HC Deb 29 April 1986 vol 96 cc775-6
11. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has yet received the report of the Social Security Advisory Committee concerning the eligibility of students to claim benefits; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton

We received the committee's report at the end of last month and are giving it careful consideration.

Mr. Bennett

Will the Minister publish the report as soon as possible? Does he agree that more and more students have been drawn into the social security net because of the inadequate level of student grants? Rather than taking from students the right to claim benefit, would it not be far more logical to put up student grants, so that students do not need to claim benefit? Does he not think that it would be grossly unfair if, as a result of these changes, students were forced down to the level of the social security safety net?

Mr. Newton

We shall publish the Social Security Advisory Committee's report at the normal time, that is, when we are publishing the Secretary of State's response to it. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that part of the proposition put to the SSAC was for an increase in the grant, countervailing some parts of the social security proposal.

Mr. Latham

Will my hon. Friend confirm that he is approaching the report, whatever it says, with an open mind, and not with a preconceived policy objective?

Mr. Newton

That may be implicit in the fact that we received the report towards the end of last month and are giving it careful consideration.