§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the workstep programme, with particular reference to(a) progression to open employment and (b) maintenance of an infrastructure for sheltered employment. 
§ Maria Eagle
[holding answer 31 October 2001]: Workstep was introduced on 1 April 2001 and replaces the supported employment programme. It is designed to help disabled people progress to working without support and to provide longer-term support for those who need it. Our targets for progression into open employment are around 10 per cent. from among existing participants and 30 per cent. from people joining Workstep after 1 April this year.
However, we have been very clear that no one should be pressurised to progress from the programme if this is not the right choice for them. Longer-term support will still be available for supported employees who need it. But it is equally important that they have access to the development opportunities the programme will offer in the longer-term.