HC Deb 06 December 1995 vol 268 cc305-6W
Ms Gordon

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what action the Government plan to take to remove obstacles to people who wish to study or train while remaining unemployed and claiming benefit. [4093]

Mr. Paice

The rules for unemployed people who wish to study or train while claiming benefits will be updated when Jobseeker's allowance is introduced on 7 October 1996.

Certain unemployed people, in particular those who have been unemployed for six months or more, will continue to be eligible to train full or part-time under training for work. Participants on TFW receive an allowance instead of benefit, and so are not subject to the benefit tests of availability or actively seeking employment.

As now, full-time students will not generally be able to claim JSA. People receiving JSA will be able to study part-time, as long as they meet the entitlement conditions, which include being available for and actively seeking employment. This carries existing arrangements. Courses funded by the Further Education Funding Council are not defined as full or part-time. For JSA purposes, therefore, courses funded in whole or in part by the FEFC will be considered to be part-time if they are of no more than 16 guided learning hours per week. There will be no change in higher education, where the distinction between full and part-time remains, or in other sectors.

Unemployed people claiming JSA will be able to undertake full-time, employment-related courses for up to two weeks a year with the prior agreement of the Employment Service. They will not have to be available for or actively seeking employment while on the course.

Training for Work England and Wales and Regions 1995 up to August
Special Needs Groups by Region1
Starts2 during January—March 1995 Starts2 during April—June 1995
People with disabilities Literacy/numeracy problems English for speakers of languages People with disabilities Literacy/numeracy problems English for speaker of other languages
South East 15 4 2 15 7 1
London 10 5 4 10 10 5
Eastern England 13 4 1 15 4 1
South West 17 5 1 17 7 2
West Midlands 18 4 1 15 4 1
East Midlands 18 5 1 16 4 2
Yorkshire and Humberside 18 8 2 15 8 2
Greater Manchester1 17 9 4 16 8 3
North West1 14 7 2 13 7 1
North East 17 7 1 13 7 1
Wales 14 5 1 14 4 1
England and Wales 16 6 2 15 7 2


1The regional breakdown here differs from the standard Government Office regions, in that the TECs covered by the new North West and Merseyside regions are shown under the previous North West and Greater Manchester regional definitions. The database does not cover Scotland.

2The database gives information on those starting in a given time period. In order for there to be sufficient records to give reliable estimates. the figures are given for quarters rather than individual months. April—June 1995 is the latest available quarter.


TFW national starts database.

These new rules on part-time study will provide more clarity and are designed to allow the same number of people to study part-time while unemployed and receiving benefit as do so under the current rules.