§ Lord Hylton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their response to the Report Surviving Poverty from Lancaster University, which exmained 1075 cases in 17 probation areas.
The Government continue to monitor the operation of the recent changes in social security provision, including any apparent effects on the probation service or on persons supervised by the probation service. There is close liaison on this issue between the Home Office and the Department of Social Security. We are carefully considering the report from Lancaster University, together with other information received from the probation service.
The Government are convinced that their benefit policy for young people is correct, but are concerned to ensure that the administration of this policy is carried out as effectively as possible. On 27th November, therefore, the Government announced a number of procedural improvements which are designed to ensure that claims for income support from young people, including young offenders, are dealt with more effectively and sympathetically. These changes demonstrate the Government's willingness to act when areas of genuine operational difficulty are identified.
The Home Office has already issued guidance to the probation service on the effects of the Social Security Acts 1988 and 1989. Further guidance is being prepared to explain what benefits are available to offenders and ex-offenders.