HC Deb 17 February 1997 vol 290 cc400-1W
Mr. Alan Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the estimated annual cost of the national jobmatch scheme for under-25-year-olds. [15800]

Mr. Forth

In 1997–98, the jobmatch scheme will offer 4,000 opportunities at a cost of some £4.8 million

Mr. Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate she has made of(a) the costs and (b) the numbers gaining if the jobmatch scheme for under-25-year-olds was available to those (i) unemployed for one year and (ii) unemployed for 26 weeks; and what is her estimate of the cost of reinstating bonus payments after 26 weeks in work. [15801]

Mr. Forth

To extend the availability of the jobmatch scheme to people under 25 who have been unemployed for one year would require some 10,000 opportunities at a cost of about £12 million; to extend it to those unemployed for 26 weeks would require up to 19,000 opportunities at a cost of some £23 million. To reinstate the additional payments in 1997–98 for young people unemployed for two years would cost about £300,000.

Mr. Rooney

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if Employment Service advisers will be authorised to issue a jobseeker's direction to a claimant aged 18 to 24 years directing him to apply for a part-time vacancy under the jobmatch scheme. [16124]

Mr. Forth

Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Leigh Lewis to Mr. Terry Rooney, dated 17 February 1997: The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about whether Employment Service Advisers have the authority to issue Jobseeker's Directions to 18 to 24 year old jobseekers for a part-time vacancy under Jobmatch. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency. It may be helpful if I explain that the purpose of a Jobseeker's Direction is to make sure that jobseekers who may not be properly or effectively looking for work undertake a specific job search activity which will put them in a better position to find a job. A Jobseeker's Direction can fall into one of four categories:- those which underpin active jobsearch; referral to Employment Service (ES) programmes; other referrals to non ES programmes (eg Training for Work); and a personal direction related to behaviour/appearance. A Direction will only be given if the jobseeker has gone through the usual advisory interview process, and has not been influenced or persuaded to undertake a particular activity which is reasonable and will improve their chances of finding work. It follows that an ES adviser would be able to issue a Jobseeker's Direction to a jobseeker aged 18–24, who has been employed for two years or more to apply for a part-time vacancy, which would qualify them for Jobmatch. I hope this clarifies the position.