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Jobseeker’s Allowance

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

18. What recent representations she has received on the criteria governing eligibility for jobseeker’s allowance; and if she will make a statement. We regularly receive, and respond to, representations about the entitlement rules for all benefits. The eligibility criteria for all benefits are continually kept under review. (321793)

May I express my condolences on the passing of Ashok Kumar? We worked together on the recent Flood and Water Management Bill. He will be sadly missed in the House and in his constituency.

May I press the Minister on this question? My understanding is that the Government have changed the criteria for jobseeker’s allowance, which has taken a large number of people who would otherwise have qualified for it off the register. I put it to her that the Government are massaging the unemployment figures in this way, and that the actual figures are far higher than they are indicating.

I am completely taken aback by the hon. Lady’s accusation. I cannot begin to think what leads her to that view. If she would like to write to me about this, I will be glad to respond to her.

Would the Minister agree that the future jobs fund is one of the key means to maintain our effort to combat youth unemployment? Will she underline that it is something that the Government will wish to continue?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The future jobs fund is a vital and critical policy in enabling us to keep down the level of youth unemployment. Across the country, it is projected to create 150,000 youth jobs.