HC Deb 20 December 1989 vol 164 cc342-3
3. Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of Scotland whether he will review the disabled students allowance given to SED-funded students in higher education.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)

Yes. The level of the disabled students allowance for the session 1990–91 will be reviewed together with other supplementary allowance rates.

Mrs. Fyfe

I am grateful for that answer, but I had hoped that the hon. Gentleman would give a statement about the amounts today. Is he aware that my constituent, Caroline Munro, a profoundly deaf young lady, has been funded until this Christmas by the charity of an Edinburgh business man who read of her plight in The Mail on Sunday? What advice can the Minister give Caroline Munro? Should she look for more charity or do a lower-level course which the Strathclyde region can fund if his Department will not?

Mr. Lang

The hon. Lady might like to know that the level has risen from £180 in the last year of the Labour Government to £765 now—a substantial increase. The constituency case to which the hon. Lady referred involves a student who is profoundly deaf and needs special help. The young lady might like to apply to Strathclyde regional council's social work dept, which is able to help people with deafness problems.

Mr. Ernie Ross

The Minister must know that we are talking about a small group of students at universities and further education colleges in Scotland. Given the size of that group, can the Minister give a guarantee that, when students are unable to obtain outside support, he will ensure that they have the necessary support to continue their courses?

Mr. Lang

I can give the hon. Gentleman a guarantee that we shall review the levels, which will be increased in line with available resources and the needs of the students involved. We have already made a substantial increase from £180, during the last year of the Labour Government, to £765 now.

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