§ Mr. Fitzpatrick
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is his estimate of(a) the 86W costs and (b) the numbers who would gain if the jobmatch scheme was extended to people over 50 years who have been unemployed for six months. 
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
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. Jim Fitzpatrick, dated 9 February 1998:The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the costs and numbers involved in widening the eligible age group for Jobmatch to those aged 50 years and over, and who have been unemployed for six months. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Employment Service Chief Executive.Jobmatch currently targets jobseekers between the ages of 18–24 years who are unemployed for 2 years or more. Using figures from the current operational year (for the 7 months up to the end of October) and assuming similar levels of interest for those aged over 50 years and unemployed for six months, it is estimated that in the same 7 month period 3,300 clients from this latter group might have received benefit from jobmatch, at a cost of some £4.3 million.I hope this is helpful.