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From the archive - 07.05.1982

Maintenance allowances considered

Education ministers are considering educational maintenance allowances for young people staying at school.

This arises from concern that the recommended #163;28 grants under the government's New Training Initiative would tempt many young people to abandon full-time education in favour of a place on the government's #163;1 billion training programme.

The original plans put forward by employment secretary Norman Tebbit would have paid unemployed school leavers a wage of #163;15 a week for a year's guaranteed training. But the unanimous recommendations of the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) say that the grants should be pitched higher, at #163;28. The commission argues that the higher rate would not cost the government more because employers would pay a bigger share.

The MSC's recommendations - which also say that young people should remain eligible for supplementary benefit if they do not join the scheme - have been signed by the new chairman, David Young, who was formerly political adviser to Sir Keith Joseph, the education secretary. With the formidable weight of both the CBI and the TUC behind them, they are thought likely to be adopted.

But Sir Keith and his deputy, Dr Rhodes Boyson, are both worried that grants at that level would make an unacceptably large gap between the support of the young unemployed and those who choose to stay on full time, either at school or college.

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