Jobseeker's Allowance

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th March 2010.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 2:30 pm, 15th March 2010

What recent representations she has received on the criteria governing eligibility for jobseeker's allowance; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

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.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

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.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

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.

Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen Labour, Nottingham North

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 with which the Government will wish to continue?

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

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.