§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the entitlement to social security including housing benefit for young people on leaving local authority care.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
Young people aged 16 or.17 who leave care and register for a job or a YTS course are entitled to income support for a period after they leave school if they are not living with their parents nor any person acting in place of their parents. During this period they are guaranteed an offer of a YTS place. Some 16 and 17-year-olds may receive income support both during and after that period because, for example, they are incapable of work or a YTS course by reason of disablement, or they are responsible for a child.
Young people living in board and lodgings or hostels, including those on YTS, may receive help with their accommodation costs from income support as well as their other needs. Other young people who are responsible for paying housing costs are entitled to claim housing benefit; those on income support or with net incomes at or below that level get a maximum 100 per cent, of rent and 80 per cent, of rates. From April, young people in lodgings will also be entitled to housing benefit in the same way as other tenants. We are reviewing the arrangements for people in hostels.
Further help may be sought from the social fund. In particular those who qualify for income support may be eligible for community care grants to help them set up home.