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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) what estimate he has made of the effect on levels of unemployment since 1997 of (a) the new deal and (b) Jobcentre Plus initiatives; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what his estimate is of the effect of the new deal on the claimant count for unemployment; and if he will make a statement.
The development of Jobcentre Plus is building on the high quality service already provided by social security offices and Jobcentres. The new offices deliver a single, integrated service with a clear focus on work to all people of working age. As a result of a strong economy and our active labour market policies, we have record levels of employment and the lowest sustained levels of unemployment for 30 years. The new deal has helped well over a million people to find jobs, and is giving people in all areas of the country the help and support they need to move off benefits and into work.
The Jobcentre Plus client base has changed considerably over the past few years. Since May 1997 claimant unemployment has roughly halved and, as at April 2005, the UK claimant count stands at 839,400, down 782,200 (48 per cent.) since the 1997 election. The claimant unemployment rate is 2.7 per cent.; down 2.7percentage points since the 1997 election.
ILO unemployment in the UK stands at 1.40 million (January-March 2005), down 654,000 (32 per cent.) since the 1997 election. The ILO unemployment rate is 4.7 per cent. down 2.5 percentage points since the 1997 election.
The number of lone parents on benefit is down 20 per cent. to 763,000. Youth claimant unemployment has fallen by two-fifths, to its lowest level for 30 years; the number of 18 to 24-year-old claimants unemployed for more than a year has fallen by over 90 per cent.; and long-term adult unemployment (two year plus) has been cut by three quarters to its lowest level for 30 years.