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Incapacity Benefit Green Paper

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

On 18 November 2002 I laid before the House a consultation document entitled "Pathways to Work—Helping People into Employment".I am pleased to announce the publication of the Government's response to this public consultation today. This document gives an overview of the responses received and summarises the issues raised through the consultation on each of our proposals. I have arranged for copies of the response document to be placed in the Library and to be available to Members from the Vote Office.Over 140 responses were received from individuals and organisations representing many different areas of expertise. The proposals were, in general terms, positively received and we will be pressing ahead with most of the recommendations. Key proposals are based around:

More skilled personal adviser support and help to return to work.
Easier access to existing employment programmes plus new work-focused rehabilitation programmes.
Improved financial incentives to move into some form of employment.
Additional help for those having to move across from incapacity benefits to Jobseeker's Allowance.
Engagement of other key stakeholders—notably employers and Gps.

As I previously announced in written statements on 26 March, Official Report, Col 11–12WS and 5 June, Official Report, Col 26WS, seven pilots will run in the Jobcentre plus districts of Bridgend, Derbyshire and Renfrewshire (from October 2003) and Essex, East Lancashire, Gateshead and South Tyneside and Somerset (from April 2004). The pilots will run until April 2006.