As part of the above process, customers are given information, advice and guidance about the range of Jobcentre Plus services, including our telephony based job-matching service (Jobseeker Direct) and our Internet job bank, and how to make best use of these and other vacancy sources. We also encourage customers who have obvious basic skills or language needs to address this through the Employment Skills Programme provided by the Learning and Skills Council or by making use of locally available provision.
Following the initial interview, people are usually required to attend their nearest Jobcentre Plus office on a fortnightly basis to discuss what the customer has been doing to find work; make sure they remain entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance by being available for and actively seeking work; and to see what help, if any, is required.
About two thirds of all those claiming Jobseeker's Allowance leave benefit during the first 13 weeks of a claim and around four fifths within the first six months, but for those who do not, additional help is provided through another, more in-depth, interview with a personal adviser. The purpose of this interview is to review the Jobseeker's Agreement, making sure that it is still helpful. As part of this process the adviser will, where appropriate, discuss and agree ways in which the customer might broaden their jobsearch to increase the prospects of finding work. Following this interview, people are asked to attend the Jobcentre Plus office on a weekly (rather than fortnightly) basis, thereby increasing the support that is available.
Over and above the support outlined above, those people who are particularly disadvantaged in the labour market, e.g. those with a health problem or disability, a literacy or numeracy problem, a criminal record or a history of drink/drug misuse, can access additional help through early entry to the New Deal. Early access to New Deal is considered and agreed by advisers where it is clear that the customer has significant difficulties, making the prospect of finding work much less likely without additional help. The New Deal provides more intensive help through the support of a personal adviser and a range of opportunities to help overcome significant barriers to employment. New Deal also provides access to the Adviser Discretion Fund, which can be used to overcome more immediate barriers to employment, for example, clothing to attend interviews, or tools not provided by the employer. Similarly, advisers may, during the first six months, also grant early access to Programme Centre provision, which can provide additional help for those people who need to improve motivation and confidence, and their basic jobsearch skills.
But we have recognised that there is still more we can do. In Ready for work: full employment in our generation we set out our plans to provide even more support to customers. A stepped programme of support will be available for all Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) customers from day one. Harder-to-help people will be fast-tracked to more intensive support and all people will have an initial skill screening followed by a more in-depth skills health check at the six-month stage if they have not already found work.
I hope this information is helpful and assures you of our intent to provide people with the best possible service, aimed at helping them into work as soon as possible.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of men aged between 18 and 24 years of age have claimed jobseekers allowance since it was established. 
|Number and percentage of male claimants of jobseekers allowance aged 18 to 24 in Great Britain
|(1) Percentage of the population of men aged 18 to 24.
1. Number of claimants are rounded to the nearest five. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
2. Jobseekers allowance was introduced in October 1996 and replaced unemployment benefit and income support as the benefit for unemployed people seeking work.
3. Some people may appear more than once in this table.
Count of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems (computer held cases only). ONS population estimates.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many weeks sanctions were applied to those recipients of jobseeker's allowance who did not apply for a job opportunity on first offence, broken down by Jobcentre Plus or Careers Service in each local authority area in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many recipients of jobseeker's allowance who have failed to apply for a job opportunity were sanctioned on the first offence, broken down by individual Jobcentre Plus or Careers Service in each local authority area in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many recipients of jobseeker's allowance were found not to have applied for a job opportunity, broken down by individual Jobcentre Plus or Careers Service in each local authority area in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus,
Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked Lesley Strathie to reply to your questions about the number of people who, in each of the last 10 years, have had their benefits reduced as a consequence of not applying for, or taking a reasonable job opportunity. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to Ms Strathie as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. I am replying in her absence as Acting Chief Executive.
Information on how many weeks sanctions were applied to recipients of Jobseeker's Allowance who failed to apply for a job opportunity on first offence is only available from October 2005, the other information supplied is available from April 2000. The available information is in the attached tables broken down by Jobcentre Plus District. This information will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many unemployed non-disabled persons had their jobseeker's allowance suspended for (a) two weeks and (b) more than two weeks in each of the last 10 years. 
|Number of non-disabled people with jobseeker's allowance sanctions by length of sanction( 1)
|April 2000 to March 2001
|April 2001 to March 2002
|April 2002 to March 2003
|April 2003 to March 2004
|April 2004 to March 2005
|April 2005 to March 2006
|April 2006 to March 2007
|March 2007 to July 2007
|(1) Individuals and decisions based figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Totals may not sum due to rounding. (2 )Length of variable sanction is available only from October 2005. (3 )"Entitlement Sanctions" refer to cases where benefit is suspended because there is doubt about the claimant's availability, or whether they are actively seeking employment. Benefit can be suspended indefinitely until the doubts are resolved. They should be counted as a suspension rather than a sanction. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Jobseeker's Allowance Sanctions and Disallowance Decisions Statistics Database.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what proportion of people in relative poverty in each region paid full council tax in the last year for which information is available; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) pursuant to the answer of 8 January 2008, Official Report, column 436W, on low incomes: council tax, how many people constitute the (a) 2.7 million households in relative poverty before housing costs and (b) the 3 million households in relative poverty after housing costs, broken down by region; and if he will make a statement. 
|Proportion of individuals in relative poverty paying full council tax, by region (three-year average)
|Before H ousing C osts
|After H ousing C osts
Family Resources Survey 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06