[holding answer 15 March 2007]: The Student Income and Expenditure Survey 2004/05, published on the 30 March 2006, is a comprehensive study on students’ income, expenditure, borrowing and debt. It showed that 56 per cent. of all full-time undergraduate students undertook paid work at some time during the academic year—either during term time, during the short vacations or both. For those undertaking such work earnings were on average £3,250 (after tax). The Department plans to repeat the survey in the 2007/08 academic year.
The Government provide a generous package of financial support for students. In 2006/07 no eligible full-time student has to find the funding for their fees before or while they are studying; the loans for living costs have been increased above inflation; and new maintenance grants of up to £2,700 are benefiting up to half the full-time students. Students generally ought not to need to work to meet their essential living costs. Nonetheless we recognise that many students undertake paid work and, providing excessive hours are not worked to the detriment of their academic studies, students can gain useful skills as well as supplementing their income.