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Business Link

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the courses offered by Business Link as part of the six month offer are available to people who have not been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance for more than six months. (290729)

Business Link's business advice and support is available to anyone who is interested in starting a business. However, in recognition of the problems that longer-term jobseeker's allowance customers may have, under the six month offer we are funding additional intensive support for those who have been unemployed for six months or more and who are interested in taking up self-employment or starting a business.

In addition, on claiming jobseeker's allowance, some groups of customers who face particular disadvantage in the labour market are fast-tracked immediately to the six-month stage of the jobseeker's regime, and can take advantage of the six month offer. Fast-tracked customers are those who have had specific periods of time spent on benefit or who have been otherwise inactive immediately prior to claiming jobseeker's allowance. Other disadvantaged groups can choose to fast-track to the six month stage, subject to capacity and their personal adviser's discretion and will have access to the six month offer. These groups include, for example, people who have completed a custodial sentence, are homeless, are affected by drug addiction, have been in residential care or have language, literacy or numeracy problems.