§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will take steps to ensure that students on invalidity benefit do not have their housing benefit reduced by the student grant notional element for accommodation; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
To avoid double provision by the taxpayer, the majority of full time students are expected to meet their rent to the level intended for accommodation costs within the student maintenance grant before they have recourse to housing benefit. However this rule does not apply to students on invalidity benefit whose income would fall below income support levels if the reduction was made. These students are able to claim housing benefit for the whole of their eligible rent.