asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have received help under the new fares-to-work scheme since it was introduced on 5th July 1978; what has been expenditure for the last date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that 148 new applications for assistance under the revised fares-to-work scheme were approved between 5th July 1978 and 30th September 1978 out of a total 205 applications received. This does not include those people carried forward from the old scheme. The average weekly payment taken over all cases authorised for payment under the revised scheme is £8·66. Expenditure on the revised fares-to-work scheme in September 1978 was £8,546, compared with £5,548 in September 1977.
Since the revised scheme was introduced on 5th July 1978, while applications for temporary assistance, mainly for car owners whose vehicle is being repaired, have risen only slightly, 141 applications for permanent assistance were received over the first 3 months compared with 26 for the same period in 1977.
To speed up the processing of applications for assistance under the revised scheme, responsibility for approving straight forward cases was devolved to area offices of the Employment Service Division of the MSC on 1st October 1978. The MSC and NACEDP intend to review the operation of the revised scheme after six months and one year. One of the objects of the review will be to consider whether the administration of the scheme can be further simplified.