HC Deb 26 January 1987 vol 109 cc30-1W
Mr. Ernie Ross

asked the Paymaster General, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) of 16 January, Official Report, column 334, about new job training schemes, if he will give, for each of the revised arrangements listed, the date on which they will be or have been implemented in the Dundee pilot scheme.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The revised arrangements apply to anyone beginning training on or after 26 January 1987.

Ms. Clare Short

asked the Paymaster General (1) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) of 16 January, Official Report, column 334, in the case of those receiving supplementary benefit, what will be the rate of the training allowance paid; what will be the amount of top up supplement when those new schemes will take effect; and if he will make a statement on the way in which the new scheme will be a simplification of the old scheme;

(2) pursuant to the answer of 16 January, Official Report, column 334, what will be the level of the various training allowances paid after 1 April, and if under 25-year-old trainees on the job training scheme will receive more than they would otherwise on the new reduced rate of supplementary benefit.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The rate of training allowance will normally be the same as the amount of unemployment benefit last paid or be at a fixed amount below the non-householder scale rate in the case of those whose last payment was supplementary benefit. Where a trainee was getting more when unemployed supplementary benefit paid as a training supplement will make up the difference.

The basic unemployment benefit rates and hence training allowances rates are £30.80 (adult) and £49.80 (adult plus adult dependant). From April these rates will go up to £31.45 and £50.85 respectively. The rates of supplementary benefit and hence training supplement depend on the circumstances of individuals and will vary accordingly. Training supplement will be uprated in line with supplementary benefit.

Normally the combined rate of training allowance and training supplement will be the same as the rate of unemployment/supplementary benefit which would have been paid if the trainee had remained unemployed. There are no changes associated with the April uprating which will decrease the amount paid to trainees under 25.

The reason for continuing payment of supplementary benefit by way of training supplement is to ensure that entitlement to certificated housing benefit and other passported benefits such as milk tokens and free school meals continues during training. The original pilot scheme did not provide for any part of the allowance to be paid as supplementary benefit with the result that entitlement to certificated housing benefit stopped when training started. Trainees in the pilot scheme were still entitled to help but had to make a claim for standard housing benefit from their local authority. The switch from one to another and similar changes in claiming other passported benefits was a disincentive. The new arrangements will avoid the potential for disruption by normally allowing arrangements made before training to continue unchanged.

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