Welfare Reform — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:04 pm on 10th December 2008.

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Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government) 4:04 pm, 10th December 2008

My Lords, it is an issue of resources for Jobcentre Plus. It is an important point, particularly given the current economic situation and the strains that will be placed on Jobcentre Plus. The answer is yes. As part of the PBR, £1.3 billion extra was made available. Some planned closures of Jobcentre Plus offices have been put on hold, given the current challenges faced by Jobcentre Plus, but it is important that the resources are there. However, it is not only a question of resources for Jobcentre Plus; as part of the new contracting arrangements—and in particular the Freud proposal, which is about the AME/DEL switch—the intention is to draw in private sector investment, which in due course will be reimbursed, paid for out of savings in benefits. Those arrangements will be piloted and will also be part of the resource issue.