§ Mr. Alan Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the cost of the back to work bonus during a full year; and how many people he estimates will gain. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
We anticipate that the first full year in which the back to work bonus will operate in a steady state will be 1998–99. Our latest estimate of the gross cost of the scheme in 1998–99 is £65 million. We estimate that at least 150,000 people will receive a bonus payment each year.
- 1. Estimates are based on 2.1 million unemployed.
- 2. The cost shown is the gross cost of the scheme. Once behavioural effects are taken into account, we expect that the scheme will be broadly cost neutral. However, the behavioural effects are very difficult to assess accurately.