§ Mr. Gardiner
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to assist those for whom a move to new employment would impose severe problems of cash flow. 
§ Mr. Browne
Making the move from benefit into employment can be worrying. In recognition of this a package of measures has been developed, designed to provide real support for people making this transition and give them confidence that they can take up work. These measures include Job Grant, Lone Parents' Run-On, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Extended Payments, Mortgage Interest Run-On, the Adviser246W Discretion Fund, Social Fund Crisis Loans and the New Tax Credits. In addition we have announced further plans to financially assist people during the transition from benefit to work.
From April 2004 we will be extending the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Extended Payments to people claiming Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance, making it easier for people on these benefits to manage the first few weeks in work. At the same time we will be extending the £11.90 Housing Benefit earnings disregard to people working 16 hours a week and who are receiving or are entitled to Working Tax Credit. This disregard is currently only available to those working 30 hours or more a week and who receiving, or are entitled to, Working Tax Credit.
From October 2004 we will be introducing a unified, more streamlined and easier to understand Job Grant that will also replace the Lone Parents' Benefit Run-On. The new Job Grant will have two rates; one for people with, and another for those without, children. It will, for the first time, be available to partners of benefit claimants who are taking up work and taking the household off benefit. Finally we will also be piloting a new in-work credit for lone parents, also from October 2004.
These measures will help people financially during the difficult period between the last payment of benefit and the first payment of wages.