HC Deb 05 July 1999 vol 334 cc637-8
16. Dr. Brian Iddon (Bolton, South-East)

What progress his Department has made in implementing the new deal for the disabled. [88041]

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

Together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, we have introduced the new deal for disabled people. We are also piloting a personal adviser service under the new deal in 12 areas, including my hon. Friend's constituency. I know that he has visited the scheme and has taken a close interest in its work.

Dr. Iddon

Not only has the pilot scheme in Bolton employed four people previously on incapacity benefit but so far, in the first eight months, it has seen 565 people, half of whom have been assessed and 88 of whom have been put into an occupation. There are excellent partnerships running; with Bolton local authority, for example, with whom the scheme has won European structural fund money for 200 workplaces. Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating Peter Jones and his staff on the excellent start that they have made?

Mr. Bayley

I do indeed congratulate Peter Jones and his staff. I have visited the project and I know that it is working extremely well. It shows the difference between our approach to welfare benefits and that of the Conservatives. We seek to get people off benefits and back into work.