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Advancement Demonstration Programme

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) pursuant to his written statement of 24 March 2003, Official Report, column 1 WS, what the budget is for the Employment Retention and Advancement Demonstration Project; how this will be distributed through the six districts; what the money will be allocated for; how often the evaluation of the project will take place; how many Advancement Support Advisers there will be in each of the six districts; what training will be given to these advisers; and if he will make a statement; [105364](2) pursuant to his written statement of 24 March 2003,

Official Report, column 1WS, if he will list the measures to encourage retention that will qualify for a financial incentive; and if he will make a statement. [105369]

In October 2003 we will introduce the Employment Retention and Advancement Demonstration Project (ERAD) in six locations. The project will examine ways of helping low paid workers and people moving off benefits to stay and advance in work. ERAD services will be offered to lone parents in receipt of working tax credit working less than 30 hours per week and participants in the New Deal for Lone Parents and New Deal 25 plus.All participants will receive one to one support from a dedicated adviser. To ensure participants receive the most appropriate support from advisers, we are currently undertaking a training-needs analysis for advisers that will enable us to develop effective training for our staff.To encourage job retention, participants working 30 hours or more per week can be eligible for payments from the project on top of their earnings. Payments will also be available to help individuals with further training, to assist with both retention and advancement.We are investing £30 million in ERAD over three years. The distribution of funds between the six districts has not yet been decided but will be based on projected volumes of eligible clients in each ERAD district area. The budget provides funding for the job retention and advancement incentives as well as the staff, equipment and evaluation costs of the project. The project will be comprehensively evaluated and will include research surveys after one and two years. Adviser numbers for the project are yet to be confirmed but will reflect projected client volumes in each ERAD district.