Tuesday 14 December 2010

Letter No 5: The removal of EMA

I doubt Dave has ever had to look down the back of the sofa, or in jacket pockets to find bus fare or dinner money for the kids. Everyone knows that there is a significant number of families struggling daily to make ends meet and now we are starting to see that much of the help they have had will disappear. Yesterday, people across the country protested about the scrapping of EMA, because when it's gone poorer students will face real financial hardship and might decide that FE is another of those things that they can't afford. I also came across two articles yesterday, one by Tamara Kamil, currently a sixth form student, and another by James Millswho benefitted from the allowance in the past. Both cited statistics that show EMA has increased participation and retention in full-time post-16 education. In fact the coalition's argument for it's removal have been discredited, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies saying that costs are 'more than recouped'. Of the 600,000 young people receiving EMA, 90,000 would not be able to study without it. For the rest, EMA makes it more likely that they will complete their course and achieve their goals.

In the news this evening there was talk of the rising price of food and clothing, and in January we can all look forward to an increase in VAT, all of this adding to the strain on family budgets and possibly deterring children from pursuing Further Education. In the light of this, surely it make more sense then for Dave to keep the allowance? And what exactly did he say about EMA before the election?

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