§ Lord Harrison
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What action they will take to help those young unemployed people who are dissuaded from starting their own businesses through the Prince's Trust Scheme on the grounds that the eight weeks' leeway in remaining on benefit is insufficient for some clients whose preparation for work may involve protracted negotiations on acquiring premises. [HL771]
§ The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone)
Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) Regulations require those who are claiming benefits relating to unemployment to be actively seeking work.
However, unemployed people who commit themselves to setting up their own business (including those young people being supported through the Prince's Trust scheme) are allowed a single eight-week period where they can be treated as actively seeking employment. This flexibility acknowledges that for some people self-employment is the most appropriate route back to work. It releases them from the requirement to seek employed earners' employment during this period so they can concentrate their efforts upon building and implementing their business plan.
For the small number of clients who do not manage to complete their preparations in this time, they can continue to claim JSA as long as they are able to meet the basic entitlement conditions. Actively seeking employment and, indeed, short-term employment is not a barrier to the longer-term objective of establishing a business.