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Jobseeker's Allowance

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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17.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to increase the level of jobseeker's allowance. [108721]

Jobseeker's allowance has been increased for this financial year from 7 April using the Rossi Index (1.3 per cent.), as has been the practice since that benefit was introduced in 1996.In addition, families in receipt of jobseeker's allowance will benefit from above-inflation increases, as their child allowances have been aligned with the new child tax credit rates.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 13 March 2003, Official Report, column 414W, on jobseeker's allowance, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the decline in the number of jobseeker's allowance claimants declaring part-time earnings from 1997 to 2002; and if he will make a statement. [104955]

The fall in the number of jobseeker's allowance claimants declaring part-time earnings should be viewed in the context of the wider reduction in claimant unemployment over the last five years—down from over 1.5 million in August 1997 to around 925,000 in August 2002.Over this period we have also introduced a number of initiatives such as the New Deal, national minimum wage and tax credits. These initiatives are helping more jobseekers move into work and ensuring that that work pays. Many people are being helped to gain independence through moving into work and moving away from dependence on jobseeker's allowance.