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Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what meetings representatives of his Department have had on the UK's potential membership of the euro in the last six months; and how many staff in his Department are engaged in work directly related to prospective membership of the euro. 
Mr. McNulty: There are six staff on the Department's Euro Steering Committee, which commissions work elsewhere within the Department as necessary to maintain the Department's state of readiness, in accordance with Government policy. All members of the Steering Committee undertake this work alongside their other duties. In the last six months there have been two internal meetings of officials, and one meeting with HM Treasury, on this subject
The current focus of euro preparations work across the Department is on the governance arrangements for new IT developments, to ensure that any new systems incorporate an appropriate level of euro compatibility. Due to the nature of this work, we are not able to identify the number of people engaged in the euro-related aspect of these arrangements.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many and what proportion of (a) new and (b) existing employment and support allowance claimants will participate in progression to work pathfinders; 
(2) how many and what proportion of (a) new and (b) existing employment and support allowance claimants will be covered by (i) progression to work pathfinders, (ii) invest to save pathfinders and (iii) personalised employment programme pilots; 
Mr. McNulty: One of the core recommendations from the Gregg review of conditionality was the creation of a new Progression to Work group. Gregg recommends that this new approach should be for those people who may not be ready to work immediately, but who with the right mix of support and encouragement could get back into employment. This model would apply to employment and support allowance claimants (other than those in the employment and support allowance support group) and lone parents, and partners of benefit recipients, with children aged one to six. The Progression to Work pathfinders have been created as a result of this recommendation.
The claimants involved in the Progression to Work group will be required to actively engage with their adviser on an ongoing basis to consider, discuss and agree an action plan comprising activities they think will improve their prospects of moving back into work. They must then undertake these agreed activities as part of their own journey towards employment following directions from advisers where these are strictly necessary. This will be underpinned with recourse to sanctions for those failing to engage with support without good cause. However, although still in the Progression to Work group, lone parents and partners of benefit recipients, with children aged one and two will be encouraged, rather than required, to undertake work related activity and will not be sanctioned for refusing to undertake work related activity.
This pathfinder will cover approximately 10 to 15 per cent. of the new employment and support allowance claimants and parents with a youngest child aged between one and less than seven nationally. Based on current inflows, this equates to roughly 65,000 employment and support allowance claimants, 60,000 lone parents and 10,000 partners of benefit recipients each year. These pathfinders are anticipated to begin in late 2010 and last for two years. They are likely to be across six districts and delivery will be a mixture of provider led and Jobcentre Plus led.
The Invest to Save pathfinders will not cover any new employment and support allowance claimants; it is planned that the pathfinders will cover existing incapacity benefits customers only, following migration to employment and support allowance. Based on published caseload projections, we estimate that approximately 17 per cent. of existing customers will be covered by these pathfinders. Estimates will be refined as part of the tendering process for the pathfinders and will be published at the Pre-Qualification-Questionnaire stage.
We anticipate the Personalised Employment Programme pilots will, subject to the passage of legislation, cover approximately 6 per cent. of new employment and support allowance claimants. This equates to roughly
35,000 new employment and support allowance claimants annually, based on current inflows.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what projects in each Government region are planned to receive funding from the European Social Fund in the period 2007 to 2013; and how much funding each such project will receive. 
Kitty Ussher: In the Welfare Reform White Paper, Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future (Cm 7506) published in December 2008, we announced our intention to launch a public consultation on housing benefit reform early in 2009. The timing of this consultation has not been finalised.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many reviews of entitlement to incapacity benefit have been triggered as a result of claimants undertaking voluntary work. 
Mr. McNulty: The recruitment subsidy is part of the £0.5 billion package of jobs measures announced at the 12 January jobs summit. The package will be over two years from April 2009, subject to available funding.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of claims for income support took (a) fewer than five days, (b) between five and 10 days, (c) between 10 and 20 days, (d) between 20 and 30 days, (e) between 30 and 50 days, (f) between 50 and 100 days and (g) over 100 days to process in each of the last (i) 12 months and (ii) five years for which information is available. 
Mr. McNulty: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the right hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to reply to your question asking how many and what proportion of claims for Income Support took (a) fewer than five days, (b) between five and 10 days, (c) between 10 and 20 days, (d) between 20 and 30 days, (e) between 30 and 50 days, (f) between 50 and 100 days and (g) over 100 days to process in each of the last (i) 12 months and (ii) five years for which information is available. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
In terms of volumes and percentages our benefit processing system records the number of Income Support claims processed within 1-5 days, 6-13 days and 13+ days. The data provided below regarding the volumes is displayed cumulatively for the first two time band setsup to 5 days and then up to 13 days. The 13+ day column then shows the remaining total of claims processed beyond this time period. The percentage figures are not cumulative and are subject to rounding.
This data has been available since 2006. I have provided you with the yearly total for 2006/07 and 2007/08. I have also provided you with the in-month data for the last 12 months. The available information is in the attached annex.
|Income support claims|
|Month||Income support processed in 5 days||Income support processed in 6-13 days||Income support processed in 13+ days||Percentage 1-5 days||Percentage 6-13 days||Percentage 13 days +|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his contribution of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 176, on Woolworths, how many people made redundant from Woolworths as a result of its closure have found work through Jobcentre Plus. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 16 March 2009]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking, pursuant to his contribution of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 176 on Woolworths how many people made redundant from Woolworths as a result of its closure have found work through Jobcentre Plus. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
We do not have comprehensive information on the numbers of people made redundant from Woolworths who have found work through Jobcentre Plus as we do not record job outcomes achieved for former employees of particular employers: to do so would be prohibitively expensive. We do however know that large numbers of people who worked in Woolworths have found new work with Jobcentre Plus' help. In the retail sector, the skills, experience and knowledge of former Woolworths employees have proven attractive to new employers.
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