§ Mr. Hume
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if Her Majesty's Government will take steps to introduce a weekly grant or allowance at least of equal value with a training allowance for young people who go abroad as part of a youth exchange, educational holiday or voluntary work programme organised through the youth service and who otherwise have no income for the duration of their time abroad.
§ Mr. Hume
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if her Majesty's Government will modify the application of regulations concerning availability for work 357W in relation to young people who go abroad on a youth exchange scheme, educational visit or voluntary work programme organised through the youth service in relation to their qualification for social security benefits; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
It is a well established feature of the social security system that entitlement to benefits for unemployed persons is conditional on their being available for work and it is not proposed to modify the existing regulations in this respect. Supplementary benefit is not payable to unemployed persons while abroad, but, in certain circumstances, entitlement to unemployment benefit can be retained during absence in an EC member state.
§ Mr. Scott
The youth service in Northern Ireland plays an important part in informal education. The programmes are varied and include recreation, residential experience, adventure training, social activities and counselling.
Special summer schemes based in school premises were in the past organised during the holiday period. Increased pressures on financial resources required these to be replaced by an extention of normal youth service provision during July and August, and this redistribution of resources has the merit of attracting young people from the full youth service age range and maximises the use of custom-built youth centres.