§ Mrs. Chalker
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will confirm that clothes allowances are paid by his Department for teenagers in work who are in local authority care; and if he will make a statement on the amounts paid compared with earnings received, the cost of community care and family financial support.
§ Mr. Moyle
My Department has no responsibility for the payments of clothes allowances to teenagers in local authority care who are working. Local authorities 441W have a responsibility to provide accommodation and maintenance, including clothing, for all children in care. Usually, when a child in care starts to work, he is initially outfitted with clothing suitable for his job. After that, whatever the child earns, he keeps from his earnings a weekly sum fixed by the local authority to cover pocket money and clothing. The amount of this allowance varies with different authorities. As my Department does not collect details of these allowances or of the earnings of working children in care, I regret that I am unable to make the comparison for which the hon. Member has asked. If, however, the hon. Member has a particular case in mind and will send me details, I will look into it.