Glasgow North West MP John Robertson hosted an event in the House of Commons today on young people’s fears concerning the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme.
At the event the Minister responsible for EMAs in England Rt. Hon Iain Wright MP, Minister in the Department for Children Schools and Families, gave a commitment that his Department will fund EMA in England up to 2011. But the most impressive commitment was that the Government will not cut or lower the threshold of EMAs up to 2015 when the national school leaving age is raised to 18. This commitment makes the Labour Party the only party to give such a commitment to the electorate at the coming elections.
John Robertson MP has come to this campaign to draw attention to the effects that cutting EMA, like the SNP have done in Scotland, is having on Scottish Further Education students.
John Robertson MP said: “For those who believe in axing or cutting the funding for EMAs, they just have to look to Scotland, where the SNP administration has cut the EMA budget by 20 %, and NUS Scotland predicts this will lead to almost 8,000 students from low income families dropping out of further education.”
He added; “When cuts to services come they will effect the poorest in our society worst of all, we should never cut a service which adds to the betterment of those in our society to gain a better education.”
Shane Chowen, Vice Chair of the NUS said: “We welcome the statement by the Minister and we are glad that he agrees with the results of our recent EMA Satisfaction survey that found EMAs to be overwhelmingly popular amongst those on them”.
Shane Chowen added; “If there is a Tory government in May we don’t want to follow the SNP in Scotland and cut EMA through the back door like they have done up in Scotland”.
The Minister said that he recognised the importance EMAs played in the lives of students from low income families adding: “I deplore what’s happening in Scotland”
The Minister, Iain Wright MP, commented: “I give my Honourable Friend a commitment on EMAs, with no ifs, and no buts, to maintain EMA up to and beyond 2011.”
Mr Robertson today has written to all opposition party leaders for their commitments on Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs), following the commitment given to him from Minister Rt. Hon Iain Wright MP.
Mr. Robertson MP ended: “I have written to the leaders of all opposition parties and will post their responses on my website when I receive them.”
Notes to Editors:
- Previously there had been concerns from student groups that it would be phased out when there school leaving age is raised to 18 as it would have no longer be seen as an incentive to stay on in Education.
- John Robertson MP is the Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow North West and also PPS at the DWP to Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, Secretary of State for the DWP.
- Shane Chowen is the Vice President (FE) National Union of Students.
- The Rt. Hon Iain Wright MP is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for 14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships
- To see the cuts and effects in Scotland in EMA:
Tables 12 and 13 can be found on page 11 of the following link:
Changes to EMAs in Scotland:
The following table shows what you might be entitled to, depending on your household income.
Table 1 – Current Applicants (Continuing from 2008-09)
|Income Threshold||Weekly payment|
|Zero – £22,403
£22,404 – £27,465
£27,466 – £33,156
Table 2 -New applicants (applying and qualifying for the first time in 2009-10)
|Income Theshold||Weekly Payment|
|Zero – £20,351 (for applicants from households with one child in full-time education)
Zero – £22,403 (for applicants from households with more than one child in full-time education)