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21 July 2009 : Column 1280W—continued


21 July 2009 : Column 1281W

Employment Schemes: Lone Parents

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents have received a training allowance of up to £400 since September 2007. [275895]

Helen Goodman [holding answer 15 May 2009]: This training allowance refers to Train to Gain. This is administered by the Learning Skills Council and sits within the stewardship of BIS.

Employment Services

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to help the long-term unemployed return to work. [288362]

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to assist people who have been out of work for over a year; and if she will make a statement. [288589]

Jim Knight: The Department is keen to ensure that everyone who is out of work has the support they need to find a job, and this help increases the longer someone has been unemployed.

The introduction of the flexible new deal in phase 1 areas from October 2009 will establish a new, unified approach for every jobseeker, whatever their age, skills or barriers to work, from the 12-month point of their claim. The flexible new deal will deliver work-focused support, tailored to each individual's needs and local labour market requirements. It is envisaged that we will introduce this scheme in phase 2 areas from October 2010.

Until the flexible new deal is introduced, the new deals will continue to run in phase 2 areas.

The 2009 Budget made an additional £2.8 billion available to DWP, on top of the £1.3 billion funding announced in the pre-Budget report, which will ensure we can continue to maintain our support to jobseekers through the economic downturn, including funding to support the flexible new deal.

£1.1 billion of this will fund the young person's guarantee; from January 2010, all customers aged 18-24 who are approaching 12 months of their claim to jobseeker's allowance will have access to one of the following offers:

Some elements of the guarantee will be available sooner. In October of this year the first jobs created by the Future Jobs Fund will be available, and training to enter key employment sectors will be available in the autumn.

Jobseeker's allowance customers can do unlimited volunteering, and train for up to 16 hours per week, alongside active job search. Jobseekers may also undertake up to two weeks of full-time training in any 12-month period, without jeopardising their benefit entitlements.


21 July 2009 : Column 1282W

Employment: Young People

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to assist young people who are out of work; and if she will make a statement. [288588]

Jim Knight: The Department is committed to giving everyone the support they need to find employment as quickly as possible, whatever their age.

On 6 April 2009, as part of the Government's response to the economic downturn, the Department for Work and Pensions put in place extra support for newly unemployed customers, including information and advice about the latest job search techniques and coaching on how to make the most of transferable skills. Extra help for those who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months was also introduced, including recruitment subsidies, work-focused training, support to become self-employed and opportunities to volunteer.

Because the Government are determined that young people should not be permanently disadvantaged by the economic downturn, from next year, all customers aged 18-24 who are approaching 12 months of their claim to jobseeker's allowance will have access to the Young Person's Guarantee. From January 2010, this group will be given access to either:

Some elements of the guarantee will be available sooner. In October of this year the first jobs created by the future jobs fund will be available. Training to enter key employment sectors will be available in the autumn.

Since last autumn, the Department has also quadrupled the available funding for the rapid response service, which provides advice and support to customers facing redundancy. It has extended local employment partnerships, the adviser discretionary fund and access to work so they are available to customers from the first day of their claim, alongside the support they receive from their Jobcentre Plus personal adviser.

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to assist young people with no educational qualifications to enter employment. [284028]

Jim Knight [holding answer 3 July 2009]: The Department is committed to ensuring that all jobseekers, including young people, have the support they need to overcome their individual barriers to work. People who are unemployed and on jobseeker's allowance can undertake part-time education or training at any point in their claim providing it is for less than 16 hours per week. In some cases, customers can also undertake full-time training, particularly to address basic skills needs, if it is needed in order to gain the necessary skills to enter employment.

Our current Integrated Employment and Skills trials are also testing approaches to ensure that every Jobcentre Plus customer has access to specialist skills services,
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including comprehensive skills assessments, to identify work related skills needs and recommend steps to addressing those barriers. The Integrated Employment and Skills service will be available across England in April 2010.

In addition, young people in England who are under the notice of redundancy are now eligible for the additional training support available through the Response to Redundancy programme, funded by the European Social Fund and Train to Gain. Jobseekers who find themselves out of work for six months or more may be eligible for the work-focused training element of the six-month offer of extra support to all jobseekers.

Furthermore, from January 2010 all young people approaching 12 months on jobseeker's allowance will be guaranteed the offer of either a subsidised job, training or meaningful activity. Training delivered under this offer will be tailored to the individual and relevant to the local labour market.

Ethnic Employment Taskforce

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2009, Official Report, columns 833-4W, on the Ethnic Employment Taskforce, how much of the expenditure on the research project she expects to be attributable to (a) fieldwork, (b) analysis of data, (c) production of the final report, (d) administrative costs, (e) staffing costs and (f) other costs of each type; and what assessment she has made of the conclusions of the project. [288186]

Jim Knight: Although the internal cost structure of the Department for Work and Pensions research contracts is commercial in confidence, suppliers are chosen through procurement procedures that promote value for money.

The Ministerial Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force will be considering the conclusions of the Racial Discrimination in Recruitment research, which are due to be published in the autumn.

EU Law

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the cost to her Department of the statutory obligations upon it in legislation introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available. [283469]

Jim Knight: It is estimated that no additional costs have been incurred by the Department as a result of domestic legislation made in the 2008-09 session to date, as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation.

Fetes: Safety

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance the Health and Safety Executive provides to the organisers of local fetes. [288281]

Jonathan Shaw: HSE has not produced any specific guidance on local fetes. HSE has published the Events Safety Guide (HSG195) for those organising larger scale musical and similar events. This guidance is not
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directed at those organising small local fetes where the risk to public safety will be low, although organisers may find some of the advice contained within the guide useful.

Local authorities have enforcement responsibilities at local fetes where there is an employment activity. They may also provide specific advice or guidance at a local level to organisers of fetes.

Financial Assistance Scheme

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of (a) consultants and advisers to and (b) administration of the Financial Assistance Scheme has been in each year since its establishment. [283545]

Angela Eagle: The administration costs for the Financial Assistance Scheme Operational Unit are set out in the following table. The earlier years include one-off set-up costs.

£ million
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

Administration(1)

(2)1.06

(2)4.730

(2)3.968

2.328

(3)2.283

Consultants and advisers(4)

0

0.034

0.323

0.036

0.206

(1) Excludes overheads such as estates which are met from DWP corporate budgets.
(2) Includes one-off costs for implementation, which were not accounted for separately.
(3) Excludes one-off costs for implementation of the December 2007 announcement and the transfer of the FAS functions to the Board of the Pension Protection Fund which are now accounted for separately-£2.621 million.
(4) Includes the cost of consultants relating to policy development and the transfer of the FAS functions.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the decline in real value has been of Financial Assistance Scheme annuities since 1997; and if she will make a statement; [283645]

(2) what estimate she has made of the average difference between Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) annuities and the expected annuities lost after 1997 by pensioners enrolled in the FAS; and if she will make a statement. [283646]

Angela Eagle: 666 schemes qualify for the Financial Assistance Scheme. Of these, trustees responsible for 446 schemes have bought or expect to buy annuities to cover all or some of scheme members' entitlements. These annuities may include provision for indexation, but detailed information on this is not currently available.

The Financial Assistance Scheme will top up these annuities to 90 per cent. of expected pension at the date of wind-up, subject to an overall limit of £26,000, and regulations currently before Parliament would make provision for this top-up to include indexation on rights accrued after 1997.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment she has made of poverty levels among pensioners receiving Financial Assistance Scheme annuities; and if she will make a statement. [283647]

Angela Eagle: The Financial Assistance Scheme does not provide annuities.

The information requested is not available.


21 July 2009 : Column 1285W

Funeral Payments

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long on average elapsed between her Department's receipt of an application for a funeral payment and any payment being made in the last period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [288872]

Helen Goodman: The average actual clearance time for funeral payments processed in the financial year to date (April to June 2009) was 13.9 working days.

Future Jobs Fund

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many bids from (a) private companies, (b) local authorities and (c) voluntary sector organisations her Department has received for the Future Jobs Fund; [283570]

(2) how many bids her Department has received to deliver jobs through the Future Jobs Fund. [283574]

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many bids for funding from the Future Jobs Fund her Department has received; and when she plans to announce the successful bidders. [287341]

Jim Knight: We will be announcing details of the successful bidders later this summer.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what resources her Department has allocated to each (a) regional development agency and (b) London local authority through the Future Jobs Fund. [288254]

Jim Knight: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave her on 14 July 2009, Official Report, column 284W.

Future Jobs Fund: Wales

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to paragraph 30 of the Building Britain's Future document, Cm 7654,
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whether the £1 billion Future Jobs Fund to cover new jobs in areas of high unemployment applies to Wales; and by what mechanisms this fund is to be distributed. [287867]

Jim Knight: Employers in Wales are eligible to apply to the Future Jobs Fund. The definition of an area of high unemployment is one in which the unemployment rate is 1.5 percentage points above the national average. This flexible definition gives organisations the opportunity to develop bids with a narrow focus (such as wards) or a much broader base (such as partnerships of several local authorities).

The Department for Work and Pensions will distribute the fund to successful bidders. The amount paid will depend on the details of the successful bid.


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