§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated cost of abolishing the parental contribution to student grants in the current academic year.
§ Mr. Oakes
As I stated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke) on 30th January 1978, the cost of abolishing the assessed parental contributions towards the grants of students in receipt of full-value awards from local education authorities in England and Wales in 1977–78 is estimated to be about £100 million.—[Vol. 943, c. 35.]
Mr. Jim Callaghan
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is satisfied with the present level and number of educational maintenance grants paid to parents of pupils aged between 16 to 19 years.
§ Mr. Oakes
The payment of educational maintenance allowances to young people aged 16–19 years who are still at 235W school, and of comparable grants to their counterparts in further education, is at present a matter for the discretion of the local education authorities. My right hon. Friend is aware that many consider the scope and scale of these awards to be unduly limited when compared with other benefits available to young people in this age group, and as she announced in a reply to the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) on 12th May, the Government are having discussions with the local authorities on the basis that they will be ready in due course to commit themselves to a statutory system of awards for this age group.