§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what guidance has been issued to staff of the Benefits Agency in relation to the application of regulation 9 of the Jobseeker's Act Regulations 1996; and what level of remuneration for employment set by an applicant in applying for jobseeker's allowance would result in their application being refused. 
§ 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. Brian Donohoe, dated 11 March 1997:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the guidance that has been issued to staff in the Benefits Agency in relation to the application of Regulation 9 of the Jobseeker's Act Regulations 1996 and on what level of remuneration for employment set by the applicant in applying for Jobseeker's Allowance would result in their application being refused.
I should first explain that Regulation 9 of the Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations is not a matter for the Benefits Agency. The Employment Service is responsible for ensuring that jobseekers satisfy the labour market conditions for receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance. Jobseekers are generally required to be available for any work immediately, and for a minimum of 40 hours a week. For a 161W "permitted period" of up to 13 weeks they can, however, limit their availability to their usual occupation and at the rate of pay they used to receive. After the permitted period, they can continue to impose restrictions on the type of work they will accept, initially including the rate of pay, providing they can show that they have reasonable prospects of securing employment notwithstanding those restrictions. Regulation 9 provides that no restriction on the level of remuneration is allowed once a jobseeker has been claiming for more than six months.
This means that if a jobseeker insists on specifying a rate of remuneration after the six month period has expired, their claim will be referred to the independent adjudicating authorities for a decision on their entitlement to benefit. The importance of making sure that the jobseeker is insisting on stipulating a rate of remuneration, and not just stating a preference, is included in our guidance to Jobcentres. If the jobseeker is merely stating a preference this would not amount to a restriction unless that was all they were prepared to accept.
I hope this is helpful.