§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent by the adviser discretion fund in each month since July 2001; and what the projected cost is over the next 12 months. 
§ Mr. Browne
From 7 April, the Fund has been extended to people who have been in receipt of benefit for six months or more. Payments from the Fund are awarded on a discretionary basis to help people overcome barriers that prevent them from applying for or taking up a job. An increase in the number of awards is expected because of the extended eligibility.
The Adviser Discretion Fund is one of a number of programmes managed locally to meet individual needs of individual customers. As such no separate budget for the Fund is set and the amount spent will depend on local circumstances. Therefore, we do not have a figure for the projected cost of the Adviser Discretion Fund over the next 12 months.
Information on awards made through the Adviser Discretion Fund since July 2001 is in the table.
Awards made through the Adviser Discretion Fund Month/Year Number of awards Value of Awards (£) 2001 July 4,331 215,216 August 7,086 399,327 September 8,821 525,822 October 9,594 565,114 November 12,327 787,215 December 7,660 491,621 2002 January 11,524 693,955 February 13,432 783,235 March 19,242 1,226,270 April 15,562 1,254,727 May 21,014 1,528,999 June 15,869 1,094,076 July 16,976 1,145,953 August 17,818 1,377,355 September 18,433 1,196,375 October and November1 28,781 2,599,520 December 7,149 664,354 2003 January 19,695 1,767,733 February 19,482 1,774,501 March 20,538 1,881,413 Total 295,334 21,972,781 1Information for the months of October and November 2002 is not available separately.
July 2001 to September 2002—clerical count of Adviser Discretion Fund cases.
October 2002 to March 2003—taken directly from information input to the LMS computer system.