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New Deal

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent on travel passes for young people on the new deal in each year since 1997; how many passes were issued in each year; and if he will make a statement. (85468)

The New Deal Reduced Rail Fare Scheme was established in 1997 and, in England and Wales, is jointly operated by Jobcentre Plus and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). The scheme was set up to provide new deal participants with reduced travel costs whilst on the New Deal programme.

New deal participants are advised about the availability of the Reduced Rail Fare Scheme either in their first invitation letter or at the initial gateway interview. Rail fare reductions can be made available, at adviser discretion, to eligible new deal for young people participants travelling in England and Wales throughout their time on new deal, on all trains participating in the scheme. In addition, ATOC have agreed to provide further reductions for the first three months of rail travel once participants have left new deal for a sustained job. In this instance, all travel tickets must be bought whilst the participant is on the new deal programme.

In Scotland, First ScotRail, SPT, GNER and Virgin Trains offer free and reduced rate travel to all new deal customers in certain geographical locations. This provision is available to new deal customers from their first day on the programme until their first wage is received.

Local agreements are also in operation with some bus companies for the provision of reduced rate fares for new deal customers and, in certain circumstances, travel costs are paid through other sources such as the Adviser’s Discretion Fund or the Travel to Interview Scheme.

Data is not held on the number of travel passes issued, and expenditure has not been accounted for at the level of detail required to separately identify the costs of the New Deal Reduced Fare Scheme, or the costs of funding travel for new deal customers through other sources. However, no subsidy is paid to train or bus companies by Jobcentre Plus for the Reduced Fare Scheme and the only costs incurred by the Department are the administrative costs involved in managing any necessary paperwork.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent in each year since 1998 on the nationwide network of mentors to advise young people on getting back into work; how many advisers were employed in each year; and how many young people they assisted into work in each year. (85550)

Mentoring was introduced into new deal provision to help those people who may need additional support to that offered by their new deal personal adviser. New deal mentoring is available at Jobcentre Plus District Manager's discretion, depending on the needs of the local labour market, and can supplement and complement new deal personal adviser support given to new deal participants.

Young people on new deal for young people can access mentoring support on a voluntary basis. It is provided by independent volunteers who use their skills, experience and expertise to help unemployed people break down the barriers preventing them from working. Young people with a health condition or disability who are participants on New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP) may also access mentoring support if their NDDP job broker identifies this as being appropriate in helping them into employment. Mentoring support is also available to eligible lone parents and partners.

Information is not available on the number of people providing independent mentoring support, or on the number of young people they assist into work each year. Information is also not available on the cost of providing mentoring support as new deal financial data is not broken down in that way.