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10 Nov 2009 : Column 305W—continued

For homeowners, mortgage interest run on (MIRO) is available for the first four weeks in work, to customers in receipt of a qualifying benefit for 26 weeks or more
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when they, or their partner, start remunerative work expected to last at least five weeks. The customer must have been in receipt of mortgage/home loan interest or other eligible housing costs before starting work and remain liable to make such payments.

At adviser discretion, eligible customers can be considered for an Advisor Discretion Fund award to cover transitional costs associated with starting work, for example, travel costs, work clothes and tools, and up-front childcare costs for lone parents for the first two weeks of employment.

In Work Credit is an incentive designed to help lone parents, and both lone and couple parents in the New Deal Plus for Lone Parent pilot areas, to make the transition from welfare in to full time work and is paid for a maximum of 52 weeks. This is tax-free and payable on top of any other in-work benefits and tax credits to which the lone parent may be entitled.

It offers a payment of £40 per week, or £60 per week in the London districts, and is payable to eligible lone parents (and both lone and couple parents in the New Deal plus for lone Parent pilot areas) who move into work of more than 16 hours per week, or 24 hours or more for a partner of a Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support customer in the London districts.

Through the childcare subsidy, lone parents can claim help with the costs for registered childcare whilst they are working less than 16 hours a week up to a maximum of £87.50 per week for one child or £150 per week for two or more children for up to 52 weeks if the job: complies with employment legislation; is for up to 16 hours a week; is waged employment (not voluntary work or work experience); is expected to last for at least five weeks and is undertaken on the recommendation of a personal adviser, as part of an agreed action plan for return to the labour market.

Childcare Assist is available to all New Deal for Lone Parents and New Deal for Partners participants. It allows for the payment of formal or approved childcare for up to five days in the week immediately before the parent starts work. It also leaves them free to undertake activities required in preparation for starting work, without the worry of arranging childcare. Childcare Assist also helps, through financial support, with the transition from welfare to work.

The return to work credit is a work incentive to encourage customers to move into work from incapacity benefits or employment support allowance. The return to work credit offers eligible customers, who find work of at least 16 hours a week, and where certain other eligibility conditions are satisfied, a weekly payment of £40 for up to 52 weeks if their gross annual earnings are below £15,000.

The Rapid Response Service helps employers support their employees faced with redundancy to swiftly find alternative work. The Rapid Response Service funding is available to plug gaps in existing provision and overcome immediate barriers to finding work.

On an ad hoc basis and according to the particular barriers faced by an individual, funding for such things as travel and childcare costs can continue for a short period after someone finds work.

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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of vacancies were advertised in job centres in each of the last six months for which figures are available. [290709]

Jim Knight [holding answer 9 September 2009]: Available information is shown in the following tables.

Number of job vacancies in Great Britain advertised by Jobcentre Plus in each of the last six months
2009 Live unfilled vacancies













1. Data are unrounded, and not seasonally adjusted.
2. The Jobcentre Plus data do not cover the whole UK economy. Coverage relates just to vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus and as such represent a market share of vacancies throughout the whole economy. This proportion varies over time, according to the occupation of the vacancy and industry of the employer, and by local area. Comprehensive estimates of all job vacancies (not just those notified to Jobcentre Plus) are available from the monthly ONS Vacancy Survey since April 2001, based on a sample of some 6,000 enterprises. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only.
3. The stocks of live unfilled vacancies reflect more accurately job opportunities available via Jobcentre Plus. In the case of unfilled vacancies, use of the figures on live vacancies is recommended (i.e. excluding suspended vacancies), and this is the default option. Live vacancies may still include some vacancies which have already been filled or are otherwise no longer open to recruits, due to natural lags in procedures for following up vacancies with employers.
4. Jobcentre Plus figures are published at:
Jobcentre Plus labour market system.

Office for National Statistics : UK Vacancy Survey

Level of vacancies

December 2008 to February 2009


January to March 2009


February to April 2009


March to May 2009


April to June 2009


May to July 2009


1. Data are rounded to the nearest hundred, displayed in thousands and are seasonally adjusted three-month averages.
2. Excludes agriculture, forestry and fishing.
3. April, May and June data on the ONS monthly vacancies estimate have been revised and July data are provisional.
4. ONS monthly vacancies estimates published at:
Office for National Statistics Vacancy Survey.

We do not have a recent estimate of the proportion of vacancies in the UK economy advertised at Jobcentre Plus. There have been some one-off surveys that have estimated the Jobcentre Plus share of all vacancies. In 2002, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) used one such survey to estimate the proportion of total vacancies advertised at jobcentres at 44 per cent. Allowing for sampling variation, the ratio was likely to be in the range of around a third to a half. However, this estimate is likely to have changed over time.

Although we have estimates of the total number of vacancies in the UK economy from the ONS Vacancy Survey, the data from Jobcentre Plus and the ONS Vacancy Survey are not directly comparable, and so should not be used together to produce such an estimate. The Vacancy Survey is a sample-based survey of businesses
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in the UK and is seasonally adjusted, whereas the Jobcentre Plus data are administrative data that are subject to a high level of seasonality. In addition, there are coverage issues, with the Vacancy Survey covering only civilian vacancies and excluding agriculture, forestry and fishing, whereas the Jobcentre Plus data include non-civilian vacancies. Both measures are snap-shots of the number of opportunities available at a particular point in time and do not reflect the dynamism of the labour market that sees thousands of new job vacancies come up every day.

Vetting: Young People

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she made of the effect on the employment prospects of young jobseekers of spent convictions for minor cautions being disclosed during enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks. [297952]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not available.

Voluntary Work

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of (a) the average number of hours volunteered per week and (b) the total number of hours volunteered by participants in the voluntary option of her Department's six month offer. [297349]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not available.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the average length of volunteering placements under her Department's six month offer. [297434]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not available.

Welfare to Work

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria regarding participation on the part of those with (a) mental health disorders, (b) alcohol-related problems and (c) drug addiction there are in contracts between her Department and private sector welfare-to-work providers. [296824]

Jim Knight: Welfare to Work Employment Programme contracts contain terms and conditions which include a requirement for providers to conform to current equality and diversity legislation. Requirements in respect of particular customer groups are contained within individual programme specifications.

Some programmes are more closely linked to a particular customer group: Workstep, Work Preparation, and Residential Training Colleges programmes support customers with a wide range of disabilities. However, some providers do have particular expertise in respect to people with mental health conditions.

Across the country there are work preparation contracts specifically designed to deliver support to customers with mental health problems. Similarly, there are Workstep providers with a background in supporting individuals with mental health conditions, but all Workstep providers
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are expected to be able to help people with a wide range of barriers arising from their disability. Although there are no residential training colleges who deal specifically with customers with a mental health problem, all colleges are able to offer such support.

Progress to Work is a voluntary programme, which aims to help unemployed and inactive former drugs mis-users into work. It is delivered across all districts in England, Scotland and Wales.

Progress to Work provides support for customers who have made sufficient progress in their recovery to be drug free or stabilised, but their history of drug mis-use is a significant factor in preventing them from gaining employment or staying in work.

Progress to Work-LinkUP aims to build on Progress to Work, and help a broader range of disadvantaged customers than just Progress to Work. The specific target group are those who have the following disadvantages: homelessness, ex-offending and alcohol abuse.

As with Progress to Work, Progress to Work-LinkUP aims to tackle the barriers to employment for these groups by helping customers to find work, or develop them in preparation for work.

Winter Fuel Payments: Pensioners

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will estimate the saving to the Exchequer of increasing the age of entitlement to winter fuel payments to 65 years in each of the next five financial years. [297548]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 3 November 2009]: Increasing the age of entitlement of winter fuel payments to 65 in each of the next five financial years would result in the estimated savings outlined in the following table.

Savings (£ million)











1. Savings are modelled on increasing age of entitlement to winter fuel payments to 65 by 2020, against a scenario where age entitlement to winter fuel payments increases to 65 in 2010-11. Modelling assumes anyone 60-64 currently receiving winter fuel payment would no longer receive it.
2. Savings are based on winter fuel payments baseline rates of £200 for households with those aged between 60 and 79.
3. Savings are for each financial year and become smaller as the age of entitlement increases under current legislation.
4. Expenditure rounded to the nearest £10 million and are in 2009-10 price term.

Work Experience

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work experience placements in each work sector were available in each of the last 24 months. [293592]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not available. Existing schemes do not collect data centrally.

10 Nov 2009 : Column 310W

Written Questions: Government Responses

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when she expects to answer question 288473, on Jobcentre Plus, tabled by the hon. Member for Northavon for answer on 20 July 2009. [296517]

Jim Knight: I replied to the hon. Member's question on 2 November 2009, Official Report, column 729W.

Cabinet Office


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate she has made of the number of people aged (a) 18 years and over, (b) 60 years and over and (c) 85 years and over who were diagnosed with cancer in (i) England and (ii) Yorkshire and the Humber strategic health authority in each year since 1997. [298144]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, dated November 2009:

Table 1: Registrations of newly diagnosed cases of all cancers 1997( 1) -2007( 2)
England( 3)

Age 18-59 Age 60-84 Age 85 +













































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