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Youth Employment — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: Tackling youth unemployment remains a priority for this Government, and our successful Youth Contract will continue. The wage incentive will end as planned next March, just three and a half weeks earlier than anticipated. The youth claimant count has fallen by 134,000—the largest annual fall since 1997—taking it to its lowest level since 2008.

Youth Employment — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, I am keen to reaffirm that the Youth Contract is both comprehensive and working. One element, the wage incentive, has now helped more than 65,000 youngsters into jobs. The other elements of the programme are performing powerfully: 148,000 youngsters have started work experience on the programme, and 46,000 have gone into sector-based work academies.

Youth Employment — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: Youth unemployment is different in its nature from general unemployment in that there is a scarring effect for the young if they do not get into the workforce early. We therefore need to make extra effort to get youngsters into the workforce, which many of our measures are designed to do. There has been a real recasting of support for youngsters, whether through training, education or...

Youth Employment — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: Obviously we have looked at the living wage. If the figure suggested for the living wage were to be adopted, we would have to consider the impact on unemployment and the particular impact on youngsters, who would be hit worst. The NIESR estimated that adopting the living wage as opposed to the minimum wage would knock 300,000 youngsters out of work.

Youth Employment — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: I have written to the noble Lord on this matter. We have not prosecuted in such a case but if we found something egregious we would consider doing so.

Youth Employment — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, it is exactly right that we need to get to the real problems of youth unemployment and the structural level of unemployment—youngsters who are workless. That figure grew through the longest boom in our history and only now are we beginning to see it come down. We are going for the youngsters who have not been looked after properly in recent decades. The figure I always cite in...

Universal Credit — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: We consistently and regularly update Parliament and stakeholders on universal credit implementation, and the universal credit programme continues to be subject to substantial scrutiny. We will maintain every effort to communicate openly and on a timely basis.

Universal Credit — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: I do not have a review of all the business cases, but I know that we have 44 separate business cases for change programmes in my department, the DWP, and that this is the most reviewed. What we have said—and I have said it in this House—is that the plans in the strategic outline business case for the remainder of this Parliament have been cleared, and that we are looking to get...

Universal Credit — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, we are rolling out universal credit on a careful basis right the way through the north-west. We are currently at 38 jobcentres across the country, the bulk of which—32—are in the north-west. On Monday we moved from singles to couples as well, and that will be introduced right the way through the north-west as we finish this rollout this year. In the autumn we will move...

Universal Credit — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: One of the things that we are doing as we roll this out is to watch key factors very closely. That is the point of going at this pace, so that we can see small numbers to start with and see what is happening. I will watch this very closely. I talked to the Women’s Aid groups intensively on a number of things of great concern to them and to me, and I will keep watching this one very closely.

Universal Credit — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: This is a government policy; it was equally a matter for the previous Government as it is for this one not to publish particular information about the business case, risk registers and so on. It is something that we are maintaining not just for this programme but generally. I will say, however, that there has been an enormous amount of information put out on this programme, more than for any...

Universal Credit — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: I am always very pleased to provide the noble Lord, Lord McAvoy, with reading material, and I shall do so in this case. However, I must make the point that we have gone through this question in some detail both in the other place and here. I have explained here that we have got the strategic outline business case plans approved, and we are expecting that the actual full strategic outline...

Universal Credit — Question (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: I blush with pleasure.

Written Answers — House of Lords: Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: The removal of the spare room subsidy was a necessary change in order to get the housing benefit bill under control, return fairness to the system and make better use of social housing stock. For those that are vulnerable and who may require more time to make the transition to change, the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme administered by local authorities is available. Money management and...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: This cost of providing this information is disproportionate. This Government has made good progress in tackling the root cause of child poverty and has recently published its 2014-17 child poverty strategy which outlines the actions being taken. The latest figures from 2012/13 show that the number of children in relative income poverty has fallen by 300,000 since 2009/10 representing the...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Mesothelioma (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: Statistics on the prevalence of mesothelioma in the United Kingdom – that is, the number of people that had the disease at a particular time or in a particular period – are not available. However, mesothelioma prevalence is known to be approximately equivalent to annual mesothelioma mortality. The annual total numbers of mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain over the period...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Orders and Regulations (30 July 2014)

Lord Freud: The Department for Work and Pensions has made 70 Statutory Instruments (SI) in 2014. Of these, 14 affirmative SIs had been laid in draft over the same period and one draft was withdrawn and replaced with two SIs: one under the affirmative procedure (SI 1954) and another using the negative procedure (SI 1711). In this period there was also one negative SI made (SI 1621) to clarify a regulation...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing (29 July 2014)

Lord Freud: The Government has already taken steps to support mobility of tenants in the social rented sector. Our social housing reforms have given social landlords, including councils, much more flexibility when allocating housing. Our statutory guidance on social housing allocations stresses the importance of giving under-occupying social tenants appropriate priority for a transfer. It also encourages...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Jobseeker’s Allowance Sanctions Independent Review (29 July 2014)

Lord Freud: The Government welcomes and accepts all of Matthew Oakley's recommendations. As Matthew himself confirmed, sanctions play an important role in the system. We have already started to make improvements as part of our continuous review of sanctions policy and will continue to build on these through Matthew’s recommendations.

Written Answers — House of Lords: Mesothelioma (29 July 2014)

Lord Freud: Based on the latest data available the Health and Safety Executive estimate that there will be around 58,000 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain over the 30-year period 2013-2042. The statistical model used suggests an uncertainty range of 53,000 to 64,000 deaths on that estimate. However, the true uncertainty range may be wider as longer-range predictions are reliant on assumptions about...

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