John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, spoke at Itchen College in support of their “day of action” on saving the Education Maintenance Allowance earlier today.
2,826 young people in Southampton may be prevented from reaching their full potential following news that the Coalition Government plans to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
650,000 students per year receive EMA, which was introduced by Labour in 2004. The scheme was axed by Michael Gove in the Spending Review, despite promises by David Cameron and Michael Gove before the election that the payments would be safe.
In January David Cameron said that the Conservatives “don’t have any plans to get rid of [EMA payments]“, and in March Michael Gove responded to Labour claims that EMA would be scrapped by saying “I have never said this. We won’t.”
Mr Denham said: “The EMA supports 16 -19 year olds from low income households to continue in learning. Since 2004, the scheme has been rolled out across Southampton so that 2,826 young people in the city benefit from the allowance. Without this fantastic allowance, many young people here will be discouraged from continuing in learning.”
Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of State for Education said: “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.”Other news from Southampton Labour