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Employment Programmes

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

I am setting out today how my Department can play a key role in the Government’s plan to halve the budget deficit within four years. Through our employment programmes the Government have invested £5 billion to ensure that we can help people back into work as quickly as possible and this investment has helped to keep unemployment much lower than was previously expected. This, in turn, has helped to reduce the cost of out-of-work benefits: the claimant count planning assumption, published in the 2009 pre-Budget report would lead to a reduction in benefit expenditure of some £10 billion over five years, when compared with the assumptions used in Budget 2009.

My Department has a key role in helping to reduce Government borrowing. By helping more people back into work, DWP can help individuals as well as reduce expenditure on out-of-work benefits. It is important that this can be done as efficiently as possible, and I have today published a document—“Delivering more for less: the efficiency programme of the DWP”—showing how my Department has consistently delivered value for money by reducing back-office costs, sharing costs across Government and increasing the productivity of its staff. Due to these efficiency programmes, it has been possible to increase the quality of the services that we offer to customers, at the same time as reducing the cost to the taxpayer.