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Language Training

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which benefits individuals must receive in order to receive English for Speakers of Other Languages courses free of charge. (110928)

Changes to funding for ESOL include the withdrawal of automatic fee remission from courses, but learners who are in receipt of JobSeekers Allowance and income related benefits, including working tax credit, will still be eligible for full fee remission. This will help us to focus public funding on those learners most in need of public help and support.

Details of the benefits which learners must be receiving to qualify for full fee remission are a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Chief Executive, has written to my hon. Friend explaining the more detailed arrangements when they have been agreed. A copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Rob Wye dated 2 March 2007:

I write on behalf of Mark Haysom as he is currently out of the office on annual leave, in response to your question to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, regarding the benefits individuals must receive in order to receive English for Speakers of Other Languages free of charge eligibility for fee remission is set out in the published LSC booklet ‘Funding Guidance for Further Education in 2006-07’ paragraph 127. This states benefits that grant fee remission to learners and includes the following:

unemployed people in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance

those in receipt of income-based benefits, formerly known as means-tested benefits, the main income-based benefits are council tax benefit, housing benefit, income support and jobseeker's allowance (income-based)

those in receipt of working tax credit with a household income of less than £15,050

those in receipt of pension credits - guarantee credit

the unwaged dependants (as defined by Jobcentre Plus) of those listed above