HC Deb 25 October 1999 vol 336 cc697-8
9. Dr. Brian Iddon (Bolton, South-East)

What plans he has to review the jobseeker's allowance regulations. [93754]

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

A large-scale research programme to evaluate the jobseeker's allowance has been conducted and the final report in the series will be published early next year. The findings from that programme will enable us to consider what changes we might need to make. In the meantime, we will consider changes to the jobseeker's allowance when problems occur or when a reason for amendments is identified.

Dr. Iddon

I thank my hon. Friend for that announcement. Does she agree that the Tories introduced the present regulations not only as a means of cutting benefits for those made unemployed by their policies, but as one of 30 fiddles to hide the true unemployment rate at the time? Is she aware that people who are made redundant when their firm goes into receivership or liquidation cannot claim this allowance at the moment? Previously, such people were able to claim unemployment benefit, which was recovered from any payment due in lieu. Will she consider correcting that unfairness?

Angela Eagle

We are aware that people who have money owing because their employer has gone bankrupt are not able to receive benefit. We will therefore propose regulations at the earliest opportunity to remedy that anomaly. In future, jobseeker's allowance and income support will not be refused because of earnings owed to people when their jobs end.