Housing Costs (Students)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th April 1999.

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Photo of George Mudie George Mudie Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Employment) 12:00 am, 29th April 1999

I am aware of the case raised by my hon. Friend. No matter how flexible the system is, however, there will always be individuals or groups with particular circumstances that it does not address. The Secretary of State is continually aware of that problem, and we constantly move to try to help individuals or vulnerable groups when particular cases arise.

For the individual concerned in this case, the immediate answer would be her institution's access and hardship funds. The amount that she has received from the institution is insufficient, but there is a possible solution, which I should like to discuss further with my hon. Friend. The course concerned is an access course that does not usually give any support to the student. It is a pre-statutory service—I hope hon. Members understand what I mean by that. We might, therefore, discuss with the institution involved why the course does not take 15¾ hours, as that would open housing and other benefits to the student concerned. Why 16 has been chosen as the magic number of hours is an interesting point, particularly when it comes to access funds.