HC Deb 16 November 1998 vol 319 cc604-5
25. Mr. Ian Pearson (Dudley, South)

What services will be offered by the personal adviser to people applying for benefits through the single gateway. [58393]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security (Angela Eagle)

The personal adviser will help benefit claimants of working age to explore ways in which they can overcome barriers that prevent participation in the labour market. The adviser will be able to provide information and advice on the options that are available and a personalised calculation of potential in-work income.

The personal adviser will also help individuals to gain access to a range of services such as child care provision, specialist counselling, housing support and training.

Mr. Pearson

I thank my hon. Friend for her reply. Any measure that sensibly cuts bureaucracy and introduces clarity into the system has to be welcomed, but can she help to explain whether we are talking about one gateway or two? Do people have one personal adviser or two? Can she assure me that just one person is advising people on the gateway and those who enter the new deal?

Angela Eagle

My hon. Friend must not mix up the new deal programmes that have been launched throughout the country with the 12 pilots of the single gateway, which will begin in June next year and be extended in November. We hope to learn lessons from those pilots and then consider whether to extend them throughout the benefit system.

Madam Speaker

Mr. Patrick Hall? Mrs. Sylvia Heal? Mr. Andrew Mackinlay?

Mr. Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock)

I am here.

Hon. Members

Not for long, though.