§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what information she has of the availability to students studying away from home, of satisfactory low cost housing, including that for which the student does not have to pay during the summer vacation; what trends in this matter have taken place since 1990; and what measures have been taken by her Department in conjunction with universities and similar institutions and local authorities. 
§ Mr. Forth
We do not collect any information about the availability of student residential accommodation. This is a matter for universities and colleges which, as independent, autonomous bodies, are responsible for making their own decisions about residential accommodation requirements for their students, in the light of local circumstances. However, the Government introduced a package of measures in the Housing Act 1988 designed to encourage private landlords to bring more and better quality accommodation on to the market. In addition, the "Rent a Room" scheme is a tax incentive designed to encourage people to take in lodgers. These measures are of benefit to students among others.