HC Deb 16 January 1992 vol 201 cc637-8W
Mr. Kirkwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what provision exists to enable individuals who leave home to take up places on training schemes to claim housing costs during the period of the scheme;

(2) what plans he has to make adequate housing costs available through the benefit system to make it possible for trainees to leave home to take up places on schemes in areas of high housing costs;

County August September October November Total
Cornwall 19 33 29 21 102
Devon 35 14 0 0 49
Gloucester 6 0 10 6 22
Wiltshire 11 0 17 3 31
Avon 9 9 8 10 36
Dorset 9 15 16 9 49
Sussex 33 0 0 0 33
Total 122 71 80 49 322

There were no operations in any other county.

It is estimated that some 20,000 badgers are killed in road accidents each year.

(3) what research his Department has conducted to establish the level of need to provide adequate housing costs through the benefit system to enable trainees to leave home to take up places on schemes in areas of high housing costs.

Miss Widdecombe

[holding answer 13 January 1992]: Housing benefit is normally payable in respect of reasonable rents incurred by people for their home. This includes trainees on employment training and youth training programmes. Although housing benefit is not normally paid for a second home, couples who need to maintain two homes because one member is absent on a training course are able to claim housing benefit for both their main home and temporary accommodation occupied during the period of the scheme. Single people are also able to claim housing benefit for rented accommodation occupied while on a training course if no other liability to pay rent or mortgage exists. Housing benefit is generally available to meet reasonable market rents throughout the country. It is for local authorities to decide whether the rent payable is reasonable in individual cases.

In addition, payment of accommodation costs for people who leave home to take up a training opportunity on a Government training scheme can be made at the discretion of the training and enterprise councils in England and Wales and the local enterprise companies in Scotland. In the case of the Government's priority groups for youth training or employment training, where the trainee can only join in or continue in a suitable training place by incurring certain costs, including housing costs, he is entitled to have these costs met or reimbursed by the training and enterprise council or relevant local enterprise company up to a level which is considered reasonable.

In view of these provisions, there are no plans to conduct any research into the need to provide further housing costs for trainees through the benefit system.