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Long-Term Unemployment

Volume 13: debated on Monday 23 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is considering further campaigns in connection with the benefit entitlement of the long-term unemployed; where these will take place; how much he expects to save; how many extra staff will be involved and at what cost; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has no plans for campaigns concerning the benefit entitlement of the long-term unemployed. However, from October 1982 registration for employment at jobcentres will be voluntary and the testing of a person's availability for work will become the responsibility of the benefit authorities. This is a considerable administrative change which will need testing and so from January 1982 an initial availability test, administered to all new claimants at the start of their claim, will be piloted in fifteen selected offices.