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Apprentices: Social Security Benefits

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect on family incomes of young people taking on work-based apprenticeships with day release to college which are not eligible for education maintenance allowance and which result in the loss of child benefit, tax credits, child support agency and other passported benefits. (202425)

In 2004 a cross-departmental review on financial support for 16 to 19-year-olds reported that apprenticeship pay should be on par with the overall package of financial support provided to learners in other learning routes. In response, the Government set an expectation that apprentices be paid a weekly wage of at least £80 per week which is broadly the equivalent of the package of child and family benefits paid in respect of unwaged learners. A research survey published by the Department in April 2008 showed that average apprenticeship pay has risen in line with inflation since 2005, from a weekly average of £137 to £170 in 2008. A copy of the survey report will be placed in the Library. To ensure that apprenticeship pay remains at least on par with financial support for other learning routes, the Government have remitted the Low Pay Commission to report on apprenticeship pay by February 2009. The Government will consider its findings once they have been published.