§ Mr. Strang
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received on the effects of denying young people income support; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
Our arrangements for 16 and 17-year-olds are working well. Over 413,000 young people are now in the youth training scheme where they receive a weekly training allowance of £29.50 in the first year and £35 in the second.
Those who cannot work or go onto the youth training scheme, such as the severely disabled or lone parents, can claim income support. Others who are waiting for a youth training scheme place, but either have no home or cannot live at home, can claim income support for a limited period. Income support for a limited period may also be payable where there would otherwise be unavoidable severe hardship.
We have received a number of representations about benefits for young people. Most recently my hon. Friend met my noble Friend Baroness Faithfull and representatives of various organisations involved with young people. I met representatives of the Church of England Children's Society and officials have met with representatives of the Association of County Councils and the 328W Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities. They have also met with representatives of organisations which provide emergency accommodation for young people who are homeless.
In addition we have received letters and copies of reports from various organisations representing the interests of young people.