§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer on 17 June 2002,Official Report, column 97W, on the New Deal 50-plus programme, how far his Department has extended its use of the New Deal 50-plus programme to support its staff recruitment; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Nicholas Brown
In July 2002 the New Deal 50-plus programme was extended across the whole of the Department for Work and Pensions. Guidance was issued to encourage managers to employ participants from across the New Deal programmes including New Deal 50-plus.
Participants on New Deal 50-plus will receive training and support to help them compete effectively at Fair & Open competition to become a permanent employee. It is therefore hoped that many of our New Deal 887W employees (including those from the 50-plus category) will secure permanent employment with the Department.
By next summer we aim to recruit sufficient people across all our New Deal programmes to reflect the Department's proportionate share in the labour market. Data will be available on our progress towards this later this year.