Allowance would replace child benefit

20th December 1996 at 00:00
Labour's proposed education allowance for under-18s should be paid to the student, not the parent, to boost staying-on rates, new research suggests.

Research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that an Australian scheme that hands a means-tested amount to 16- and 17-year-olds has led to a 3. 5 per cent increase in the numbers of students staying in education.

Just under 40 per cent of pupils in their final two years of school receive AUSTUDY at rates of up to Pounds 35 a week.

The scheme suggested by Labour would abolish child benefit for over-16s, and would pay a means-tested sum that has not yet been publicly announced but might amount to Pounds 30 a week for the poorest families.

The researchers, Lorraine Dearden and Alexandra Heath, suggest that a relatively cheap option for Britain would be to abolish all child benefit for over-16s. It would be replaced by an education allowance of Pounds 10.80 a week - the amount of benefit currently paid for the eldest child - going directly to all 16- to 18-year-old school pupils.

This would not make most families on benefit worse off, and those who might suffer - people on Family Credit - could be reimbursed for the "modest" overall cost of Pounds 50m.

"Obviously, more generous income support schemes could be devised that targeted relatively poor families along the lines of the Australian AUSTUDY scheme, but these would come at additional cost," said Ms Dearden.

"However, given the importance of early educational outcomes on a person's future labour market success, more generous schemes targeted at relatively poor families should be given serious consideration by policymakers if we are to increase school participation rates among children from relatively poor backgrounds."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now