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Written Answers — House of Lords: Welfare Assistance Schemes (29 October 2014)

Lord Freud: From April 2015 it was intended funding for local welfare provision would be funded from the general grant to Local Government. The general grant took this into account. The Government has agreed to look again at how funding is provided for in 2015-16. Any decisions will be taken after we have reviewed how the current funds have been used and the ongoing consultation and equality analysis on...

Unemployment: Young People — Question (28 October 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, youth unemployment has fallen by a record-breaking 253,000 in the last year. This brings total youth unemployment down to 733,000, one-third of whom are full-time students looking for work. Excluding these students, 6.4% of all young people are unemployed —this is a lower figure than that immediately before the recession.

Unemployment: Young People — Question (28 October 2014)

Lord Freud: I accept my noble friend’s point that every case of a youngster being out of work is a tragedy, and that is why we have put so much energy into getting youngsters back into work. We support the appropriate use of apprenticeships in procurement and that can be important for local skills and growth, but we do not support the blanket inclusion of apprenticeships in all contracts. It is up...

Unemployment: Young People — Question (28 October 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, when the noble Lord says that youth unemployment is very high, it may be higher than we would like, but if you look at the record, it is now at very low levels. If you look at the real figures, which I have used in this House for the last four years, for all workless youngsters who are not in full-time education—that captures the unemployed and the inactive—that figure...

Unemployment: Young People — Question (28 October 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, we have a number of programmes aimed at getting youngsters into the workforce all around the country. There is a mixture of the Work Programme, the flexible support scheme, the sector-based work academies and work experience. We are using a whole range of programmes to help youngsters into the workforce. They are working not just in London but right around the country. Clearly, we...

Unemployment: Young People — Question (28 October 2014)

Lord Freud: The fundamental driver of these much sunnier figures is clearly our economy, which is now the fastest growing of the major economies. It is vital that we keep that process going. It is also vital that we have a benefits system that encourages and enables people to go into the workforce rather than being blocked from going into it.

Unemployment: Young People — Question (28 October 2014)

Lord Freud: The Governor of the Bank of England has said that the only way that we are going to get growth in real wages is by recovering productivity in the economy. One way is clearly to reduce dependency and to get 1.7 million extra people into work. The second way is to get the skills base up, and there are now some really good signs that we are moving that up by serious percentage points. The third...

Unemployment: Young People — Question (28 October 2014)

Lord Freud: We now have 30.7 million people in work. It is not just about the number; we are now at a 73% rate of employment, which is little short of the all-time high.

Employment — Question (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: The Government’s long-term economic plan is working. A record number of people are in work and the proportion of part-time workers wanting full-time work has fallen for the last 11 months. Under universal credit we are, for the first time, creating clear incentives and supporting claimants to progress in work and increase their earnings.

Employment — Question (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, the simple fact is that the number of people working part-time who want to work full-time has had the largest but one drop over the last 12 months that we have ever seen—down 1.7%. Clearly, one needs an economy recovering. We have had a terrible shock to this economy—it went down 6%. We are now pulling people back and, as the Bank of England Governor said, what will get...

Employment — Question (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: We are most concerned that people should be able to work as much as they want to. We are creating a new system to allow that, supporting people as they progress, in universal credit, into full-time work. We have extensive in-work progression trials right round the country, to find ways in which we can most effectively support people to work the amount that they want to and get the earnings...

Employment — Question (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: As the noble Lord knows, that is an extraordinarily complicated economic question. The Chancellor has clarified that the target around full employment is a better employment rate than other countries are seeing. We are currently not far off the full employment rate, at 73%, that we have seen in the past.

Employment — Question (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, we now have the real-time information system working, whereby we know what people are paid every month. That gives us a new opportunity with the Work Programme in its next stages to look not just at sustainment in work, which was the key new feature of the original Work Programme, but at progression in work. It will be entirely possible to devise ways to encourage providers to help...

Employment — Question (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: We have one of the most flexible structures of work in Europe. In other countries you see a huge concentration of people working the full number of hours, whereas here there is a much smoother position. We have systems to support people doing partial and full work hours. In fact, in the way in which it is devised, universal credit will make the situation even more flexible in the future.

Employment — Question (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: There are major flows going on in this structure. We have had a very large increase in employment, with 1.7 million more people in the workforce. Clearly, some of those coming in for the first time tend to be at the lower level and then work their way up. In 2012-13 the earnings of those who have stayed in work grew by between 3.7% and 3.9%—far more than the average, which was between...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Access to Work Programme (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: All 128 Access to Work advisers receive training which includes Disability Awareness, Decision Making, Equality & Diversity, Negotiating Skills and Effective Communications. In addition, Access to Work have specialist adviser teams focussing on hearing impaired and visually impaired customers, and also a team to assist customers with mental health conditions. These teams receive...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Access to Work Programme (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: The Department for Work and Pensions has conducted a series of meetings and workshops this year with users, disabled people's organisations, employers and other experts to ensure that Access to Work builds on its success in a way that is sustainable and ensures that we can help as many disabled people to fulfil their potential in the workplace as possible. It is right that larger employers...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Unemployed People: Travel (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: All Jobcentre Plus District Managers have access to the Flexible Support Fund, that they can use to supplement mainstream services and to tailor support to the needs of individuals and the local area. A proportion of this fund will be spent by their Work Services Teams on discretionary awards to individual claimants, which could include helping with travel costs to attend job interviews.

Written Ministerial Statements — House of Lords: Universal Credit (23 October 2014)

Lord Freud: During the passage of the Pensions Act 2014 through the House of Lords earlier this year, concerns were raised on the ability of Universal Credit claimants to undertake work related requirements when they are facing situations where they have a child in considerable distress. We wanted to ensure that we appropriately support parents in these circumstances as we recognise the importance of...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Mesothelioma: Compensation (22 October 2014)

Lord Freud: The Scheme began taking applications in April 2014, and began making payments on 1 July 2014. As of 30 September 2014 the Scheme had received 173 applications. During the first year of operation we had forecasted around 900 applications to the Scheme. The DMPS is funded by a levy on the insurance industry. The levy is intended to cover the cost of the Scheme in any one year, and we are not...

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