§ Mr. Rowlands
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many(a) companies and (b) individuals have benefited from the national insurance contributions holiday since its inception. 
§ Dawn Primarolo
The NIC holiday scheme was introduced in April 1996. By October 1999, only 16,175 individual holidays had been awarded. No information is available on the number of different employers benefiting from the scheme. NIC holidays were available only for jobs starting before 1 April 1999. The New Deal now provides much better methods of encouraging employers to take on the long term unemployed.
The New Deal for young unemployed people was introduced nationally on April 6 1998. It had already been operating since January 5 in 12 pathfinder areas. The New Deal for Long-Term Unemployed People aged 25+ was introduced nationally on 29 June 1998. By the end of August 1999, 58,200 employers had signed a New Deal employer agreement, and by the end of July 1999, 18,660 young people had obtained a subsidised job through the New Deal. A further 4,630 people had gone into subsidised employment from the New Deal for Long-Term Unemployed People aged 25+.