§ Mr. Mudd
asked the Secretary of State for Empoyment if he will investigate payments instructed by the Manpower Services Commission to employers of young people under the work experience scheme relating to increases of £ 2 per week (12½ per cent.) on 6th September 1977, a further £ 1.50 (8½ per cent.) on 6th April 1978 and another increase of £ 1.05 (5.4 per cent.) on 16th November 1978: whether such increases are compatible with the Government's pay code both in percentages and regarding the one-year rule; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Golding:
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the allowance paid to young people participating in the youth opportunities programme is a training allowance and is set at a level which is related to short term benefit rates. National insurance and supplementary benefits and training allowances such as the youth opportunities programme allowance are not earnings and are not subject to pay policy.
The level of the allowance was originally fixed by reference to the basic rate of unemployment benefit and in December 1977 it was agreed that the allowance should be increased in the light of the November 1977 uprating of benefit levels. The increase of £ 1.50 became effective only in April 1978, whereas the November 1978 increase of £ 1.05 has been timed to coincide with the increase in other benefit rates.
The allowance paid under the work experience programme which was later 137W absorbed into the youth opportunities programme, was increased by £ 2.00 per week in September 1977 as a result of a decision to increase the travelling expenses component from £ 0.35 to a more realistic £ 2.35.