Thousands of young people in the county have been betrayed by the Coalition Government’s decision to scrap Education Maintenance Allowance, Lilian Greenwood MP for Nottingham South said today.
The news comes as thousands of students marched on Westminster to demonstrate the strength of feeling against the Coalition’s plans for EMA and tuition fees.
Introduced by Labour in 2004, the scheme was axed by the Michael Gove in the Spending Review last month. This was despite promises by David Cameron and Nick Clegg before the election that the payments would be safe.
Over 14,000 young people in Nottinghamshire depend on the payments to help with basics such as transport and books. Now the payments are being axed from next year, many could find it hard to make ends meet and choose not to continue their education.
Independent studies have shown that the payments increased the number of students remaining in education, as well as raising attainment amongst disadvantaged young people.
Lilian Greenwood said:
“Before the election, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said they would keep EMA payments – now they have betrayed young people by scrapping them.
“I’m appalled that David Cameron has gone back on his pre-election promise to protect the payments; I think he owes the young people of Nottingham an explanation.
“I want to see all young people staying on at school, going to college, getting an apprenticeship or doing some form of training while at work. That’s why Labour introduced EMA, and axing it could mean thousands of young people failing to reach their full potential.”
Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education said:
“EMA has given thousands of young people the chance to stay on and excel in education when they otherwise might have missed out. From the PM downwards, commitments were given that EMA was safe which have now been broken - another betrayal of young people.
“For those with the biggest challenges in life, EMA has been proven to boost attainment and help them succeed. The loss of EMA coupled with £9000 a year fees means that students from poorer families will be left thinking that post-16 education isn’t for them, meaning that thousands may fail to reach their full potential.”