Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham today spoke out ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
The EMA was introduced by the Labour Government as a weekly payment to young people who stay on in further education from households with an income of less than £30,810 per year.
In fact 80% of young people who receive EMA payments come from households with an income of less than £20,800 per year and 47% of full time students aged 17 and 18 receive EMA payments.
“This Tory-led Government is launching an unprecedented attack on aspiration by scrapping the EMA, which so many pupils in my constituency rely on,” said Alex.
“Ending the payments stacks the odds against those who have the least, but want to get on in life.”
“There is no economic case for scrapping the EMA, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which has said the costs of EMA are ‘completely offset’ by its benefits in raising participation.”
“In fact, scrapping the EMA could have hidden costs. If young people who would otherwise have continued in further education can no longer afford to do so these young people could end up unable to find work and reliant on state hand-outs.”
“I have been contacted by a number of constituents who feel very strongly that the EMA should not be scrapped and I intend to speak out on their behalf. The Labour Party has tabled an opposition day debate on EMA which will be held tomorrow and I hope to have the opportunity to make the case for keeping the EMA during that debate.”