Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:14 pm on 23rd March 2015.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:14 pm, 23rd March 2015

I will come back to the hon. Gentleman. I want to make a little progress, as I know that others want to speak.

The Work programme is continually improving. Nearly 1.1 million people have spent time off benefits, 680,000 have got a job, 400,000 have found lasting work, and job outcomes after 12 months are nearly twice as high as with the early cohorts, including the new employment and support allowance claimants. Compared with the previous back-to-work programmes—the flexible new deal, for example—the Work programme has helped more than twice as many people into work in the first two years than the flexible new deal, with nearly three times as many people in jobs for six months. This is not just getting people into work but ensuring that they stay there—that is the critical element.

I will give way to Mr Cunningham and then make some progress.