§ 3. Mr. Norman Baker (Lewes)
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education and Employment in respect of support for single parents undertaking courses of higher education. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security (Angela Eagle)
Officials in the Department of Social Security and the Department for Education and Employment meet regularly to discuss issues affecting all students. Ministers also meet regularly—as you will be glad to hear, Madam Speaker—and discuss the support of single-parent students.
§ Mr. Baker
I am pleased to hear that. However, may I draw the Minister's attention to a loophole that goes against the Government's policy, which I support, of trying whenever possible to get people off benefit and into work? Even during holiday periods, single-parent students who are at university cannot claim income support because they are deemed to be covered by DFEE regulations. There is, therefore, effectively a disincentive for single parents to take university courses. Many of my 7 constituents are giving up university courses and going on income support because they cannot afford to stay on at university. Surely there is a case for giving income support to such people, at least in the holiday period. If we do not do so, the rules will undermine the Government's own policy.
§ Angela Eagle
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would be glad to know that, from September, there will be provision from access funds to help those who are in higher education to meet the costs of child care. That extra help will be disregarded for income-related benefit purposes.
§ Mr. Owen Paterson (North Shropshire)
In replying to my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait), the Minister of State said that it was facile to talk about the price of petrol. What does the hon. Lady say to my single parent constituents who have to drive 20 or 25 miles to their place of further education and pay £4 for a gallon of petrol?