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Volume 175: debated on Thursday 5 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he proposes to lay regulations concerning students' entitlement to benefits and to publish the report of the Social Security Advisory Committee on the draft regulations.

Draft regulations on students' entitlement to benefits were submitted to the Social Security Advisory Committee on 19 February. The committee subsequently reported its conclusions at the end of April. However, amendments to the Social Security Bill have since been carried in the House of Lords which would affect the Government's proposals. The Government will be asking the House to disagree with their Lordships' amendments when these are considered by the House of Commons.The Social Security Advisory Committee report will be formally published and presented to Parliament with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's formal response when the main set of regulations is laid in due course. However, in order better to inform the House in advance of their consideration of the Lords amendments, we have today made special arrangements to place in the Library proof copies of the report on the draft regulations together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's initial comments on that report.Subject to further consideration of the Social Security Bill the Government intend to make two important changes to the draft regulations submitted to the Social Security Advisory Committee. First, the Government propose to introduce in all the income-related benefits a £10 weekly disregard on income received from top-up loans so long as the recipient continues as a student. Secondly, we intend to consult the local authority association on a separate regulation which will extend the proposed defination of a disabled student to include student who are eligible for an award under the local education authorities disabled student allowance scheme by reason of deafness. Subject to the views of the local authority association, we intend to lay this regulation as soon as possible after the main set of regulations.