Bob Ainsworth said thousands of young people in Coventry have been betrayed by the Coalition Government’s decision to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance.
The news comes as thousands of students around the country protested yesterday for the second time in as many weeks as part of a rally to demonstrate the strength of feeling against the plans for EMA and tuition fees.
Introduced by Labour in 2004, the scheme was axed by 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.
4,634 young people in Coventry 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 had shown that the payments increased the number of students remaining in education who would not have done so without the financial incentive, as well as raising attainment amongst disadvantaged young people.
Bob recently tabled a written Parliamentary Question asking; “How many people claimed the Education Maintenance Allowance in each year since its introduction in a) England, b) the West Midlands and c) Coventry”.
“Before the election, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said they would keep EMA payments – now they have betrayed young people by going back on their promises and 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 this country 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 students failing to reach their full potential.’
25th November 2010