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Student Grants

Volume 127: debated on Friday 12 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what account he took, in providing for an increase of 3·9 per cent. in student grants for 1988–89, of the loss of housing benefit suffered by students.

The changes in claimants' entitlement to housing benefit, to be introduced in April of this year, will affect all beneficiaries, not simply students; but they do not amount to withdrawal of the benefit.The enhancement of the maintenance grant rates for students living away from the parental home, which was introduced in session 1986–87 in recognition of changes in benefit arrangements, was retained in the base used to calculate the 1988–89 rates. The changes in housing benefit were also one factor in the decision to increase the rates broadly in line with inflation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what account he took in settling the student grant increase at 3·9 per cent. for 1988–89, of students' liability for the poll tax from 1 April 1989.

The grant rates for 1988–89, announced on 18 December, do not include any specific addition for students in Scotland who will be liable to pay 20 per cent. of the community charge from 1 April 1989. For most students, that liability extends to only a small part of the session.For the future, the student support review group is taking account of students' discounted liability for the community charge as part of its consideration of undergraduate student support in general.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to publish the student financial support review.

We hope to publish the report of the student support review by June this year.