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MP and Chesterfield College unite behind opposition to EMA withdrawal

MP and Chesterfield College unite behind opposition to EMA withdrawal

Concerned students and lecturers at Chesterfield College today held an event highlighting their opposition to the Coalition Government’s plans to cut Educational Maintenance Allowance by next summer. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament and member of the Shadow Education Team, met with the Principal, Judith McArthur, in calling for a re-think on a policy which has created apprehension amongst students, teachers and Labour MPs who believe it will lead to a reduction in the number of teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds entering further and higher education.

Currently young people coming from households which receive £20,800 or less per annum receive EMA. Many within the education sector have hailed EMA, introduced by the previous Labour Government, as a positive impact on the recruitment and achievement of young people.  Last year, at Chesterfield College alone, over 2000 students received EMA, around 60% of the 16-18 year old cohort. Before the introduction of the allowance, tens of thousands of young people from less well off backgrounds were effectively denied the opportunity to study full time at college, and many often worked full time evening shifts alongside completing college courses throughout the day.

The payments Education Maintenance Allowance are received by 600,000 teenagers from lower income families in English sixth forms and colleges. The grant is due to be scrapped in September.

After holding a meeting with Chesterfield College Principal, Judith McArthur, and joining the protest outside the College Mr. Perkins said:-

“Over the last few weeks the hype over tuition fees has dominated the media, and rightly so, but the Government’s plans to withdraw EMA will have an equally devastating impact on students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Tens of thousands of bright, aspirational young men and women who rely on the £30 per week are having the rug pulled from under their feet by a Government intent on saving a quick buck at the expense of these student’s futures. The decision to axe EMA is yet another hammer blow for the next generation of young people, a generation needed to contribute to the success of the UK’s economy over the next decade”.

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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