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Welfare to Work

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effects of the economic situation on the (a) rate of progress in obtaining the goals, (b) timing of implementation and (c) costs of his Department's Welfare to Work strategy. (223160)

[holding answer 10 September 2008]: The UK labour market continues to be highly flexible and dynamic with new jobs becoming available all the time. Around 10,000 new vacancies are placed with Jobcentres every day, representing only some of the job opportunities available within the economy. Job-centre Plus receives over 200,000 new Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claims every month, but the majority of people on JSA leave it within three months, with our active labour market programmes providing effective support to help people back into work.

We set out the principles underpinning our welfare to work strategy, and our key goals for improving employment opportunities, in "No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility" (Cm 7363, July 2008). We are consulting on these proposals and remain committed to those goals. Details of the measures to be introduced and our plans for their implementation will be published after completion of the consultation period. These will build on the measures we are already implementing such as the employment and support allowance being introduced from this October.

The Department regularly reviews its financial position as part of the planning process. The effects of the economy on the Department's costs will continue to be considered as part of this.