To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) what plans his Department has to reform the benefits system in order to ensure families are not penalised through the reduction in benefits as a result of one partner applying successfully for a student loan;
(2) if he will estimate the impact on long-term family income of one partner receiving a repayable student loan and the family experiencing a consequential loss in non-repayable benefit payment;
(3) what analysis his Department has made of the number of (a) married and (b) unmarried students, in full-time education in receipt of a student loan who have experienced a consequential reduction in benefit payment.
The information is not available.
Student loans and most allowances are taken into account in the assessment of income-related benefit entitlement because primary financial support for students comes from the education maintenance system.
If student loans were not taken into account, the benefit system would be supporting students rather than the educational maintenance system. This would operate unfairly against the majority of students who are not entitled to benefits, as well as being contrary to the whole basis on which the income-related benefits are paid. We have no plans to change the current arrangements.