asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied that Her Majesty's Government give enough encouragement to young unemployed people to embark on full or part-time courses of higher education.
asked to reply.For full-time higher education courses, young unemployed people who obtain places are eligible for student awards from local education authorities in the usual way. Young people on part-time higher education courses may be entitled to unemployment benefit or supplementary benefit if they satisfy the independent adjudicating authorities that they remain available for work.However, my hon. Friend may have in mind the "21 hour rule" which applies to part-time courses of non-advanced education. Young unemployed people who take up such courses may be entitled to supplementary benefit under certain conditions. The chief supplementary benefits officer has recently issued guidance on the interpretation of the relevant regulations. We are keeping these regulations under review against the background of our general aim of ensuring that genuinely unemployed people are not obstructed from usefully occupying their time while they seek work, whilst at the same time excluding those who have withdrawn from the employment field to devote themselves primarily to study.