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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...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Social Security Benefits: Northern Ireland (22 October 2014)

Lord Freud: Northern Ireland is responsible for its own social security, pensions and child support systems. The Northern Ireland and Great Britain systems have traditionally operated in tandem in what is effectively a United Kingdom wide system. Should Northern Ireland decide not to mirror the welfare reform measures in Great Britain, it would be a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive to determine...

Jobseeker’s Allowance — Question (21 October 2014)

Lord Freud: We welcome the findings of Matthew Oakley’s review and have published our response, in which we accepted all his recommendations. We know that sanctions play an important role in conditionality, and it is crucial that the system is operated effectively and fairly. We are taking forward all recommendations and have already completed a number of improvements.

Jobseeker’s Allowance — Question (21 October 2014)

Lord Freud: I will respond to the noble Baroness in a moment, but first I would like to take this opportunity to repeat briefly the apology that I made last week. I want to make a full and unreserved apology for the comments that I made at the Conservative Party conference. Of course disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, just like everybody else, and I am profoundly sorry for any...

Jobseeker’s Allowance — Question (21 October 2014)

Lord Freud: As my noble friend said, the issue is that we are doing everything we can to help people into the workplace. It was a very encouraging assessment from the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, which said: “A tightening in the eligibility requirements for some state benefits might also have led to an intensification of job search”. That echoes something that the deputy...

Jobseeker’s Allowance — Question (21 October 2014)

Lord Freud: Matthew Oakley was very concerned about the communications aspects of talking to claimants about sanctions. We have taken that point very seriously. Indeed, we have accepted his recommendations on that and are going further; we are reviewing and improving all our claimant communications on sanctions across every benefit, and we aim to ensure that people understand that they have received a...

Jobseeker’s Allowance — Question (21 October 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, it is clearly utterly important that the sanctions regime is fair to people. We have put in layer on layer of protections and safety nets in the machine. People have, to start with, five days to respond to the letter saying that we are looking at a sanction. Then it goes to a decision-maker and then, if claimants do not like that, to a mandatory reconsideration, which is an extra...

Jobseeker’s Allowance — Question (21 October 2014)

Lord Freud: My Lords, we have really transformed the role of the client-facing people in Jobcentre Plus and turned them into work coaches; that is what the claimant commitment does. It is something that has been done very recently. The relationship between claimants and the work coaches has changed very substantially already.

Written Answers — House of Lords: Access to Work Programme (20 October 2014)

Lord Freud: Access to Work does not publish data on Service delivery performance as such data is collated for Management information only and therefore not subject to the assurance required to share with stakeholders. No formal assessment of awareness has taken place but all Jobcentre Plus staff learn about the Access to Work programme as part of their extensive training. In addition, all relevant...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Social Security Benefits: EU Nationals (20 October 2014)

Lord Freud: The Government does not record the nationality of the claimant receiving social security benefits including child benefit.

Written Answers — House of Lords: Children: Day Care (26 September 2014)

Lord Freud: The announced measures mean from April 2016 families with children who have childcare costs below the defined limits will see an improved financial incentive to work and to work more hours. Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out many working families will face an improved incentive to work, including 100,000 families who will get childcare support for the first time under Universal Credit....

Written Answers — House of Lords: Welfare Assistance Schemes (26 September 2014)

Lord Freud: Local authorities are not required to provide DWP with details of who has received Local Welfare Assistance. Consequently, we do not have information about the volumes of people of certain types receiving support.

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...

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