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Unemployment Benefits

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2009, Official Report, column 94W, on unemployment benefits (1) whether his Department holds any elements of the information requested; (263692)

(2) for what reasons the information requested is not available.

Any such estimates could be collated only at disproportionate cost. This is because the Department holds records of people who have signed on but does not, and cannot, hold records of people who have not signed on, whatever their reason for not signing on may be.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the application of the provisions of the national minimum wage to individuals whom it is proposed should work for their benefits under the provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill; and if he will make a statement. (268425)

[holding answer 2 April 2009]: Participants in Work for Your Benefit will be undertaking work-experience as part of an employment programme designed to get them back into work. Individuals taking part in work placements on government programmes do so on the basis that such participation gives them work experience or training which adds value and which improves their employability.

Existing Government policy for people participating in employment programmes is that a person who continues to receive financial support from the Government is not entitled to receive the national minimum wage while on a work placement. As such the national minimum wage will not apply in Work for Your Benefit.

Discussions have taken place between BERR and DWP to ensure the Work for Your Benefit programme will be consistent with national minimum wage legislation.