich; Mid Suffolk; St. Edmundsbury; Suffolk Coastal and Waveney.
2. Years are calendar years.
3. Latest complete year data are for 2006
4. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Information Directorate, Department for Work and Pensions.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which groups of benefits claimants will be fast tracked to the gateway stage of flexible New Deal under the proposals outlined in In work, better off: next steps to full employment. 
The Green Paper proposed that the criteria for fast tracking customers to the Gateway stage of flexible new deal would be based on benefit history and those with long recent durations on jobseekers allowance (JSA) would be mandated to it. Other customers would be able to volunteer for early
referral to the Gateway if they are in a recognised disadvantaged group. The flexible new deal would be for JSA customers only.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether all strands of current New Deal programmes will be subsumed into flexible New Deal under the proposals outlined in In work, better off: next steps to full employment. 
Caroline Flint: In the Green Paper In-work, better off: next steps to full employment, we set out our proposals for the flexible new deal. Our proposals are that the flexible new deal would replace the existing mandatory new deal for young people (NDYP) and new deal 25-plus (ND25+) programmes, and would be for jobseekers allowance (JSA) customers only. The funding for the new deal for musicians, which is offered through NDYP and ND25+, would be incorporated into the flexible new deal.
It is intended that the flexible new deal will look very different to these programmes and will respond more flexibly to individual needs; providers may draw on experiences from the activity offered in the current mandatory new deal programmes but would be able to develop and offer other initiatives as well.
The voluntary new deals are open to customers across benefit groups. Under flexible new deal, there would be some changes to the way the additional support available through flexible new deal applies to jobseekers allowance (JSA) customers on these programmes.
New deal 50-plus would continue in its present form for non-JSA customers. The support currently offered to JSA customers through new deal 50-plus would be replaced by the additional employment and skills support and activity requirements at the six-month Gateway stage of flexible new deal.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how the flexible New Deal programme proposed in In work, better off: next steps to full employment will affect the delivery of the city strategy in pathfinder areas. 
Caroline Flint: As with the Departments existing employment programmes, wherever there are local initiatives, Jobcentre Plus and providers operating within the flexible new deal will make best use of the opportunities they offer to improve the employability and job outcomes of unemployed people.
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