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Jobseeker's Allowance: Students

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the review into the rules on periods of study allowed by those on jobseekers allowance to be completed and published. (201882)

We worked with City Strategy Pathfinders during 2007 to look at what further enabling measures could be put in place to help people into work; this included looking at whether any further changes needed to be made to enable benefit claimants to be able to study or train full-time. This work concluded that a wide range of flexibilities already existed to enable full-time study, for example for those on long-term incapacity benefit and people in vulnerable groups claiming income support.

In our joint report with DIUS, “Opportunity, Employment and Progression”, published on 26 November 2007, we indicated that we were removing the 16 hour rule in housing benefit for short term recipients of incapacity benefit and that we would consider whether it might be practicable to define limited exemptions from the ‘16 hour rule’ for specific groups—such as young people living in supported accommodation. We will report on progress on both of these in due course. We are also taking forward a proposal to allow more people on jobseeker’s allowance to be able to access full-time, employment focused training for up to eight weeks by moving them onto a training allowance. We are planning to test a similar flexibility in a City Strategy Pathfinder area later this year and, learning the lessons from this, roll out nationally during the 2009-10 academic year. We are also looking at further ways of increasing access to full-time training for jobseeker’s allowance claimants where this would help support their move into employment.