HC Deb 03 February 1987 vol 109 cc600-1W
21. Mr. Evennett

asked the Paymaster General whether he will make a statement on the operation of the restart scheme.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Yes. I am thoroughly satisfied with the operation of the national restart programme to help those unemployed for 12 months or over. I am impressed with the dedicated work of the Manpower Services Commission staff who have already interviewed 779,051 people who have been unemployed for over a year and have made a worthwhile offer that might lead to employment to around 90 per cent. of them. That is why my right hon. and noble Friend and I announced that the programme would be extended to provide interviews for those reaching six months' unemployment and, thereafter, at regular six-monthly intervals for at least the first three years of unemployment.

25. Mrs. Dunwoody

asked the Paymaster General how many referrals to adjudication officers there have been from restart counsellors since October.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

No one can lose their benefit entitlements solely as a result of the restart programme. Under long-standing legal rules, people can lose their entitlement to benefit if they fail to attend an interview, are no available for work or refuse an offer of suitable employment.

The information available is not in the exact from requested, but between 10 October and 11 December 1986 (the lastest date for which figures are available), restart teams referred to unemployment benefit offices 21,454 cases of claimants who failed to attend restart counselling interviews; 8,057 cases where a doubt about availability for work had been indentified and 153 cases where claimants had refused suitable employment.

During the same period independent adjudication officers actually disallowed benefit in the cases of 9,506 claimants who failed to attend ther restart interview; 644 claimants considered not available for work and 42 claimants who had refused suitable employment.

31. Mr. Terry Davis

asked the Paymaster General under the restart programme, how many people have been called to interview, and how many have been interviewed and how many were placed into (a) jobs, (b) the community programme, (c) job clubs, (d) enterprise allowance scheme, (e) the job training scheme, (f) restart courses and (g) voluntary work.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

By 8 January 1,032,340 people had been called for interview and 779,051 people had been counselled under restart. 165,514 subsequently ceased to claim benefit as unemployed but we have no means of knowing how many of these found jobs or training places. If the hon. Members question is referring to the immediate outcome of the interviews then the figures were:

  • —5,478 were placed directly into jobs.
  • —19,916 were placed directly on the Community Programme.
  • —6,489 were placed in jobclubs of whom most would subsequently move into jobs.
  • —1,760 were placed directly on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and so became self-employed.
  • 601
  • —12,598 started training (of whom 188 were placed specifically on the new Job Training Scheme in the pilot areas).
  • —66,968 started Restart courses and many of those would subsequently go on to employment and training.
  • —1,375 joined the Voluntary Projects Programme or began other Voluntary work.
  • —Many others were referred to other MSC programmes and services.

The above figures for "placings" reflect only those arising directly from referrals made at the time of the restart interview. They do not reflect people who later find jobs, or ofter solutions of their unemployment, wholly or partly as a result of advice given by counselling staff or Restart courses. The Manpower Services Commission does not follow the progress of individuals once they have been counselled under restart.

70. Mr. Deakins

asked the Paymaster General how many claimants have left the register during the period in which restart has been running.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Between 10 July 1986 and 11 December 1986, the estimated number of claimants in Great Britain who ceased to claim benefit as unemployed was 2,172,740.

People are constantly leaving unemployment for a variety of reasons, including finding work or training with or without the assistance offered by the restart programme, which applies to long-term unemployed people only.

52. Mrs. Clwyd

asked the Paymaster General if he will make a statement on the role of the restart programme in adult training.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The restart programme offers counselling interviews at which long term unemployed people are helped to identify possible ways of getting back to work including suitable training opportunities. By 8 January over 96,000 people had been referred to training courses.

The restart interview after six months of unemployment, which I announced to the House on 28 January, will be the normal route into the new job training scheme.

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