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Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what recent steps the Government has taken to assist the long-term unemployed gain employment; (253245)

(2) what recent steps the Government has taken to help people returning to work.

[holding answer 3 February 2009]: The Government are doing everything they can to help those who become unemployed back into work as quickly as possible. We recognise that extra support is needed during the downturn, and a range of new help is being made available to jobseekers.

We are investing an extra £1.3 billion to ensure that through Jobcentre Plus we can continue to provide personal help and advice to everyone who needs it—help in finding a job, filling in job applications and writing a CV plus advice on re-training and acquiring new skills.

From April 2009 we will also be investing a further £0.5 billion to guarantee more support to every person still looking for work after six months by making a range of additional options available including providing up to £2,500 for employers who recruit and train people unemployed for over six months; money and support to set up their own business; training to improve skills to get a job; and the opportunity to volunteer where this will help a person move towards work.

And we are pressing ahead with our welfare reforms from this year that will increase support for unemployed people as their claim to benefit continues. We are creating a new contract for jobseekers, promising help with skills and with employability.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many vacancies were advertised by jobcentres in the (a) fourth quarter of 2008, (b) third quarter of 2008, (c) fourth quarter of 2007 and (d) fourth quarter of 2006. (254035)

The available information is in the following table:

Number of Vacancies advertised in Job centres: Great Britain

Quarter ending


October 2006


November 2006


December 2006


October 2007


November 2007


December 2007


July 2008


August 2008


September 2008


October 2008


November 2008


December 2008



1. These are not whole economy figures. Coverage relates just to vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus and as such represents a market share of vacancies throughout the whole economy. This proportion varies over time, according to the occupation of the vacancy and industry of the employer, and by local area.

2. These figures are of stocks of unfilled vacancies which reflect more accurately job opportunities available via Jobcentre Plus. In the case of unfilled vacancies, use of the figures on live vacancies is recommended (i.e. excluding suspended vacancies), and this is the default option. Live vacancies may still include some vacancies which have already been filled or are otherwise no longer open to recruits, due to natural lags in procedures for following up vacancies with employers.

3. Comprehensive estimates of all job vacancies (not just those notified to Jobcentre Plus) are available from the monthly ONS Vacancy Survey since April 2001, based on a sample of some 6,000 enterprises. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only.

4. Interpretation of these data needs to take account of changes in recent years to Jobcentre Plus procedures for taking and handling vacancies. These figures are not fully comparable over time and may not indicate developments in the labour market. A more detailed explanation is available on the nomis website.

5. Data labelled as “Month X” predominantly relate to the previous month. The release calendar gives details of the monthly release dates and the periods covered. For example, January 2009 relates to the period (6 December 2008- 2 January 2009).

6. Reporting months relate to either a four week or five week period depending on count dates. Users should be cautious about comparing monthly flows and may wish to standardise the figures. For example the January 2009 period is a four week period whereas February 2009 is a five week period.

7. Vacancy data are collected by month and quarterly data are not available. It is not possible to sum up each month in the quarter as this would lead to some job vacancies being counted twice.


Jobcentre Plus Labour Market System