§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will ensure that the minimum weekly grant income for subsistence purposes of a student aged 18 years and over following a full-time course in education is at least the supplementary benefit rate of £20.55 per week and for students aged 16 and 17 years at least the supplementary benefit rate of £15.80 per week.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
My right hon. Friend is only responsible for setting the level of mandatory awards. At present this is £1,225 a year—equivalent to about £32 a week for the 38 weeks it covers—for a student living at home, £1,595 a year—about £42 a week—for a student living away from home not in London and £1,900 a year—about £50 a week—for a student living away from home in London. These are all above the supplementary benefit rates quoted by the hon. Member.
Discretionary awards are paid by many local education authorities to students, including some 16 to 17-year-olds, on courses which do not attract mandatory awards.
Information on the level of such awards, which are determined by each local education authority, and on which my right hon. Friend has no power to intervene, is not available centrally.