The House of Commons voted today to allow local MP Jesse Norman to introduce new legislation to help young apprentices and their families.
If passed, Jesse's Apprenticeships Bill will require the Government to conduct research into whether Child Benefit and Tax Credit eligibility should be extended to the families of 16-19 year old apprentices. Under current rules, Child Benefit and Tax Credits only remain payable if a 16-19 year old stays in full time education. This means that families of 16-19 year olds who start apprenticeships may lose up to £83 per week in benefits.
Jesse secured the Bill via a House of Commons debate on a so-called Ten Minute Rule motion. He was supported by fellow MPs Angie Bray, Jim Shannon and Graham Stuart, the chair of the influential Education Select Committee.
Jesse’s motion also received backing from the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). The motion was unopposed and will now be printed as a Bill, which is expected to be debated in January 2015. At this late stage in the parliamentary year, the present Bill is not likely to become law, but it will provide a focus for Jesse and his colleagues to continue to campaign on the issue.
Speaking outside the Commons chamber Jesse said: “At my Jobs Fair in Hereford last March, a friend who runs a local jobs club pointed out a serious injustice in the way the benefits system treats young people.
"The Government has done a huge amount to increase the number of apprenticeships and to get more people into work. Since 2010 the number of apprenticeships is up by 80 per cent over the previous four years.
"But it appears that the possible loss of benefits when 16-19 year olds take up apprenticeships is stopping some of them from the poorest families from choosing apprenticeships. That is why I am so pleased to be able to give this issue the public attention it deserves, and to urge the Government to look into it fully.”