HC Deb 05 December 1978 vol 959 cc614-5W
40. Mr. Gerry Fowler

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the rules governing entitlement to unemployment benefit and supplementary benefit, in the light of the policy objectives of the Government in respect of the continued education and training of young people and of adults.

Mr. Orme:

Yes. The main central source of funds for young people over 16 on full-time training courses is the Manpower Services Commission, through its youth opportunities programme and various training award schemes, while local education authority awards may be made to students on courses of further and higher education. And as my hon. Friend will know from the reply given to his Question on 27th November 1978 —[Vol. 959, c. 32]—by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Education and Science, the Education Bill contains a provision for the selective"introduction"of improved arrangements for the financial support of 16 to 18-year-olds in full-time education which the Government intend to use to establish a pilot programme of means-tested awards in certain areas from September 1979. Where, exceptionally, a trainee's MSC training allowance is insufficient to cover his requirements, supplementary benefit may be payable in addition. Students may be eligible for unemployment and/or supplementary benefit during their vacations, subject to the usual conditions. But I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-West (Mrs. Wise) on 30th November 1978 about the entitlement of students to unemployment benefit in the short vacations.—[Vol. 959, c. 296.]