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Employment: Standards

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by what means the Government’s target of an 80 per cent. employment rate was arrived at; and what research his Department has carried out into the reduction in the number of claimants on (a) incapacity benefit, (b) jobseeker’s allowance and (c) lone parent benefit needed to meet the target. (152806)

[holding answer 26 July 2007]: The long-term aim of an employment rate equivalent to 80 per cent. of the working age population reflects analysis of historic and international labour market performance and an assessment of the potential for further narrowing the employment rate gap between different groups in the labour market and the overall average. It was set in the context of the Government’s commitment to extend the opportunity to work to all, the modern definition of full employment, as outlined in our Welfare Reform Green Paper “In work, better off” Cm7130, published on 18 July 2007.

The Department’s analysis has suggested that realising the 80 per cent. aim will require: a reduction of one million in the number of incapacity benefit claimants; 300,000 more lone parents in employment; and one million more older people in work.