HC Deb 08 February 1999 vol 325 c20
21. Mr. Tony McNulty (Harrow, East)

If he will make a statement on the role of personal advisers in his plans for welfare reform. [68026]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security (Mr. Hugh Bayley)

Personal advisers currently operate successfully in the various new deals and have demonstrated that they can make an important and successful contribution, in assisting people to move towards the world of work and increase their independence. Under our proposals for a single work-focused gateway into the benefit system, all working-age claimants will be provided with a personal adviser, who will work with them to assess their job potential and provide access to a variety of help and information on work, benefits and services.

Mr. McNulty

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that answer. Given the success of personal advisers in the new deal, will he assure me that personal advisers for the single gateway get the resources that they need for such a demanding job? While I am on my feet, will he ignore totally the carping and whingeing of Conservative Members, who giggled like schoolchildren when personal advisers and the success that they have achieved were mentioned earlier?

Mr. Bayley

It is important that personal advisers should be well trained for the demanding task that they face—and they will be well trained. They are making an important impact. The pilot schemes are at a fairly early stage and the lessons that we learn from them will help us to improve the training further.

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