[holding answer 2 April 2009]: The indicative budget for phase 1 of the flexible new deal was included in the invitation to tender at an average of £236.6 million per annum, and the bids are subject to ongoing evaluation and commercial negotiation. Phase 2 indicative budgets will be announced as part of the procurement process later this year.
The Department does not forecast levels of long-term unemployment or the future number of claimants of jobseeker’s allowance. However, for planning purposes the Department does make use of the HM Treasury unemployment assumption, which is based on an average of a number of independent unemployment forecasts. These figures are planning assumptions only and do not reflect an official view of numbers of unemployed people or the duration of unemployment. An update to this assumption will be published in the Budget.